Steelers Fantasy Perspective: Week 7 vs. Bengals

After an embarrassing loss to the Jaguars, the Steelers were a team on a mission and absolutely put the Chiefs in their place in Week 6. The Steelers still need to find some consistency on offense, but they should be considered to be trending up. In the fantasy world, which stars should we trust to play this week against the Bengals?

Ben Roethlisberger – Sit

If it wasn’t for a game-winning 50-yard touchdown catch that was almost intercepted, Roethlisberger would’ve had yet another below average fantasy output. That’s not to say that Big Ben didn’t have a solid game; it was a vast improvement from the disastrous Week 5 game against Jacksonville. As we saw against the Chiefs, Roethlisberger plays his best football when he is able to lead a balanced attack and not forced to throw 40+ times during the game. The Steelers will hopefully take a similar approach against the Bengals, meaning Roethlisberger could be in for solid game. However, the Bengals defense has been an under-the-radar unit this season and could create a low-scoring game. Roethlisberger is a low-end starter that is more realistically closer to a QB2. Until we see consistency from the offense, keep Roethlisberger on the bench.

Le’Veon Bell – Start

It is games like the one Bell had against the Chiefs that help remind us just how dominant he is when the offense goes through him. There is no denying that he is the best running back in the NFL. The Bengals have been middle of the road against the run this season, meaning that Bell could very well be in for yet another elite week. I think it is safe to say that he has knocked off the rest of the rust and is ready to take the NFL by storm again. Just like always, start Bell with extreme confidence.

Antonio Brown – Start

I still don’t understand how Antonio Brown does what he does. That catch against the Chiefs should be considered for catch of the year. As one of the league leaders in so many of the major statistical receiving categories in the NFL, the one thing we’re waiting to see is Brown add some touchdowns to the list, something he has only been able to do twice this season through the first 6 weeks. If he could do that, his fantasy output would be even greater. Either way, AB is firmly entrenched as the top fantasy receiver and should be started each week with confidence as an elite WR1 that is capable of producing even bigger numbers than we’ve seen so far.

Martavis Bryant – Sit

In this week’s addition of Steelers’ drama: Martavis Bryant. After rumors surfaced about Bryant wanting to be traded, the Steelers’ deep threat was put in the spotlight and questioned about his current usage in the offense. So far, Bryant and Big Ben have looked out of sync and have not been able to really connect on any of Bryant’s signature deep touchdown catches. I still think that Bryant has a great part in this offense and as time goes along, you’ll see more of Bryant down the field. But until we can see that, Bryant’s floor is at an all-time low and his ceiling is steadily decreasing as well until we see some solid production. Keep him on the bench unless you’re forced to start him. In that case, keep your fingers crossed but don’t expect much.

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JuJu Smith-Schuster – Sit

Smith-Schuster is becoming a bigger part of the offense with each passing week, having seen more reps that Bryant for the past few weeks. Even with the increased reps and budding chemistry with Roethlisberger, Smith-Schuster isn’t quite ready to grace your lineups. In PPR leagues, he could be an interesting flex play, as he sees a fair share of targets underneath and across the middle out of the slot. But in most standard leagues, you’re better off stashing Smith-Schuster and waiting to see if he continues to see more time on the field.

Jesse James/Vance McDonald – Sit

For the first time all season, Jesse James didn’t receive a single target, even though he out-snapped Vance McDonald 55-32. McDonald, on the other hand, finally got his first reception as a Steeler in the form of a solid 26-yard catch. As the Steelers try to find their identity as an offense, it is obvious that targets are going to go to Brown, Bell, Smith-Schuster, and even Bryant, before they come to the tight ends, making it even harder for them to be trusted as fantasy options. Keep both on your bench this week and potentially beyond.

Steelers D/ST – Start

Earlier in the season, this would’ve been a must-start matchup for the Steelers offense. However, after the changes the Bengals have made on offense, this isn’t as cut and dry. Even with the Bengals offense on the up and up, this is still the Steelers defense. After absolutely shutting down the Chiefs’ #1 ranked offense, the Steelers continue to boast consistent sack numbers, find ways to force turnovers, and currently have the #1 pass defense (WHAT?) and the #3 overall defense. The Steelers are quickly becoming a weekly starter on defense and if they can slow down the Bengals offense a week after blowing up the Chiefs, they will prove to the league that they are here to stay.

Chris Boswell – Start

The matchups between the Steelers and Bengals can sometimes be low-scoring games, but that can mean solid opportunities for Boswell, who has been a savior at times for the Steelers. With the Steelers’ offense trying to turn the corner, Boswell could continue to have solid outputs if they continue to stall within the 20-yard line. Consider him a low-end starter moving forward.

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