The Chargers (-278) and Steelers are both coming off tough divisional losses, and will do battle on SNF in what could be a grinder of a game. The total is set all the way down at 41.5, with the Chargers favored by 6.5 points.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices
SUNDAY NIGHT SHOWDOWN SPOTLIGHT
Los Angeles Chargers
Philip Rivers ($10,200) is coming off a complete dud at home against the Broncos, passing for just 211 yards, no touchdowns and two picks on 48 attempts. The matchup against the Steelers will be cushier, but this defense just held Lamar Jackson to his worst game of the season, and will really try to grind this game out. If you want to go with a Chargers stack in a tournament, that’s fine, but in terms of the safer plays on this slate, I don’t think we need to go out of our way to roster Rivers.
I’d much rather pay up for Keenan Allen ($10,400), even after a pair of busts. After being targeted 42 times in the first three games of the season, Allen’s seen just 11 passes thrown his way the past two weeks. The Chargers know they need to get their best offensive weapon involved, and this is a spot Allen could re-breakout. I’m not looking for 183 yards and two touchdowns like we saw against Houston in a game like this, but a solid 10-catch game for 100 yards feels reasonable.
Mike Williams ($7,000) is the GPP pivot off Allen, and would be really contrarian if you went with Rivers/Williams while fading Allen. Williams returned from a back injury to have his best game of the season — a 6-73-0 line (13.4 DKFP) on an encouraging 13 targets. That number’s a bit inflated since the Chargers were down big all game, but shows Rivers has trust in his big down-field target.
The Chargers really run out of options at WR after Allen and Williams, which in some ways keeps things simple. Travis Benjamin ($2,200) would be the punt play to target, but has just five receptions for 30 yards in four games this season.
Hunter Henry ($5,600) is in a strange spot here, and he’s trending toward returning from a knee injury, assuming he doesn’t suffer any setbacks. But if he does return, it sounds like he’ll play limited snaps, which makes him difficult to pay for. The four receptions for 60 yards in Week 1 were encouraging, but it’s tough to imagine he surpasses those numbers in a limited return. Follow DK Live for Henry’s status update.
Editor’s Note: Henry will be active for tonight’s game vs. the Steelers.
Virgil Green ($1,200) could be a play if Henry does get ruled out, but even with Henry off the field, he hasn’t caught more than one pass in a game. If Henry plays, Green is an automatic fade.
Austin Ekeler ($9,200) and Melvin Gordon ($9,000) had an interesting dynamic in Gordon’s season debut. Ekeler had the far superior fantasy day, but don’t read too much into it. Ekeler hauled in 15-of-16 targets, which had a lot to do with being put in an early hole — he handled just three carries.
Gordon got four times as many chances in the run game, with 12 carries, although he gained just 31 yards. Melvin also got some chances in the passing game, securing 4-of-6 targets. I’d still give the edge to Ekeler as the slightly better play because of the PPR upside, but these two are becoming much more even plays in Week 6. In what projects as a low-scoring game, you could even stack these RBs with a play on the Pittsburgh side.
Mason Rudolph suffered a scary concussion last week and has been ruled out for Week 6. That means Devlin Hodges ($8,400) will get his first career start in the NFL. Hodges was solid in relief against the Ravens, going 7-for-9 for 68 yards and gaining 20 yards on two carries. This will be a much tougher spot for him, so I prefer targeting the weapons around him.
JuJu Smith-Schuster ($8,800) is coming off his best fantasy outing of the season, bringing in all seven of his targets for 75 yards and a touchdown. Hodges definitely downgrades him, but JuJu’s showdown price is also down $1,200 since last week.
Dionte Johnson ($6,400) is basically the only other healthy WR that the Steelers trust. He’s been targeted 20 times over the past three games, and is a cheaper option if you need to move down from JuJu. Just beware that all Pittsburgh pass-catchers carry risk given the QB situation, especially on the road.
Vance McDonald ($5,400) is another shaky option, but hey, we have to play some value on this slate. McDonald has only had one strong fantasy outing this season, catching a pair of touchdowns against the Seahawks. The Chargers rank just 22nd in DKFP allowed to TE, though, so this is the spot to attack them. An inexperienced QB may need to dump it down to his TE often, so there’s some reason to consider McDonald here.
James Conner ($9,.400) is by far the safest target on the Steelers, and could be part of a three-RB stack on this slate. Jaylen Samuels (knee) will be missing his first game, so Conner should see more touches on the ground and through the air. Conner hasn’t been outstanding this season, with his only noteworthy fantasy outing coming against the Bengals. But just based on workload and opportunity, he’s in position for an easy 20-plus touches.
You’ve probably noticed a lack of plays in this game. I think both Steelers D/ST ($3,400) and Chargers D/ST ($5,400) are very strong options. The Chargers have been terrible at home this season, and the Steelers D/ST has been hot — 11 of more DKFP in three straight games. Meanwhile, Chargers D/ST has 11-plus DKFP in two consecutive games and will face an extremely inexperienced QB making his first start on the road. Playing both D/ST options and stacking RBs sounds like it could workout in cash.
Final Score: Los Angeles 19, Pittsburgh 13
This one could be ugly, so kickers and defenses have to be strongly considered. With that said, there’s plenty of salary leftover for the captain spot. Keenan Allen CP ($15,600) makes sense if you feel the Chargers can run away with this one. But in terms of floor, James Conner CP ($14,100) is in a safe spot to have the most touches in the game. He has no competition with his backups, and will be playing with a third-string QB.
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