Before we get into the starts and sits this week, it is only fitting that I formally congratulate Jeremy on beating my by over 25 points in the BTSC fantasy league this week. When your kicker is your highest-scoring player, you are in trouble. Jeremy also has Sam Darnold, who I had wanted badly in our draft and would have taken if Jeremy had passed on him. If you would like to see all of the overreactions from our draft, you can check out the video here. Needless to say, Darnold went off for thirty-two points this past week, which was about half of what my entire team scored.
If you would like to see how the standings are shaking up in our league, you can check it out here. With that out of the way, let’s get to this week’s starts and sits!
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, I will be breaking down the starts and sits and running back, tight end, and defense, while Jeremy 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. Broncos, let us know in the comment section below. But without further adieu, here are your Steelers and Broncos starts and sits for Week 3.
RB: Najee Harris, PIT
Andrew: Despite the Steelers’ inability to run the ball, Najee Harris is still a top-ten running back in just about every format imaginable and the RB4 in PPR leagues. Denver is incredibly tough against running backs this season, surrendering only a shade over 10 PPR points per week to opposing runners. In non-PPR leagues I see him as a FLEX play who you hope can find the end zone at some point, but in half PPR and full PPR leagues, his passing down work is enough to make him a decent RB2 option despite the matchup.
WR: Diontae Johnson, PIT
Jeremy: It’s official. The former Toledo Rocket is a bonafide fantasy WR1 in PPR leagues, and it’s all about the volume. In 3 games played, DJ has piled up 35 targets and 23 catches. That puts him on pace for an insane 186 targets and 122 catches over 16 games. He’s also scored 2 TD’s this year and averaging 77 yds per game. You can do the math on full season extrapolation for those numbers, but the point is, Johnson is a start every week regardless of matchup or how bad the Steelers offense has looked because he carries such a high target volume. Roll him out again in week 5 without fear even against a stingy Broncos D.
WR: Courtland Sutton, DEN
Jeremy: Can we really say it’s a bad matchup for fantasy players facing the Steelers D right now? Opposing teams WRs are earning the 4th highest fantasy points per game vs. Blitzburgh right now, and Courtland Sutton should be a solid Flex and potential WR2 in this game. He’ll also handle a large target share, and proved to be Drew Lock’s (potentially starting this game because of Teddy Bridgewater’s concussion) top weapon last year. Although I imagine the Steelers D keeping this game low-scoring and getting back on track a little bit, Sutton is still a solid play in week 5.
Andrew: With Teddy Bridgewater dealing with a concussion, there is more uncertainty surrounding the Broncos’ quarterback situation. While I like Lock better than most people, he does struggle when he is under pressure, and that is going to be often when you face a Keith Butler defense.
Andrew: The Steelers offense is anemic right now, and Denver’s defense has been on fire to begin the season, scoring over 10 fantasy points in three of the first four weeks. They have forced five turnovers this season while holding opponents to just over twelve points per game on average. As much as I hate to say it, the Steelers are currently one of those teams that you figure out who they play and try to stream that team’s defense. Until something changes, start whichever defense plays the Steelers.
QB: Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
I know you want to think Ben can bounce back, and maybe he will in the real-life game, but for fantasy he probably shouldn’t even be rostered unless you play in a 2-QB League. In any case, leave him out of your lineup this week against the Broncos. Bad Fantasy Player + Bad Matchup = HARD PASS.
QB: Teddy Bridgewater/Drew Lock, DEN
Jeremy: Teddy Bridgewater has been a fine QB so far this year, but even if he starts this game, I’d have him in the SIT column. For Lock, this is about his propensity for turnovers and bad decisions, as well as a bad matchup vs. the Steelers, who are definitely healthier up front than they’ve been since Buffalo, and we all know what happened in that game. Don’t mess with either Teddy B or Lock even if you need a streaming option this week. Trevor Lawrence (vs. TEN), Trey Lance (vs. ARI), and even Jacoby Brisset (vs. TB) have better matchups and are better streams for Week 5.
RB: Melvin Gordon, DEN
Andrew: For some odd reason I can see Gordon breaking away for a big, game-altering run in this game, but there is a lot of risk. The Steelers are only in the middle of the pack against running backs in fantasy football, but Gordon is still recovering from a leg contusion. Even if he is 100% on Sunday, Javonte Williams will likely see at least 40% of the carries. Because of those reasons, I would bench Gordon unless you are really desperate.
WR: JuJu Smith-Schuster
Jeremy: The frustrated Steelers receiver has every right to be, and I would expect bounce-back play from him as a part of the Steelers passing game, but even if that occurs, his role as chain-mover and safety-valve does not lend itself to big fantasy production. Could JuJu score a short-yardage TD any given week? Sure, but relying on that for your flex spot is risky, especially when there are other better options, including on his own team (Chase Claypool). Don’t mess with JuJu unless we start to see a more prominent role develop.
TE: Eric Ebron and Pat Freiermuth, PIT
Andrew: Both Jeremy and I liked the outlook for Freiermuth last week, but it is pretty evident at this stage that you cannot trust any Steelers tight end on a weekly basis. If you need more of a reason than that, the Broncos give up the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Avoid both Ebron and Freiermuth if at all possible.
K: Both of Them
Jeremy: I’d write two separate paragraphs for Broncos’ K Brandon McManus and Steelers’ leg Chris Boswell, but it would just be copy and paste, so here’s why they’re both here: This should be a low-scoring affair with a lot of tough Defensive play and not a lot of stellar Offensive play. McManus is the 6th highest scoring K through 4 weeks, so I understand if he’s your K and you don’t want to drop a depth piece for a streaming kicker, but don’t expect huge output from either player in week 5.
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.
Which players would you start in the Steelers vs. Broncos matchup? Can you trust any of the Steelers’ receivers this week? Will Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant be able to exploit a tough Steelers defense? Be sure to light up the comment section below with your thoughts on this and all things fantasy football!