Steelers Fantasy Perspective: Week 11 vs. Titans

Talk about a close victory. After narrowly escaping Indianapolis with a 20-17 win off of a Chris Boswell kick as time expired, the Steelers still remain in the drivers seat in the AFC with a 7-2 record. They have been inconsistent at times, but does that mean you shouldn’t trust your favorite Steelers fantasy players?

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Ben Roethlisberger – Sit

After a slow start against the Colts, Big Ben looked like himself at the end of the game with some last second heroics to bring home a narrow victory. The Steelers return home on a short week in a game that gives the Steelers another weak secondary to toy with. The Titans haven’t been that hard on opposing fantasy quarterbacks, but because of Roethlisberger’s struggles this season, he isn’t as much of a guaranteed option as he once was. If you are in desperate need of a quarterback, Roethlisberger isn’t a terrible option, as plenty of quarterbacks have had worse production. But the questionable performances thus far put a dent in Big Ben’s fantasy reliability.

Le’Veon Bell – Start

Le’Veon Bell is a must start week in and week out. Period. No other player in the NFL has the workload that Bell is currently receiving, which gives him an incredibly elite season each game. The concerning part of this, though, is that Bell is only averaging 3.8 yards per carry. His yardage per game is right on pace with what he was accomplishing last season, but it is taking him approximately 5 more touches per game to reach this total. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start him. It’s just something to consider with Bell’s efficiency this season. Continue to keep him as an unquestioned starter in your lineup.

Antonio Brown – Start

While Antonio Brown leads the NFL in receiving yards, it has been a few weeks since he had one of “those” games where he lit up the stat sheet. Somehow, this game has the makings of the game that will put him back on track. With the emergence of JuJu Smith-Schuster, teams will need to begin respecting the Steelers other receiving weapons, meaning that even if Brown is double teamed, he’ll get his opportunities to shine. Just like always, keep him plugged into your starting lineup as an elite WR1.

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JuJu Smith-Schuster – Start

With his record-breaking performance against the Lions in the rearview, fans were anxious to see what JuJu could do with another game heavily involved in the offense. Needless to say, he didn’t disappoint. While you shouldn’t necessarily expect JuJu to continue on this amazing receiving yards and touchdown pace that he is currently on, he has certainly established himself as a reliable flex option in your lineups that could potentially turn into a borderline WR2. That stats don’t lie: even with Martavis Bryant back in the lineup, JuJu still received 7 targets from Big Ben. The opportunities are there. And if we’ve learned anything, it’s that the 20-year old rookie knows how to make the most of his chances.

Martavis Bryant – Sit

Don’t get me wrong. I was impressed with Martavis Bryant against the Colts, as he got himself re-involved with the offense and came up clutch with some important plays that help the offense accomplish what it needed to. Bryant was on the field for over 50% of the offenses snaps, getting some looks as the vertical specialist that we’ve come to know him as. He still possesses the ability to stretch the field and be a home-run hitter, but we haven’t seen it since Week 2. For that reason, Bryant still remains as a boom-or-bust player in the sense that you’ll likely be hoping for one of his signature big plays to reward you any fantasy points. To me, that isn’t worth the risk.

Jesse James/Vance McDonald – Sit

Props to Vance McDonald for coming down with his first touchdown as a Steeler. But that’s about where the congratulations stop for either of these two tight ends. McDonald doesn’t have more than 37 receiving yards in any games this season. Jesse James has 2 total receptions over the past 4 games, as it appears that McDonald has established himself as the preferred option in the passing game, which isn’t saying much. They both have a role in this offense, but that doesn’t mean that they should have a role in your fantasy lineup. The tight end market is shallow in fantasy, but you can certainly do better than either of the high-effort tight ends in Pittsburgh.

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Steelers D/ST – Sit

The Steelers defense has been a revelation this season. The biggest concern to me has been their slow starts in recent weeks. Sure, they have come alive in the second half of games, but the pass rush has been nearly non-existent in the first half. Still, the Steelers have been applying tons of pressure without bringing everyone, utilizing 3- and 4-man rushes to get the job done. The Titans have a unique offense, utilizing play actions and a heavy run game to trick and wear out opposing defense and have been solid against opposing pass rushes. The Titans have been middle of the line on offense as a whole but even with the improvements of the Steelers’ defense, I would look elsewhere for a streaming option.

Chris Boswell – Start

Don’t let his rare hiccup in Indianapolis fool you. Chris Boswell is still an extremely consistent kicker. The Steelers offense still has a long way to go until they prove they can be more efficient in the redzone, meaning that there could be plenty of field goal opportunities for the Wizard of Boz. Even if they can find a way to finish drives, Boswell will still see his fair share of action, meaning that he should be a safe play either way. Keep on starting him.

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