FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 12 (Ravens at Steelers)

It's been nearly a full week since we initially expected to see the Baltimore Ravens play the Pittsburgh Steelers, but we're actually inching toward kickoff now on Wednesday afternoon at 3:40.

The injury and COVID lists are long for both teams, so it'll be a different setup than it was back in Week 8 when the Steelers won 28-24.

The Steelers are 10-point favorites, and the over/under is just 42.0 points, meaning the implied score here is 26.0 to 15.5 for the Steelers. According to oddsFire, 67% of the money is on the Steelers to win outright, and 81% of the money is on the Steelers to cover that spread against a Ravens team starting Robert Griffin III at quarterback. The easiest way to differentiate in a single-game format is likely just to stack the Ravens.

Before we dig in more, don't forget to brush up on some single-game perfect lineup trends and leverage our Sharpstack single-game optimizer for correlated lineup plays. Let's dive into overall strategy and MVP considerations and flex possibilities, as well.

High-Level Simulation Results

I simulated this game a thousand times -- using numberFire's projections -- to see some high-level takeaways. Here's what I found.

Player Salary Top-5
Ben Roethlisberger $16,000 78.5%Justin Tucker $9,500 17.9%
Robert Griffin III $14,500 61.3%Eric Ebron $9,000 16.7%
Diontae Johnson $13,500 50.2%Devin Duvernay $8,500 16.1%
Chase Claypool $11,500 47.2%Anthony McFarland Jr. $7,500 12.0%
JuJu Smith-Schuster $11,000 44.6%Gus Edwards $12,500 5.0%
Benny Snell Jr. $11,000 41.3%James Washington $7,000 4.3%
Marquise Brown $10,000 32.5%Mark Ingram II $11,000 1.8%
Chris Boswell $8,500 29.9%Miles Boykin $6,500 1.1%
J.K. Dobbins $12,000 19.7%Ray-Ray McCloud III $6,000 0.8%
Dez Bryant $7,500 18.9%Chris Moore $5,000 0.2%

A key thing to point out here: with J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram eligible to return for this game, we currently have them projected for a workload. That pushes Gus Edwards down the list. If they do not wind up playing (they can't actually fly with the team), then Edwards would get a huge boost here.

Slate Breakdown

Using numberFire's projections as the base, Ben Roethlisberger is a sizable favorite to finish top-five in fantasy points and is 34.5% likely to lead in FanDuel points (Griffin is second at 17.7%). Roethlisberger threw for 182 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Ravens in Week 8.

Really, though, no player had a huge game in that contest despite the score (28-24). Each team generally distributes the ball fairly evenly, so that makes it hard to pinpoint elite non-quarterback plays who are anticipated to put up huge games with confidence. The receivers -- especially from Pittsburgh -- can all lead the slate in FanDuel points, but it's the quarterbacks who are much likelier to do so. This is mostly due to their market shares being close to one another.

Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and JuJu Smith-Schuster are all clustered together. In five games together, Johnson leads the team with a 25.2% target share with Smith-Schuster at 21.6% and Claypool at 18.8%. Claypool, though, has 107.6 air yards per game in this span and leads them in downfield targets. If we project volume to be somewhat similar among the three, then Claypool could be the priority MVP choice, given his yardage and touchdown volatility. Johnson is the safer bet to lead them.

Eric Ebron has averaged 1.6 red zone targets per game in this sample, but there may not be a need to throw a ton, leaving him very volatile. He's a strong differentiation play, though, in case he does secure touchdowns at the expense of his teammates.

Likewise, Benny Snell Jr. is a diversification option from the pass-catchers. Without James Conner ahead of him this game, he should handle a solid workload, one that gives him the fifth-most projected FanDuel points. His efficiency is at least in the realm of Conner's, and he has actually already averaged a red zone carry per game. He should be the featured back near the goal line and is looking like the most defensible non-quarterback, non-receiver MVP choice.

The Ravens' efficiency should be expected to be down with Griffin under center. Realistically, he hasn't had relevant work since 2016, but in 2019, he put up 0.02 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back over 43 drop backs but also took 5 sacks (11.6%). The Steelers' pass rush really could cause issues here for the offense if that sack rate doesn't come down.

A downgrade to efficiency and possibly even passing volume in favor of more rushing really hurts the pass-catchers here.

Since their Week 7 bye, it's been Mark Andrews (23.7%) and Willie Snead (21.9%) leading the team in target share. Marquise Brown (14.0%) has become more of an afterthought with his 4.0 targets per game. The absence of Snead and Andrews opens up the door for Brown, however. Dez Bryant had a 17.2% target share last game with 5 targets -- but just 10 air yards on those looks.

If Dobbins and Ingram play, that really screws things up. Dobbins did rush for 113 yards against the Steelers in Week 8 (Edwards had 87 on a season-high 16 carries). If all three -- or if two of them play -- they're tough justifications on a team with a 16.5-point implied total. If Dobbins and Ingram sit, Edwards is a great floor play.

The kickers -- primarily Chris Boswell over Justin Tucker -- rate out fairly well, considering. Boswell has the most appeal if you assume a Steelers rout where they score points, distribute the ball among their top-four pass-catchers, and settle for late field goals.