NFL DFS Picks and Analysis - Week 3: The Grind Down - Steelers vs. Texans
Welcome to the RotoGrinders NFL Grind Down, a fantasy football advice article for DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo. This DFS breakdown is an all-encompassing preview of the week ahead in the NFL from a daily fantasy sports perspective. We’ll provide all the projections, projected ownership, picks, targets, and analysis you need to set your lineups for this week’s contests.
Every game will be broken down with a DFS-first mentality. Betting lines are shown with projected team totals, spreads, and moneyline to give you an idea of the game environment. Each contest is then analyzed team-by-team, with a focus on finding matchups to exploit and trends to follow. At the end of each section, we’ll deliver a DFS cheat sheet of stacks to build, players to target, and low projected ownership plays that can make an impact on your weekly success.
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Sports Betting Lines and Overview
Pittsburgh Steelers DFS Breakdown
Injuries to Monitor
WR Juju Smith-Schuster (Questionable)
Running Game Outlook
Don’t overthink a Mike Tomlin backfield. There’s gonna be one guy gobbling up all of the snaps and being highly productive. That’s the way it’s always been and that’s the way it’ll always be. The guy in this backfield is James Conner, who’ll play at least 75% of the snaps with Benny Snell spelling him. Conner is out-producing the O-Line with 5.2 yards per carry to the line’s 3.4 adjusted line yards per FO.
Take everything I’ve told you over the last two weeks about Aaron Jones lighting it up and apply it to Conner for Week 3 against the Texans. He’s getting all of the rushing work as a -4.0 favorite in a game that should out-pace the 45.0 over-under. The two targets can only go up, as this is a guy who averaged 4.79 targets per game across 2018-19.
Passing Game Outlook
Everyone is playing Diontae Johnson in every format on both sites because he’s underpriced and the #1 target from Ben Roethlisberger smashes week-after-week, year-after-year. Death, taxes, and Ben’s WR1. This is a fantasy axiom. If Juju Smith-Schuster is out, Diontae requires the lock button to be overweight on the field. If Juju is in, they’re both in play, but tread lightly with Juju, as Tomlin has some history of using hurt WRs as decoys. But we can’t fully fade because there’s also a history of Steelers on the injury report breaking slates.
All of this circles back to Ben, who’s cheaper than Kyler Murray and no one’s gonna play him. We talk Conner, we talk close game, we talk Diontae, we talk Juju, people are even considering the Eric Ebron punt, but the world is ignoring Ben, so we have to keep the old man in our player pool. Steelers are a full-blown stack. Diontae is so popular that we should be three-manning the stack and bring back a Texan or two. Naked Ben+Diontae (your jokes are bad and I’m judging you for them) might not be enough in large fields.
Roster Construction Punts/Values: Eric Ebron (FD)
My Expected Team Exposure: High, Very High
Houston Texans Projections Breakdown
Injuries to Monitor
Running Game Outlook
David Johnson has the size-speed combo and a great run-blocking O-Line, but only 27 touches. Physique, talent, and blocking don’t pay the bills if it don’t get the ball. The Texans have had their brains beaten in by the Chiefs and Ravens and now face, maybe, the 3rd-best AFC team in the Steelers in Pittsburgh in Week 3. Vegas opened this line with the Texans as 5.5-point dogs, but the line is tightening up to 4.0 without the over-under moving down, so the Texans stock is rising and the gamescript is projecting to be more neutral than the lashings they received the first two weeks.
The reasoning behind it all is probably the tempered stance of believing in the Texans’ collection of talent instead of the two-week sample. How the team performs, as a whole, is crucial toward projecting David Johnson — with or without Duke Johnson — because that’s where the gamescript for David begins. If we agree with Vegas, we play him at a great price when no one else will. If we agree with the last two weeks, we fade him and call it bad scheduling luck for Houston.
Personally, I’m banking on a shootout here in GPPs where David breaks value with all four limbs.
Passing Game Outlook:
Deshaun Watson has dropped back 86 times, but has only 68 pass attempts after taking four sacks each week. This is LDO bad for the passing game. But we’re talking two weeks out of a guy who improved from 62 sacks in 2018 to only 44 in 2019. Is regression rearing its head or did he just have off games or is his line just failing him? We’ll let some guys grind the tape and relay the eye-bias and the projections dump on him, while the market says this is gonna be a hotly contested game.
If you’re not with me on this being a shootout, move on. If I don’t make money, I hope a reader makes money; but if you do agree with me, then Watson’s talent is gonna put some points on the board, despite the Steelers defense, and he’s gonna bring two of Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks, and/or David Johnson along for the ride. Cooks played hurt in Week 1, Fuller took a nap in Week 2, so we’re limited in how to project the two. Cooks is still on the injury report, so we can’t rule him in. If he’s out, we go Fuller. If he’s not, we can play the ownership game, but we should stack the Steelers and bring it back a few times, given how chalky Diontae Johnson is gonna be and how little the public is gonna touch the Texans.
Strong Projections: David Johnson
Roster Construction Punts/Values: Jordan Akins
My Expected Team Exposure: Medium-High