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Fantasy Football Picks: Steelers vs. Raiders DraftKings NFL DFS SNF Showdown Strategy

Pearce Dietrich gives his top DraftKings NFL Showdown picks for Sunday Night Football.

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

DraftKings Fantasy Football features a legendary AFC rivalry in Week 3. The DFS main slate may be in the books, but there is plenty of DFS action available for Sunday Night Football. Check out the NFL Showdown Slate DFS picks for the Week 3 Sunday Night Football matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Las Vegas Raiders.

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


Captain’s Pick

Davante Adams (CP $17,400)

This is shaping up to be an ugly slate. Both of these offenses struggled in Week 1 and Week 2. However, when the Sunday Night Football spotlight shines in Week 3, two different offenses might show up. Technically, the offenses won’t change, but the defenses will, and that’s a relief for both teams. The Raiders won’t have it easy against the Steelers, but this week will be easier.

In tough matchups, Jimmy Garappolo ($10,200) has peppered Adams 17 times in two games. That’s more pepper than his nana puts on his Spicy Italian at Subway. Adams has caught 12 of those targets for 150 yards. Now that’s eating fresh. Which is not bad for a guy with a Taco Bell in his house. It’s strange to open a restaurant in your house and even stranger to choose Taco Bell, but Adams is “nacho” average receiver.

This is where readers complain about stupid jokes, so let’s get to the stats. Pittsburgh’s pass rush has been a strength in the first two games. The usually blitz-heavy defense has dialed back the aggressive play calling and are still getting to the quarterback at a top-5 rate (30.1% QB Pressure Rate). They’re also in the top 5 in sacks (9). The pass rush has lessened the burden on the secondary. That could change on Sunday night. While the Raiders’ run blocking leaves a lot to be desired, their pass blocking has been exceptional. Garappolo has not been sacked this season. His 11.1% QB Pressure Rate is the second-best in the NFL. If Jimmy G has time, Adams may be able to expose a Steelers defense that got eviscerated by 49ers QB Brock Purdy in Week 1.

FLEX Plays

Josh Jacobs ($10,800)

The offensive line is a problem. Jacobs is getting hit in the backfield more than any other running back in the NFL. Sound the alarms or don’t. It’s a Sunday Night DFS showdown slate. Exceptions — excuses — always must be made. The popular excuse for those wishing to play the superstar running back on a one-year contract is that his matchups have been tough in the first two games. The Broncos and Bills have top-10 defenses. Making matters worse in Week 2 was that the Raiders’ game script veered from the run when the deficit became too large. Brush of Jacobs’ early season stats and trust that the 2022 version shows up on Sunday night. It’s not a stretch. The Steelers are allowing a league-worst 5.6 yards per carry.

George Pickens ($9,200)

The Steelers’ offense may have closed out 2022 strong, but they have not opened 2023 that way. It’s not a good habit to make excuses, but it’s early in the season. The data set suggesting that the Steelers’ struggles will be sustained can be dismissed as a small sample size. And that statistical sample is skewed. In the first two weeks, the Steelers have faced the 49ers and the Browns.

Outside of one big play on Monday Night Football, Pickens has not done much. The Steelers have not done much. It’s understandable. Against two elite pass rushes, the offensive line has allowed a 41.7% QB Pressure Rate. Pickens isn’t going to get many good opportunities if Kenny Pickett ($9,800) doesn’t have a clean pocket. Overall, Pickens’ stat line isn’t bad after two weeks. He has nine catches on a team-leading 17 targets for 163 yards and a touchdown.

Raiders Defense ($4,000)

Kenny Pickett has not looked good to start the season (69.7 QB Rating). It’s hard to look good when a quarterback is dealing with a 41.7% QB Pressure Rate — the worst in the NFL. He’s been hit 11 times (second-most) despite facing a Blitz Rate that is below the league average.

The Steelers’ offensive line is clearly struggling. Similarly, the Raiders pass rush is struggling. Their 10.5% QB Pressure Rating is the worst in the NFL. Something has to give. It’s possible that the Steelers’ line improves their scheme or that Pickett incrementally improves. It’s also possible that the very talented Raiders pass rush snaps out of it. DE Maxx Crosby has been known to disappear at times, so his first two games are not a major concern. DE Tyree Wilson is a rookie. It will take time for the 2023 seventh pick overall to adjust, but this seems like the perfect time to adjust. DE Chandler Jones (questionable) is purportedly dealing with some serious off-the-field issues. If that can be resolved, his return would make a major impact for the Raiders’ defensive line.


Najee Harris ($8,800)

The 2021 first-round pick out of Alabama rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons with the Steelers. That sounds impressive, but he got there with 300 carries in his rookie season and 272 carries in 2022. That’s a lot of carries. The wear and tear is not a concern for the 25-year-old entering his prime. The wear and tear is desired. That is for DFS NFL players at DraftKings. The Steelers do not want to run their possible star running back into the ground. They want to dial back his workload. Harris was targeted 94 times in his rookie season. His receiver role eased up in the subsequent season, but 53 targets is still a lot. They’ve pushed it, and now they’re pulling back. And they can pull back. RB Jaylen Warren ($6,400) has proved to be more than a capable NFL running back — 4.9 yards per carry in 2022.

So far this season, Harris is averaging eight carries and 2.5 targets per game. That puts him on pace for 136 carries and 43 targets. Obviously the tough matchups have suppressed Harris’ usage, but even a liberal projection would put Harris under 200 carries this season. This is DFS and not season long, but the writing is on the wall. Harris has never been an efficient DFS producer. His numbers rely on volume, and he’s not getting it. Making matters worse is that the Steelers are not getting into the red zone. They’ve had one red-zone possession in their first two games. It’s hard for running backs to score fantasy points outside of the 20-yard line. It’s likely that the Steelers will be more effective at moving the ball against the Raiders, but that’s not certain. And whether Harris gets the ball when Pittsburgh finally gets to the promised land, that remains to be seen.


The Raiders are -2.5 favorites at home. Vegas believes in Vegas. The Steelers’ defense looks better than the Raiders’ defense. The Raiders’ offense looks better than the Steelers’ offense. It’s a toss up. If that’s the case, then take the home team with the east coast team travel west for Sunday Night Football.

Final Score: Las Vegas Raiders 24, Pittsburgh Steelers 20

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

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) 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.