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Monday Night Football DFS Picks and Lineup Advice – Steelers vs. Bengals (Week 15, 2020)

| December 21, 2020 6:52 am PDT
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For reasons only the NFL gods can know, NFL fans, bettors, and DFS souls alike have to brave through yet another AFC North battle on Monday Night Football.

In all fairness, last week’s AFC North duel was actually sublime. I’m just not sure this week’s will provide much of an encore.

The Pittsburgh Steelers face the ultimate “get right” spot, as they take on the rival Cincinnati Bengals. They’re on the road and have lost two games in a row, but if the Steelers aren’t in a smash spot, I’m not sure what a smash spot.

Of course, the Rams were in the mother of all smash spots on Sunday, and we know what happened there.

That said, Pittsburgh looks like the team to back on Monday Night Football. From a betting perspective, anyway. If you want to go that route, hit up this week’s Steelers vs. Bengals betting pick.

For the daily fantasy side of things, read on for my Monday Night Football DFS Showdown picks for week 15. 

Top Showdown Picks for MNF

  • Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers ($11.8k)
  • Diontae Johnson, WR, Steelers ($10.2k)
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers ($10k)
  • Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals ($8.4k)

It isn’t a hot take to lean hard toward the Steelers in this game. If you look at most of the best NFL betting websites, Pittsburgh is a big 14-point favorite (or something close to it) at all of them.

The Steelers easily won the first meeting, and that was with a healthy Joe Burrow on the field for Cincy.

You could argue Ryan Finley has to be included in here ($8k), and I do understand the allure of forcing in the opposing quarterback just for the sake of doing so. Finley stands to benefit from a negative game script, he does have some explosive weapons, and he even offers a little rushing upside.

But if it will at all be contrarian to fade Finley, I’ll probably do exactly that.

The right play is sometimes the chalky play. And that’s to Captain one of Pittsburgh’s best weapons and find a way to get value and differentiate your lineup elsewhere.

You can Captain anyone listed above, but Big Ben stands out the most.

He’s had issues with turnovers lately, but he carved up the Bengals to the tune of 32 fantasy points the last time he saw them.

Diontae Johnson wrecked in that matchup and remains quite explosive, while JuJu has maintained a healthy role and has topped 17+ fantasy points in four of his last six games.

Chase Claypool is a bit touchdown dependent, and the Steelers don’t run enough to get too excited about their running backs. That by no means says you can’t use them, but I probably wouldn’t prioritize them in the Captain slot.

Tyler Boyd is one of the few Bengals players I’d consider prioritizing. Tee Higgins is also there, and Ryan Finley is a fine try as mentioned. Trying to figure out Cincy’s running game feels like a nightmare, and this team in general, probably isn’t going to produce much in this matchup.

Best MNF Showdown Sleepers

  • James Washington, WR, Steelers ($4.4k)
  • Trayveon Williams, RB, Bengals ($1.2k)
  • Anthony McFarland Jr., RB, Steelers ($200)

Call me crazy, but this simply is not a slate where we need to dig deep and get major savings. Not only are there only so many players I feel the need to pay up for, but I really don’t want that much exposure to both sides of this game.

I am seeing a very one-sided game here, and I’ll honestly probably want to prioritize the Steelers defense.

That said, there is a little value to be had. My favorite MNF DFS sleeper is easily Washington, as the speedster has scored in each of his last two games. His role is growing (10 targets in that span), so in a great matchup, he’s a solid dart.

The question, of course, is if he’ll even be needed.

On the other side, I have faint interest in punting with someone like Trayveon Williams. I have no idea why the Bengals keep trotting Giovani Bernard out there. He’s been woefully ineffective, and he does nothing for them.

Williams offers upside as a runner, and has proven to be much more explosive. In a likely blowout, it would make sense for him to get a lot of garbage time work.

Ditto for McFarland, who could honestly vie for some touches regardless, provided James Conner doesn’t suit up. Conner’s return rendered McFarland a healthy scratch last week, but now the former is banged up again.

Benny Snell is the main benefactor if Conner is out or limited, but he’s done basically nothing with his extra opportunities.

My Favorite Week 15 MNF Lineup

  • Captain: Diontae Johnson, WR, Steelers ($15.3k)
  • FLEX: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers ($11.8k)
  • FLEX: Pittsburgh Steelers Defense ($7.2k)
  • FLEX: Trayveon Williams, RB, Bengals ($1.2k)
  • FLEX: James Washington, WR, Steelers ($4.4k)
  • FLEX: JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers ($10k)

Is this the game where the Steelers lose a third straight and fall to a really bad team with a third-string quarterback? I doubt it.

Should we brace for Pittsburgh to finally get their running game going, too? I doubt that, too.

Pittsburgh hasn’t proven they can be trusted on the ground in 2020, and their passing game is what works. I’ll just load up on their pass catchers in a smash spot where they’ll likely race out to an early lead and never look back.

Johnson is easily one of my favorite Monday Night Football DFS Showdown picks for week 15. He had some issues with drops in his last game, but he’s otherwise relentlessly targeted in this offense, and has put up 21+ fantasy points in three of his last five games.

Johnson should crush here, so it all starts with him in the Captain slot.

You could make some pivots here. The first is getting off the Steelers defense and using someone like Tee Higgins instead. Doing so would involve you thinking Ryan Finley is capable of doing damage here, though.

I really don’t like any Bengals at all. Even with the Steelers slumping a bit and suffering key injuries on defense, they are set up beautifully here.

The only thing that has true appeal is Williams just soaking up garbage time work. Even that is a risk, but I am going all-in on a Steelers offensive stack here, and I value the Steelers defense over any of the Bengals normally solid offensive weapons.

Finley just downgrades them that badly, is the thing.

Things will not go well. There, blank filled.

You can always consider dialing this stack back slightly by dropping from JuJu or putting someone like Washington in the Captain instead of Johnson, but this is the squad I like the most.


This roster is still a considerable gamble, just because it’s impossible to know how Williams will be used early. If the Bengals shock and compete here, fading their offense (and paying for the Steelers defense) will result in sure failure.

But sometimes the right call just isn’t that sexy. I see a blowout here, and I don’t love the odds of hitting on that one Bengals guy who might go off.

Instead, I’ll stack Steelers in my week 15 MNF DFS showdown picks and hope they hit like they did the last time.

Like always, you probably shouldn’t only fire my favorite MNF DFS Showdown lineup into one contest. These one-game slates are really unpredictable, so beyond just trying a unique build like I try to push out, you should enter a ton of different combinations and maybe even max a contest out.

I prefer to go light on Showdown slates, so I’ll likely enter this team once and be done with it.

Hopefully my Monday Night Football DFS picks help you out in week 15. Either way, enjoy the game!

Noah Davis
Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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