Steelers-Colts DFS Showdown: Slate Strategy Analysis

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Jonathan Taylor has the highest optimal probability on this sloppy DFS showdown between the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football. JT is coming off two of his best games of the season, where he carried the ball 22 times in each outing with a combined 231 yards and two scores. The best part of Pittsburgh’s team is their run defense, so it would make more sense for an air raid tonight, but when you have Taylor, you have to give him the ball. We’re not crazy about backing him at the multiplier as the most expensive option on the slate, given his matchup, but his upside is more than worthy of a FLEX spot.

Najee Harris finally showed us some promise over the past two weeks when he combined for 40 carries, 189 yards, and two touchdowns. The Steelers have something rolling on the ground lately, and not much else is working, so as the Colts deal with defensive line injuries, the Steelers will likely establish the ground game early. Najee isn’t overly expensive, so we like his chances of building on the past two games and being a worthy multiplier play. 

Michael Pittman Jr. is a safe play at the multiplier spot, as he’s averaged eight targets per game over the past few. We view him as having an ideal matchup against the Steelers defense that allows the league’s second-most passing yards per game. He’s relatively expensive compared to the rest of the board, but on a slate with so much “blah,” he offers a strong workload at the multiplier.

Pat Freiermuth is my favorite multiplier tonight, as he’s underpriced and has emerged as Kenny Pickett’s number-one receiving threat. He’s averaged nearly nine targets per game over the last four outings, and we’re hopeful his red zone production will improve. At his affordability, he is worth a shot at the multiplier. This is a rather top-heavy board, so rostering Freiermuth will allow you to avoid rostering significant risks in your FLEX spots.


We aren’t high on either quarterback, but we’re going to side with Matt Ryan over Kenny Pickett. Both have similar pricing, expected ownership, and optimal probability, but Ryan has a much better matchup against the weak Steelers’ pass defense and veteran reliability. Rostering both is feasible if you anticipate a shootout in this game, but Pickett’s viability in a low-scoring affair is relatively low. 

Diontae Johnson and George Pickens have similar ownership and optimal projections while being comparably priced, yet we’re going to favor the rookie in Pickens over the vet for tonight. Pickens hasn’t shown us a ton to give us sustainable confidence, but for only one game, he is more dynamic than Johnson and has illustrated a higher touchdown upside this season. Johnson’s double-digit target upside is desirable, but he hasn’t found the end zone this season, which is all showdown comes down to. 

Parris Campbell is coming in over-owned, but it’s deserved as he’s found the end zone three times over the past six weeks and has three games where he’s seen at least nine targets during that stretch. He’s an ideal showdown slate, but don’t rule out an under-owned Alec Pierce, who saw eight targets last game.

It feels like a fade across the board for the rotational running backs, as none will likely see more than two or three touches. Deon Jackson has the highest upside, given the potential receiving work he could see, but not at his current price.

Steven Sims and Gunner Olszewski are minimally priced, which could provide substantial opportunity for some financial flexibility. We’ll favor Olszwekski, as he outplayed Sims last week after seeing nearly identical snap shares between the two. Ashton Dulin is also minimally priced on the Colts’ end and should see a respectable chunk of snaps, but he’s gone targetless over the last two games.

The Colts’ bunch of tight ends is another spot to infuse some financial flexibility into your lineups, with Mo Alie-Cox shaping up to be a fun play with Kylen Granson not expected to play. Jelani Woods could eat up a few targets, but Alie-Cox will be on the field, and we’re going to look back on his two touchdown-performance in Week 4 as a potential ceiling.