The 2023-24 NFL season is flying by as we’re onto Week 9, starting with Thursday Night Football — a clash between the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers. Below, I’ll go over my top DraftKings NFL DFS Showdown picks for the Titans vs Steelers TNF Week 9 game.
Unfortunately, this matchup is set up to be a low-scoring affair with the over/under total currently set at just 37 on DraftKings Sportsbook, making it less than ideal when it comes to DFS. Both teams have posted some disappointing and underwhelming games this season but rookie QB Will Levis threw four touchdowns in his NFL debut last week. Can he keep it up or was that a fluke? Is QB Kenny Pickett healthy enough to spread it out to his offensive playmakers?
It’s going to be a fun one regardless because well, it’s football, so let’s dive into how you should tackle this week’s DraftKings NFL DFS Showdown fantasy football slate. I’ll highlight my favorite Captain’s plays and FLEX plays below.
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NFL DFS Showdown DraftKings Picks for Titans vs Steelers TNF Week 9
Favorite Captain NFL DFS Picks
Will Levis ($14,400)
Now, I’m not expecting Will Levis to be a stud every game he plays in moving forward, but his NFL debut featuring four touchdown passes with three of them going to DeAndre Hopkins ($11,200) cannot be ignored. Levis finished with a 65% completion percentage and 238 passing yards last week against the Falcons and while the Steelers’ defense ranks ninth in defensive DVOA (-6.3%), its secondary has struggled –– allowing 1,367 yards and seven touchdowns to opposing wide receivers so far this season. You simply can’t expect Levis to put up 24+ DKFP consistently but considering he doubled Ryan Tannehill’s season-long passing touchdown total in just four quarters, the Titans’ offense is in much better hands.
If Pittsburgh takes away Hopkins and Levis isn’t able to air it out, there’s that big 6’3″, 247-pound running back named Derrick Henry ($11,600) to help alleviate the pressure and open up more play-action opportunities as the game progresses. The game script should be relatively even throughout, but considering Pittsburgh allows the fifth-fewest rushing yards per game (79.7), Tennessee will likely have to trust in Levis to get the job done through the air, making him a candidate for your DraftKings NFL DFS picks tonight.
Diontae Johnson ($12,600)
It doesn’t matter which quarterback is under center for Pittsburgh because Diontae Johnson has been targeted 20 times across the last two games since returning from injury. Once Kenny Pickett ($9,200) went down in the second half, Mitch Trubisky ($9,200) came in and targeted Johnson regularly. He’s totaled at least 79 yards in both games and will almost certainly do it again against a Titans’ secondary that has allowed the 10th-most receiving yards (1,318) to opposing wide receivers thus far.
Tennessee is vulnerable through the air but not so much on the ground –– allowing the third-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (120.8). Najee Harris ($7,200) hasn’t been efficient by any means, either, suggesting the offense may need to lean on Pickett and the passing game more. Pickett logged a full practice on Wednesday and if he’s less than 100 percent healthy and they can’t lean on the running game, Johnson will be the go-to in the short passing game.
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Favorite Value FLEX NFL DFS Picks
Tyjae Spears ($5,400)
As I mentioned above, the Steelers’ run defense has been solid from a rushing yards per game standpoint but overall, they’ve allowed the sixth-most rushing yards to opposing running backs this season (808). Obviously, Henry exists and will maintain the majority of the workload but Tyjae Spears has been quite efficient in limited touches this season and provides pass-catching upside. He has averaged 5.8 yards per carry and has been targeted at least four times in 5-of-7 games so far this season.
Operating under the assumption that maybe Levis struggles a bit more with Pittsburgh’s high-powered pass rush and is forced to check it down more often. Also, there’s the possibility of the Steelers playing well in front of their home crowd and forcing the Titans into a negative game script. Negative game scripts are not Henry’s friend as he doesn’t offer as much pass-catching prowess. I’d expect to see Spears’ snap count increase in this case, making him a sneaky player for tonight’s DraftKings NFL DFS picks.
Chig Okonkwo ($4,200)
Chig Okonkwo has been incredibly disappointing in terms of production but much of the blame should be placed on Tannehill and his struggles. Okonkwo’s seen at least six targets in two of his last three games but the yardage totals have been underwhelming, to say the least, as he’s failed to eclipse 40 yards even once this season, let alone find the endzone.
I’m willing to bet that things are going to turn around for Okonkwo and this Titans’ offense, however. While the Steelers have allowed just 30 receptions for 281 yards and a touchdown to opposing tight ends this season, their secondary will have its hands full trying to cover Hopkins. Similar to Spears, Okonkwo will be open in the middle of the field on those short passes. At just $4.2K, this feels like a low-risk, high-reward move in a situation where a small breakout is very possible.
Look below for my favorite DFS lineup for Thursday’s DraftKings NFL DFS Showdown slate for the Titans vs Steelers game.
Favorite NFL DFS Picks: NFL DFS Showdown DraftKings Picks for Titans vs Steelers TNF Week 9
|Captain||Will Levis ($14,400)|
|FLEX||Derrick Henry ($11,600)|
|FLEX||Diontae Johnson ($8,400)|
|FLEX||Steelers D/ST ($5,600)|
|FLEX||Tyjae Spears ($5,400)|
|FLEX||Chig Okonkwo ($4,200)|