Now that fantasy owners have begun to get a feel for what their team’s strengths and weaknesses are, more attention will be given to trades over the next month. Don’t let that distract you from the weekly start and sit decisions though. Do you have Steelers or Packers players on your fantasy team and unsure about which ones you should start? If that is you, you have to come to the right place.
Each week during the NFL season, I, Andrew Wilbar, and BTSC podcast personality Jeremy Betz will co-author a Steelers ‘start and sit’ article. It will include only players from the Steelers and from the team the Steelers are facing that week. This week, Jeremy will be breaking down the starts and sits and running back, tight end, and defense, while I will cover the quarterbacks, wide receivers, and kickers. We will alternate who covers those positions every week.
If you have thoughts on which players are good starts in the Steelers vs. Bengals, let us know in the comment section below. But without further adieu, here are your Steelers and Bengals starts and sits for Week 4.
RB: Najee Harris, PIT
19 targets, 14 receptions, and 102 yds. Najee’s Week 3 receiving production is PPR Platinum people, even if the rushing stats aren’t what we hoped they’d be. Don’t expect a weekly repeat of that other-worldly stat line with the likely return of Diontae Johnson on tap, but do expect continued heavy involvement in the passing game, making Harris an exceptional RB1 in PPR leagues and a strong Standard scoring asset as well. It’s officially official: Najee Harris is an every week must start, regardless of matchup. Enjoy it, Steelers fans!
RB: Aaron Jones, GB
Interestingly enough, this is not a set-it-and-forget-it START for the Packers RB1, because the one thing the Steelers are doing well on Defense is containing RBs in fantasy. The Steelers D has yet to allow a rushing or receiving TD to a RB, and Devin Singletary’s 11.0 PPR points in Week 1 is the most allowed vs. this team yet. That being said, Mr. Jones is the first true top-tier RB the Steelers will face in the young season, and his goal line usage and overall role make him a weekly top option. Don’t expect a week-winning performance, but Jones should provide solid production even in a tough matchup.
TE: Pat Friermuth, PIT
Now wait a minute, before you close the webpage in exasperation, remember Andrew Wilbar also contributes to this column, and he actually has good fantasy advice! Don’t run me out of “tahn” yet, though, because Pat “Friworth” (courtesy Trent Green) is worth considering as a streaming option in Week 4 after having shown real separation in the TE1 battle against Eric Ebron (2 targets, 2 drops on Sunday). Quality Red Zone work and trust from Big Ben earn you more opportunities, and the Rookie has proven to be the best TE on the Steelers roster already. If you need an emergency/dice-roll TE for Week 4, you could do worse. ‘MUUUUUUUUTH!
QB: Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
This may seem like a bold take, but I actually like Roethlisberger’s outlook in Week 4. In three career regular season games against the Packers, Big Ben is undefeated, posting clutch numbers that include a 107.2 passer rating, 340 passing yards per game, and a 9-3 touchdown/interception ratio. That averages out to about 23.5 fantasy points per game. It is also worth noting that the Packers are without star pass rusher Za’Darius Smith, which should only help Pittsburgh’s cause when it comes to giving Roethlisberger time to throw inside the pocket. Starting Big Ben comes with risk, but if you are in need of a quarterback, consider him a sleeper who has the chance to finish as a top 10 fantasy quarterback this week.
QB: Aaron Rodgers, GB
If T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith return from injury, the Steelers will be a different defense than the one we saw last week. However, Devin Bush still does not look 100%, and the defensive line that now lacks both Stephon Tuitt and Tyson Alualu is nowhere near as potent as it was projected to be. Plus, Aaron Rodgers is still Aaron Rodgers. Their offense has begun to get back to its usual form, and they are difficult to defend when they are working on all cylinders.
WR: Davante Adams, GB
WR: Chase Claypool, PIT
With JuJu Smith-Schuster hampered by a rib injury and Diontae Johnson working his way back from a knee injury, I expect Claypool to see a decent amount of targets against the Packers. Green Bay’s secondary has actually been solid this season, allowing the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, but two of their three matchups were against two of the worst receiving corps in the league. We have not seen a true breakout game from Claypool this season, but Green Bay’s pass rush has been inconsistent this season. If Ben Roethlisberger is given time to throw, I believe that Chase Claypool and Pat Freiermuth will be the biggest beneficiaries.
K: Mason Crosby, GB
Crosby is coming off a huge game in Week 3 against San Francisco, and the matchup against the Steelers is ideal. Through the first three weeks of the season, the Steelers have surrendered an average of ten points per game to opposing kickers. Green Bay will likely be in several scoring situations on Sunday, but the Steelers are still a solid red zone defense. Crosby has a good chance of getting multiple field goal opportunities this week.
TE: Robert Tonyan, GB
I don’t like this matchup or the player right now, so that puts Tonyan firmly in the SIT zone. Even the greatest player Jon Gruden’s ever coached only scored 11 PPR points in the Raiders Week 2 matchup vs. this Steelers Defense. It seems that TEs are no longer the Steelers’ Achilles Heal, and I don’t foresee the highly TD-dependent Tonyan being much of a factor in Week 4, especially with a much healthier Steelers front 7 hoping to wreak some of the havoc that spurred their opening day victory against Buffalo. Bench him.
With as good as this D can be when healthy, there are still some concerns on the back end and Aaron Rodgers and co. are not a good matchup at all. Although I’d except somewhat of a bounce-back from the Steelers D with T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith projected to be back in action, it’s not enough to warrant starting them against the explosive Packers. Especially considering there are some fantastic streaming options this week with Tennessee D/ST vs. NYJ and Cincinnati D/ST vs. JAX (Thu). That was free btw.
On the outside looking in, the Packers may look like a solid stream for Week 4. Maybe this is the Steelers fan in me talking, but I don’t think the Steelers offense can continue to be this bad with all the weapons at the skill positions and an OC that team brass trusts to turn things around. This is not a hard SIT by any stretch, but the Packers pass rush isn’t a team strength, and I believe the Steelers will take care of the ball better in Week 4. Find another starting/streaming option if you can.
WR: Diontae Johnson, PIT
Diontae Johnson is still working his was back from injury, and even if the coaching staff considers him good to go, there is a good chance that he sees a lot of Jaire Alexander, one of the best cornerbacks in football. If JuJu Smith-Schuster is out, Johnson could see more work from the slot, and in this matchup, I would not consider that positive news. He still will bring value in PPR formats as a FLEX option, but in standard leagues , I would look for an alternative option.
If you haven’t listened already, make sure you check out Jeremy’s weekly podcast, The Steelers Fantasy Football Fix, which is available each and every Wednesday. You can listen to his latest episode in the player below.
Who do you think are the best starts in the Steelers/Packers matchup? Can the Steelers slow down Aaron Rodgers and the explosive Packers offense? Do you agree with us that Pat Freiermuth could be a sleeper this week? Be sure to light up the comment section below with your thoughts on this and all things Pittsburgh Steelers!