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Fantasy Football Picks: Giants vs. Steelers DraftKings NFL DFS MNF Showdown Strategy

Garion Thorne preps you for Monday’s 7:10 p.m. ET contest between the Giants and the Steelers with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

On the very long list of amazing things about Week 1 of the NFL season, the fact we get two Monday Night games ranks pretty high. I mean, just when your significant other thought you couldn’t possibly consume any more football, suddenly there’s another seven hours on National TV. It’s beautiful and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Anyway, in this article, I’ll be breaking down Steelers-Giants from a Showdown perspective.

Set your DraftKings Showdown lineups here: NFL $150K Showdown Special [$50K to 1st] (PIT vs NYG)


Captain’s Picks

JuJu Smith-Schuster ($13,800 CP) - The 23-year-old is coming off a nightmarish third NFL campaign, but it’s important to remember that two of three games that Smith-Schuster saw at least eight targets in 2019 came with Ben Roethlisberger ($10,200) starting under center. Maybe it’s a little naive to believe that a 38-year-old pivot coming off of elbow surgery is going to play anything close to elite in his first game action in a year; but the Steelers are just a different team with Big Ben healthy. To wit, while Pittsburgh threw the ball on a mere 57.8% of plays last season, that number was an AFC-high 67.4% in 2018. New York’s secondary is improved with the additions of James Bradberry and Logan Ryan, but this feels like an exploitable price tag for the man who ranked seventh in both catches (111) and receiving yards per game (89.1) two years back.

Daniel Jones ($13,500 CP) - There’s a couple of things to like here when it comes to Jones. First and foremost, it’s extremely rare to go into a Showdown contest and have either team’s starting QB be only the fifth-most expensive player on the slate. Also, while the Steelers are in no way an easy matchup, I think Jones has the chance to be the beneficiary of game-script. I truly believe Pittsburgh is winning on Monday and that should lend itself to Jones having a voluminous evening. That’s great news for prospective owners, as Jones averaged 27.8 DKFP on the five occasions he threw at least 40 times in 2019. There’s truly nothing like bringing back a stack with the opposing team’s quarterback, right?

Value Plays

Sterling Shepard ($7,200) - Look, there’s really no good way to attack a defense that sat inside the top 10 in fewest yards allowed per pass attempt to opposing RBs, WRs and TEs; but someone has to be the intended recipient of the boatload of throws I’m projecting Jones to make on Monday. So, why not Shepard? The former second-round pick hauled in 68.7% of his targets last season and, in the seven games he started alongside his rookie QB, he averaged a whopping 8.3 targets per contest. That volume should only continue to climb if Golden Tate ($6,800) is eventually ruled out with a hamstring issue. Either way, reports out of training camp had Shepard — not the veteran — as the Giants’ clear No. 1 receiver.

Steelers D/ST ($5,400) - While I think we can all agree that Pittsburgh’s defense will probably suffer from a little turnover normalization in 2020, this remains a unit that does all of the things you want from a fantasy D/ST. Last season, the Steelers surrendered the third-fewest points per drive (1.55) and the third-fewest yards per drive (26.5), all while forcing an interception or a recovered fumble on a league-leading 20.3% of opponent drives. Pittsburgh also led the NFL in pressure rate, garnering a hurry, a QB knockdown or a sack on 30.8% of opponent drop backs. In short, it’s a ferocious group of athletes can create opportunities for mistakes to be made.

Chase Claypool ($1,800) - We obviously don’t have much to go on aside from what the Steelers’ beat writers have been saying about Claypool in camp, but it really sounds like the Notre Dame product may have surpassed James Washington ($4,600) on Pittsburgh’s depth chart as the team’s No. 3 wideout. For me, that doesn’t sound all that far-fetched. Claypool was a big play threat in college, averaging 15.7 yards per reception with 13 touchdowns in his senior season. The coaching staff must also like the rookie, as they used their top draft pick back in April to snag the WR in the second round. Dionte Johnson ($5,800) is equally viable and is easily the safer option, but at this price point, if Claypool sees anything close to a 50% snap share or five targets, he’s going to bring back decent value.


James Conner ($9,600) - This is partially due to my love of the Steelers’ passing attack and partially due to Pittsburgh’s committee approach in 2019. Despite Mike Tomlin insisting last week that Conner is the bell cow — and Tomlin having a long history of using a single-RB system — it worries me that Conner managed to log 70% of his team’s snaps in only two of the 10 games in which he played last season. I’m also not crazy about the fact that the Giants ranked seventh against the run by DVOA and gave up a modest 3.9 yards per carry. Yes, the trickle down benefits of Roethlisberger being back with the Steelers should help all aspects of this offense; but I’m having a hard time believing Conner deserves to be this close in salary to Saquon Barkley ($10,800), let alone deserving to be more expensive that Smith-Schuster.


I’m not sure if this says more about the state of the AFC or the Steelers themselves, but I honestly believe that Pittsburgh could be the third-best team in the conference this season. They have all the talent in the world on defense and the return of stability at the quarterback position is a much needed boost. I wouldn’t expect this contest with the Giants to be all that competitive, yet that does allow for some interesting garbage time possibilities when it comes to fantasy production.

Final Score: Pittsburgh 27, New York 17

Set your DraftKings Showdown lineups here: NFL $150K Showdown Special [$50K to 1st] (PIT vs NYG)

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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 I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.