We have one more game to finish off week 3 of the NFL’s preseason. Pittsburgh visits Nashville tonight to take on the Titans, and we’ve got some Showdown lineups to build!
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Check back here for any updates leading up to kickoff.
UPDATE #1 – Weather is going to play a big factor in tonight’s game. There
UPDATE #2 (
UPDATE #3 (7:30PM) – Benny Snell is OUT! Also not playing tonight: Derrick Henry, Dionte Johnson, Jonnu Smith.
Strategies For Setting Showdown Lineups
First and foremost, make sure you spend a few minutes going over Tyler Buecher’s write-up here on How to Play Preseason DFS – there’s a lot of great info in there to get you started. While his piece is more of a primer on general preseason DFS research and strategy, I wanted to touch on this Showdown format that we’ll be playing this week.
By now, I’m going to assume you all know how the Showdown or Single-Game format works. Your Captain (or MVP on Fanduel) gets 1.5x their fantasy points. During the preseason, all players are priced the same, so salaries don’t matter – you’re simply looking to place the player who scores the most fantasy points into your Captain/MVP slot while filling out the rest of your roster with the remaining 4 or 5 highest scoring players.
I went over some preseason Showdown strategy in a
Josh Dobbs – Ben Roethlisberger is only projected to get two series. Based on last year’s week three usage, I would assume at that point Mason Rudolph comes in to play the rest of the first half with the first-team offense – sans Roethlisberger, of course. At the start of the second half, it’s likely that Dobbs comes out with the second-team offense, and plays a majority of the second half. The only thing that scares me is that Pittsburgh has a fourth-string QB. How long will Devlin Hodges play? If I knew Dobbs was going to get the full half, I would probably put him on top of the QB rankings, but with Hodges lingering, I won’t be able to stomach too much Dobbs exposure. PAIRS WELL
Mason Rudolph – Now, depending on how long Roethlisberger plays, Rudolph could conceivably see a quarter and a half with the starting offense. I will definitely have a number of Rudolph-Washington stacks, and will also pair Rudolph with Moncrief some. PAIRS WELL WITH: WR James Washington or WR Donte Moncrief
Jaylen Samuels – I can’t see James Conner getting the 39 snaps he received in last preseason’s “dress rehearsal”. I think it’s more likely that Conner and Samuels split snaps in the first half, with Samuels probably getting some work with the second-team in the third quarter as well. Samuels has looked great for the past couple of weeks, averaging almost 8 yards per carry. We know he can catch passes too. PAIRS WELL WITH: Anyone
Benny Snell – Snell hasn’t looked particularly good in his first couple of games. Granted, he’s running behind a bunch of offensive linemen that will likely not have a job in a couple of weeks, but still. He is getting the chances though – other than James Conner, Snell has had at least twice as many carries as any of the Steelers depth backs in weeks one and two. He should see a ton of second-half work tonight. PAIRS WELL WITH: Anyone
James Washington – I’ll likely be locking Washington into lineups tonight. In five career preseason games, Washington has 15 catches, 320 yards, and 3 touchdowns (and was inches away from another in week one). I don’t see JuJu playing much longer than the two series we’ll probably see for Ben. Moncrief and Washington should get a majority of first-half snaps. PAIRS WELL WITH: QB Mason Rudolph, RB Benny Snell
Donte Moncrief – Washington will certainly be chalk, so if you’re looking for something against the grain a bit, Moncrief will likely see the same amount of snaps in the first
Dionte Spencer – Spencer will work in with the second-team, although it’s conceivable he sees some first half work, too. He’s a big-play threat, but only took 10 snaps in week two. Dionte Johnson missed some time this week in practice, and it’s possible he sits this one out – if that’s the case, I see a big snap count on tap for Spencer. PAIRS WELL WITH: QB Josh Dobbs
Xavier Grimble – Vance McDonald missed some practice time this week with an injury of some sort. Christian Scotland-Williamson missed week two’s game with an
Zach Gentry – If Gentry does play, I have a lot of interest in him. He looked great in week one and was drafted in the fifth round by Pittsburgh in April, as a pass-catching tight end. Once again, if McDonald and/or Scotland-Williamson sit, it means more work for Gentry. PAIRS WELL
Chris Boswell – There are two kickers on the Steelers roster, but it’s unclear if Matthew Wright will get into the game tonight. I don’t love Boswell, especially with Tomlin’s affinity for the two-point conversion tries.
Steelers – From a quarterbacking perspective, it’s not the best matchup for the Steelers D. Marcus Mariota will play a lot, as will Ryan Tannehill. These are experienced NFL starters that probably won’t make too many mistakes against second and third-teamers.
Ryan Tannehill – Last year, Mike Vrabel’s Titans had Mariota, Blaine Gabbert, and Luke Falk in camp. In week three of the preseason, Mariota played about a quarter and a half, and then Gabbert came in and played all but the game’s last drive. This season, Vrabel has Mariota, Tannehill, and Logan Whiteside. I don’t know for a fact that the QB’s will have similar usage to 2018, but I also have no reason to suspect it will be different. If we do see 2+ quarters of Ryan Tannehill against second and third-teamers, he could do some damage – my favorite quarterback tonight. PAIRS WELL WITH: WR A.J. Brown or WR Kalif Raymond, PIT QB Mason Rudolph and WR James Washington or Donte Moncrief
Jeremy McNichols – McNichols led all Tennessee running backs in snaps last week. He’s a solid pass-catcher out of the backfield, which gives him slightly more value on DK. Derrick Henry has yet to take a snap, and after what happened to Lamar Miller last night, it’d be silly for Vrabel to play him or Dion Lewis much tonight. That would leave McNichols to get another big workload, playing with the starting offense in the first half. PAIRS WELL
Akeem Hunt/Alex Barnes – If Henry and Lewis sit, or are limited to a series or two – which I expect – I think Jeremy McNichols plays the most RB snaps, with these two close behind. This is a dart throw situation, though, and an important example of why I think playing multiple lineups is essential to the Showdown format. You should ideally have multiple variations of your lineups with one or two of McNichols, Hunt, or Barnes in each. If weather is as bad as it is calling for, I will probably have two of the three in most all my lineups. PAIRS WELL WITH: RB Jeremy McNichols (if weather is bad)
A.J. Brown – After missing week one, Brown received 15 snaps last week. He appears to be fully recovered, and reports indicate he received a ton of work in practice this week. I think he could get some work with the first and second teams tonight. As long as the weather isn’t horrible, I really like the Tannehill-Brown stack tonight. PAIRS WELL WITH: QB Ryan Tannehill
Kalif Raymond – Raymond will get second-half work. He got 22 snaps last week, but unfortunately – like most second-half players – his workload will be dictated by game flow. If Tennessee is way up, or the weather is bad, forget about it. But if the game is competitive, and the conditions are OK, Raymond could see a number of targets tonight. PAIRS WELL WITH: QB Ryan Tannehill, PIT QB Mason Raymond and WR James Washington
Cole Wick – Wick led all Tennessee tight ends with 33 snaps in week two. He was targeted 4 times and ended up as the team’s leading receiver in both catches (3) and yards (42). Jonnu Smith could make his preseason debut tonight, and if he does, I’d expect he splits first-half snaps with Delanie Walker. Wick should get most of the second-half work, so he’ll need the game script to go his way too. PAIRS WELL
Austin Barnard – We need to monitor pre-game news for Ryan Succop’s status. He is recovering from offseason knee surgery and could make his debut tonight. I think if the field conditions are poor though, they probably hold him out until next week. If Succop is in, I won’t be playing either Tennessee kicker.
Titans – Tennessee is my preferred defense, with Mason Rudolph, Josh Dobbs, and Devlin Hodges firing passes from the other side of the field. If the weather gets bad, I’ll likely lock both defenses into all my lineups tonight.
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