The NFL season may only have a few weeks remaining in the regular season but that hasn’t stopped DraftKings from introducing a new format! Snake Draft Showdown is now open and ready for you to dive into, kicking off with Sunday night’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, which starts at 8:15 p.m. ET.
If you’ve ever played season-long fantasy before, you’re likely familiar with how a snake draft works. In short, for these Showdown contests, once the allotted number of entries are filled in a contest, the draft will begin one minute later. The entrants are assigned a random draft order and will commence in that order. The player with the first pick gets dibs on everyone while the player with the last pick will get a double pick, as it’ll end the first round and thus begin the second.
For a full breakdown of rules, please visit our How to Play Classic and Showdown NFL Snake Draft page.
Opt-in and if there is a 20-plus yard TD in the fourth quarter of PIT vs. CIN, get an entry to a $100K NFL Classic DFS contest! See the DraftKings Big Play Payday page for more details!
The Pittsburgh Steelers
Offense. Defense. Special teams. The Steelers have favorable matchups everywhere. Oprah would be losing her mind right now. That’s the reason the spread is a whopping -14.5 points for the visitors. Whew. I can end the piece now. See you guys next week.
I kid. I’ll zoom in a little closer and provide some nuggets for you guys and girls.
Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers
Snake Showdown Rank: 1st and 4th
The Bengals are ranked 29th in pass DVOA and 31st in adjusted sack rate. Ben Roethlisberger should feast in this matchup. The only deterrent would be if the Steelers choose to pound the Bengals on the ground instead.
Johnson runs 42% of his routes from the left side of the formation and 41% from the right. Claypool runs 31% of his routes from the left and 42% from the right. For the Bengals, William Jackson III primarily defends the right side while LeShaun Sims guards the left. The man we want to focus on is Sims.
Sims has allowed 41 receptions on 51 targets (a robust 80% catch rate) and team-highs in touchdowns (6) and quarterback passer rating (137.6).
If season trends continue, both Johnson and Claypool should get their chances to eat against Sims.
Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals
Snake Showdown Rank: 5th
As much as I want to, I cannot just write about Steelers players. The Bengals are still expected to score 13 points, so that means some yardage will be gained and a possible touchdown could be scored. With the Steelers stout against the run, the path of least resistance is through the air for the Bengals.
Boyd would seem to be in the best position to produce, as he runs 86% of his routes from the slot, which could mean quicker hitting routes to negate some of the pressure. In addition, he will match up with Mike Hilton.
Now, Hilton is a good cornerback, as he has two interceptions on the season and allowed an 89.8 passer rating. With that said, he’s given up a 77% catch rate and a team-high 203 yards after the catch.
This is not a cupcake matchup by any means, but it’s the most viable way for the Bengals to attack a tough Steelers defense.
Matchups to be aware of
James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers
Snake Showdown Rank: 8th
Conner began the season scoring 20.0 DK points or more in three of the first five games. Then drip, drip, drip. Like a countdown to New Year’s, the scoring output culminated in a 1.8 DK performance in Week 14. Yuck. A confluence of factors was to blame: bad offensive line, COVID and injuries. With that said, this could be a get right spot for him.
The Bengals are 18th in rush defense DVOA. They have allowed over 100 yards rushing in five-straight games and the Titans and Browns both went for over 200 yards. The Steelers are going to want to get that run game going in preparation for the playoffs.
There’s some risk here, though. Conner is questionable with a quad issue. The Steelers did limit his reps during practices throughout the week, but he’s supposedly on track to play. In addition, how many snaps will he be given, as he received just 40% of the snaps after returning from a two-game absence?
D/ST, Pittsburgh Steelers
Snake Showdown Rank: 6th
The Steelers are the top-ranked defensive unit, as they are 1st in pass defense DVOA and 3rd in rush defense DVOA. The unit is also sixth in adjusted sack rate and leads the league with 45 sacks.
The Bengals offensive line is 27th in adjusted sack rate and has allowed the second-most sacks with 46. One plus one equals two.
The Colts D/ST leads the league with 144 DK points on the season, but on a per-game basis, the Steelers D/ST is tops, scoring 10.4 per game.
Third Round Flier
James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers
Snake Showdown Rank: 13th
The Bengals pass defense is terrible, so there should be plenty of opportunities. The unit is 25th in defensive aDOT (8.6) allowed and 28th in yards per completion (11.7).
Washington is fourth, maybe fifth in the pecking order for targets, and the snap counts are inconsistent. That’s why he’s a third-round flier. But he has a healthy aDOT of 11.5 and has scored a touchdown in two-straight games.
The floor is super low, especially since the Steelers could just ground and pound the Bengals into submission, but there’s touchdown equity, as he’s scored a total of five on the season.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is sontzu) 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 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.