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Fantasy Football Picks: Titans vs. Steelers DraftKings NFL DFS TNF Showdown Strategy

Garion Thorne preps you for Thursday’s 8:15 p.m. ET contest between the Titans and the Steelers with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

I won’t lie you to, kind reader. I didn’t exactly have this game circled on my schedule back in August. In fact, for quite some time, I was dreading what could be the most boring offensive game ever played. However, thanks to the aerial heroics performed by Will Levis ($9,600) last Sunday, I’m actually somewhat excited to sit down and watch the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennessee Titans square off.

I’m more excited to build Showdown lineups, though. Let’s dive into this slate.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1.5M Thursday Night Showdown [$500K to 1st] (TEN vs PIT)


Captain’s Picks

Will Levis ($14,400 CP) - To suggest Levis broke out in his NFL debut would be a bit of an understatement. The rookie was prolific in Tennessee’s victory over the Falcons, throwing for 238 yards and four touchdowns. Levis finished the contest averaging 0.85 DKFP per drop back — the highest mark of any qualified quarterback in Week 8. Will Levis be able to continue producing fantasy points at that level? Of course not. Yet, Thursday’s tilt against Pittsburgh comes with a sneaky-good matchup. Steelers D/ST ($5,600) is surrendering the ninth-most opponent passing yards per game (245.4), the seventh-most opponent yards per pass attempt (7.1) and the ninth-most opponent passing touchdowns per game (1.4). This isn’t exactly the Steel Curtain. It should also help Levis’ case that Minkah Fitzpatrick (hamstring) has already been ruled out for this contest and that corner Levi Wallace (foot) is questionable to suit up. The secondary is compromised.

Diontae Johnson ($12,600 CP) - Some of this could be small-sample noise, especially with Mitch Trubisky ($9,200) taking 32 drop backs in Week 8, but I don’t think Johnson should be cheaper than George Pickens ($8,800) on this slate. Both are great receivers. Both are viable in this spot. Yet, Johnson has 20 targets to Pickens’ 13 since returning from injury because that’s exactly what Johnson’s always done. He’s been a targets machine his entire career. He was targeted six times in the 27 snaps he was able to log in Week 1, for goodness sake. He’s been targeted on 26 of his 96 routes this season, good for a 27.1% rate that would rank seventh among wideouts, if Johnson had the volume to qualify. In a full-point PPR setting, in a matchup where Titans D/ST ($4,400) is conceding the seventh-most DKFP per game to opposing WRs, I like Johnson’s chances for a huge performance.

FLEX Plays

Steelers D/ST ($5,600) - While I do acknowledge that the aforementioned Levis has breathed some new life into the Titans’ offense, we’re still talking about a team that’s scoring just 18.9 points per game this season — tied with the lowly Arizona Cardinals. The Steelers also seem to be quite good in the exact areas that make a defensive unit viable in DFS. Through eight weeks, Pittsburgh’s forced a turnover on 18.3% of its opponents’ drives — the highest mark of any AFC squad. The Steelers get to the quarterback, too. Pittsburgh sits ninth in the NFL in pressure rate, registering a QB hurry, a QB knockdown or a sack on 25.1% of opponent drop backs. I honestly believe Levis will make some big plays in this contest, but he is still a rookie making his second-career start. He’ll surely make a mistake or two and the Steelers tend to capitalize.

Treylon Burks ($3,800) - Burks saw the field on 51.5% of the Titans’ offensive snaps in Week 8 — the second-highest snap rate among Tennessee WRs, trailing only DeAndre Hopkins ($11,200; toe). Considering Burks was playing in his first game since Week 3, I think it’s safe to assume that the former first-round pick’s role will be larger on Thursday, now that he’s shaken off some rust. Heck, it might be massive if Hopkins is unable to suit up, something that is a real possibility after the veteran missed practice on Wednesday and was officially listed as questionable. In any case, Burks is in a nice spot against a Pittsburgh secondary that’s allowing the fifth-most DKFP per contest to opposing wide receivers.


Najee Harris ($7,200) - Harris’ price point continues to fall, yet he remains way too expensive based on his production this season. I mean, it’s hard to find a “lead” back that’s been more underwhelming. In seven games, Harris has yet to exceed 75 rushing yards. He’s yet to have 20 carries in a single contest. He’s only once scored more that 12.0 DKFP. There have been 52 running backs to play at least 25% of their team’s offensive snaps, Harris’ average of 0.62 DKFP per touch ranks 48th in that grouping. Generally, this is where I’d say you should use Jaylen Warren ($6,400) instead, but that might not be the case in Week 9. Tennessee has been quite stout against the run. Just ignore the whole backfield.


I’m going to side with institutional stability in this one. There really isn’t much that separates these two teams. Heck, they’re basically sitting next to each other in the team DVOA rankings through eight weeks. However, this is where Mike Tomlin makes his bones. These are the games he’s been winning for two decades. The Titans have dropped their last six road games. I think they’ll have some problems rolling into Pittsburgh for a primetime contest.

Final Score: Pittsburgh 21, Tennessee 17

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1.5M Thursday Night Showdown [$500K to 1st] (TEN vs PIT)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.