Let’s breakdown Sunday’s single-game daily fantasy football slate featuring the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers, which kicks off at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC.
Cash Game Roster Construction
These teams played a low-scoring, 17-10 affair in Week 15 last season, but Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger still have the top two median projections in our NFL Player Models. Pairing each team’s QB with their lead back gives the best chance of capturing all the game’s touchdowns, so James Conner and Sony Michel should be locked in as well.
As a home favorite, Brady is the top MVP choice. That leaves enough for Stephen Gostkowski and value option at the last spot. The Patriots tend to ignore the tight end, but in Ryan Izzo, you’re getting a starting TE for $200.
Core Captain/MVP Play
The top 1.5x plays on DK Showdown GPPs tend to be the players below $10,000 who can match the ceiling of the studs.
- Patriots RB Sony Michel: Including the postseason, Michel has scored nine TDs in eight career home games.
- Patriots WR Josh Gordon: His price makes him a better option than Edelman.
- Steelers TE Vance McDonald: The Patriots have been playing sticky coverage on WRs, including 4-40-0 vs. JuJu Smith-Schuster in the last matchup. The Pats allowed the ninth-most scheduled adjusted targets to TEs last season (7.3), per Football Outsiders.
All correlations via the FantasyLabs NFL Correlations Dashboard and are from the 2018 season unless otherwise noted.
NE WR1-WR2 -0.45, PIT QB-RB 0.02
Gordon and Edelman will likely be paired in a lot of stacks, but the data says it makes sense to go heavier on split exposure.
Big Ben-Conner might not be paired much, but have not been correlated and thus could offer value. Jaylen Samuels went 19-142-0 and 2-30-0 as the lead back in the last matchup against a Belichick defense that doesn’t mind giving up 4 yards at a time in the run game and dump offs in the pass game.
Ryan Switzer operated as one of Pittsburgh’s top three receivers for much of camp and is a nice leverage play on Donte Moncrief and James Washington, especially the Steelers fall behind.
- Patriots WRs Phillip Dorsett/Demaryius Thomas: Whoever starts as the Pats WR3 will likely go relatively low owned, but without much at TE, there’s better odds than normal that the team’s No. 3. There’s even a chance Jakobi Meyers is higher owned.
- Steelers RB Jaylen Samuels: The Steelers have talked of working him in more, and he could see some targets if the Pats do a good job on the Steelers top WRs.
- Steelers WR Diontae Johnson (if active): A talented player who pops in our Models. The Steelers WR5 tends to get more snaps than in most teams.
- Steelers TE Xavier Grimble: Another player who could benefit if the Pats’ scheme funnels the ball away from WRs.