For each of the featured games, typically Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football slates, we will be providing free analysis for the single-slate action on DraftKings and FanDuel. This will include team capsules, player rankings, comments and NFL DFS picks for today. There are loads of information and NFL DFS Showdown picks to get into for both DraftKings and FanDuel on this Week 6 Sunday Night Football slate featuring the Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers.
NFL DFS Showdown Picks: Week 6 Sunday Night Football
Seattle is in trouble with Russell Wilson and Chris Carson placed on the injured reserve this week. They will also be without receiver Dee Eskridge but did elevate tight end Gerald Everett out of the COVID-19 protocol. Juju Smith-Schuster (shoulder) will need surgery and is out for the remainder of the season.
Geno Smith will be under center for the Seahawks and Sunday will be just the 32nd start of his career. The second-round selection out of West Virginia started 29 games for the Jets in his first two seasons, but has only opened up two games since then — last being back in the 2017 season. Smith has some mobility though keep in mind he is 31 years old and Seattle is going to be in dire straits if he gets injured. The on-field awareness has always been an issue for Smith once he got to the pros with a 4.1% interception rate and an 8.1% sack rate. For perspective, league averages over the last four seasons have been 2.1-2.4% for interceptions and 5.9-6.8% for sacks.
Alex Collins will be the lead back for Seattle with Carson (neck) on the shelf. Collins did see 71% of the snaps last week without Carson while Travis Homer (12%) and DeeJay Dallas (22%) filled in the gaps. Rashaad Penny (calf) may return after suffering a Week 1 injury, which will further muddy the backfield opportunities. Dallas, Homer and Penny are all under $1,000 on DraftKings, which does provide some utility. On FanDuel, it is looking like Collins or bust is going to be the strategy. Dallas ($5,000) is at the minimum while Homer ($7,500) will need to get lucky on his half dozen looks in order to be a viable option. The Steelers do have the sixth-best rushing DVOA so this is just a mess no matter how we try to spin it.
On his 928 career passing attempts, Smith has a paltry 57.9% completion rate. Over the last four seasons, he has seen action in seven games while attempting just 26 throws. This does not bode well for D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, although they are now the two best offensive options and the Pittsburgh defense has faltered with the 24th passing DVOA. Fortunately, this duo can create after the catch, so they are viable plays in all formats. Freddie Swain has been working as the third wide receiver and with Eskridge out, Phillip Dorsett has been brought up from the practice squad. It remains to be seen if both he and Penny Hart will be active on Sunday Night Football.
Will Dissly is a much better option when Wilson is under center with the signal-caller’s proclivity to look for tight ends in the red zone. Dissly is basically the last man standing and at $1,600 on DraftKings he is worthy of consideration for his handful of targets. Colby Parkinson played 38 and 35 snaps with Everett out of action and he saw his first two targets of the season last week with one reception for one yard. After being selected in the fourth round last year out of Stanford, he has a grand total of 124 snaps in two seasons. Update: Dissly is a tough way to go with Everett now active, he will likely be relegated to 15-20 routes and just a couple targets. Everett is also hard to trust having missed so much practice time.
Seattle has a middle-of-the-pack rushing DVOA, though they are a disaster against the pass. Pittsburgh has allowed 11 sacks this season along with four interceptions and two fumbles. This is basically a mirror image of the Seahawks who have 10 sacks with five takeaways.
This has been a rough season for 39-year-old Ben Roethlisberger. Through five games he has surpassed 254-plus passing yards only twice. Even more stark is that he has just six touchdowns on the season against four interceptions. The Seattle defense should make him look somewhat competent tonight, but this is only hiding a larger issue of his major decline over the last three seasons.
The Seahawks have been worked over by running backs, allowing Derrick Henry (182/55), Jonathan Taylor (56/60), Nyheim Hines (34/48), Alexander Mattison (112/59), Darrell Henderson Jr (82/17) and even rookie Trey Sermon (89/0) to get theirs.
Najee Harris has had a strong rookie campaign thus far, highlighted by 112 rushing yards and a score against Denver last weekend and a 14-reception, 102 receiving yard performance against Cincinnati in Week 3. It is clear that Harris has full control of the Pittsburgh backfield with 280 snaps compared to Benny Snell (28), fullback Derek Watt (22) and journeyman Kalen Ballage (14) working in only sporadically.
The loss of Smith-Schuster will consolidate things even more with Dionte Johnson and Chase Claypool, who already lead the wide receivers in targets despite each missing one game. Either, or even both, can be worked into the same lineup and they should be top priorities in all formats tonight.
James Washington will likely move in as the third wide receiver, though Pittsburgh does like to work out of two-tight end sets. Like his counterparts, Washington can score from anywhere on the field and all it will take is one lapse in coverage to have his backers grinning tonight. Washington did miss last week with a groin injury, so monitor the news heading towards kickoff for any potential limitations. Ray-Ray McCloud should be active and he did see the field on half the snaps last week after Smith-Schuster was injured and with Washington inactive. Anthony Miller was also brought in after being waived by Houston, though it remains to be seen what his role will be on a short week of practice if he is even active tonight.
Typically, we see the Steelers and Roethlisberger rely heavily on the tight ends. However, the volume has not been their this season. Pat Freiermuth has been getting the most snaps with Eric Ebron not far behind and Zach Gentry working in on the double-tight end sets. Over the last two weeks, the targets have been equally disbursed with Ebron (2,2) just ahead of Freiermuth (1,2) and Gentry (1,2).
Pittsburgh has just four takeaways this season, which is the fifth-fewest in the league. Seattle has the fewest turnovers with just two interceptions and a fumble, however, the wild card, of course, is the will be playing with a below-replacement-level backup signal-caller tonight. The Steelers are averaging 2 sacks per game, and with tonight’s circumstance, a 3.5 combined sacks+takeaways mark feels about right; and looking to the over is an appropriate strategy.
Sunday Night Football Single-Game NFL DFS Strategy
The rankings below are best utilized for building out single-entry and three-max lineups and for head-to-head and three-man formats. They provide a nice barometer for player value, but for those taking the MME approach, remember that correlation is key. This means matching a receiver or two with a quarterback in the Captain/MVP slot. This also works conversely with pairing a Captain/MVP pass catcher with their quarterback.
Week 6 Sunday Night Football NFL DFS Rankings
Top 10 NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- Najee Harris: Controls the coveted “bell cow” role and can more than handle himself in the rushing and passing game.
- Chase Claypool: Gets the slight nod for the discount on both sites over Johnson.
- DK Metcalf: More spendy than his counterpart, however, he is better at getting free after the catch.
- Diontae Johnson: Easily could supplant the two receivers above based on personal preference.
- Ben Roethlisberger: Should have his way against the Seattle defense, just keep in mind he no longer a dynamic passer.
- Alex Collins: Slight boost among the rest of the Seahawks for his touchdown equity, adequate runner and receiver.
- Geno Smith: Who knows what we will get from the journeyman backup.
- Tyler Lockett: Tends to get his on big plays downfield, that seems like a long shot given tonight’s variables.
- DeeJay Dallas: Excellent DraftKings salary at $600 for what should be a handful of touches, also returns kickoffs.
- Pittsburgh D/ST: DraftKings is placing a premium on them for this matchup at $5,600, they need a touchdown or to allow 13 or fewer points to pay off in tournaments.
Secondary NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- Chris Boswell: Heinz Field can be a little tricky for kickers, homefield advantage gives Boswell the nod.
- Jason Meyers: The seven year veteran was perfect last year on two dozen field goals, career success rate is a touch above average.
- James Washington and Ray-Ray McCloud: McCloud moves above the kickers if Washington is out or limited, otherwise this comes down to available salary and personal preferences.
- Seattle D/ST: Roethlisberger can and will force things if the Steelers are trailing, which seems unlikely, but still in play a third of the time.
Lottery Ticket NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- Will Dissly and Gerald Everett: Everett (COVID) is now likely to play, Dissly in the mix as a touchdown lottery ticket if Everett sits again.
- Freddie Swain: Hard to trust a replacement level receiver who is well down the pecking order with a bad quarterback. Also returns punts.
- Pat Freiermuth, Eric Ebron and Zach Gentry: Coinflip for the first two, Gentry in play on DraftKings at $200 minimum around lineup 100+.
- Travis Homer: Seems to be more of the backup rusher, but he is a reasonable receiver. Needs something to happen to Dallas or Collins to be more than a dart throw on FanDuel. Cheap DraftKings salary has him in play after lineup 25-30 since he should be on the field around 12-15 snaps.
- Rashad Penny and Penny Hart: A penny for your thoughts?
- Benny Snell Jr, Kalen Ballage, Derek Watt and Anthony McFarland: Watt should be active along with two of the other three. Then we need a stroke of good fortune or something to befall Harris.
- Jake Luton, Phillip Dorsett and Anthony Miller: Luton is the backup for Smith, yikes. The other two veteran receivers are complete afterthoughts, but 150 max wild cards.
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