We are past the halfway point of the regular season in fantasy football, and these next few weeks will make or break your season. Need help determining who to start and who to leave on the bench? You have 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, I will be breaking down the starts and sits and quarterback, wide receiver, and kicker, while Jeremy will cover the running backs, tight ends, and defenses. We will alternate who covers those positions every week.
If you have thoughts on which players are good starts in the Steelers vs. Bears, let us know in the comment section below. But without further adieu, here are your Steelers and Bears starts and sits for Week 9.
RB: Najee Harris, PIT
Jeremy: In 2020, a whopping 6 Rookie RBs finished in the top 25 PPR Fantasy Scorers for the year, led by Colts RB Jonathan Taylor and undrafted breakout James Robinson in Jacksonville. These two players led many a fantasy manager to the Promised Land while scoring 252 and 250 pts respectively. What does this have to do with the Steelers star Rookie back? Well, Harris is on pace to absolutely obliterate those numbers. Air Najee is heading towards 345 PPR pts, which would be the 10th highest among all RBs in the last 10 years (3rd since 2019) and the 3rd most for a Rookie all time! We’re witnessing something big, yinz. All that to say this: Start Najee Harris vs. da Bears.
WR: Diontae Johnson, PIT
Andrew: Johnson has become a reliable receiver in PPR formats thanks to his high volume, and he is becoming a weekly start in most formats. His ceiling is slightly limited in non-PPR, but he is still one of the safest flex options you can find. While the Steelers offensive line has taken some positive strides, it is still a work in progress, and until that line can earn the trust of Ben Roethlisberger, expect the Steelers to resort to the short passing game early and often.
WR: Chase Claypool, PIT
Andrew: Claypool seems somewhat boom or bust this week, but I am leaning toward ‘boom’ considering the matchup. Through the first eight weeks of the season, the Bears have given up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, which adds up to over 41.5 points in PPR formats. Much will depend on whether Ben Roethlisberger is given the time to target Claypool downfield, but if you are even the slightest bit thin at wide receiver, I would roll the dice on him. I expect him to be a top 25 receiver at the very least, making him a potentially solid FLEX play in both standard and PPR formats.
K: Cairo Santos, CHI
Andrew: I do not put too much weight on kicker matchups, but the Steelers are in the bottom third of the league when it comes to facing opposing kickers, giving up over 8 points per game to that position. It is also worth noting that Justin Fields and his receivers still seem to lack continuity and chemistry, which could result in one of two things when they get into the red zone: Justin Fields uses his legs to find the end zone, or they are forced to settle for field goals. I do not consider Cairo Santos an elite kicking option in fantasy, but if you have a kicker on bye, he may be able to provide enough production to put you over the top on Monday night.
D/ST: Pittsburgh Steelers
Jeremy: The Bears have not been a good offense all year. For that matter, they have not been a good offense in the Matt Nagy era, never ranking higher than 21st in Yds/game and only ranking in the top 20 in points/game once (9th in 2018). A Rooke QB who hasn’t found his footing, a struggling ground game without David Montgomery, and an offensive line allowing the most sacks to opposing teams in the entire league (30 allowed). Expect the Steelers D to own the game and be a top 3 D/ST play in Week 9.
RB: Damien Williams/Khalil Herbert, CHI
Jeremy: The Steelers put the clamps on the best rushing attack in football in their Week 8 win over Cleveland, and the Bears combo of Williams and Herbert won’t fare any better. With only 2 rushing TDs allowed all year, the Steelers D will be able to handle the Bears duo and the fairly even split of reps between the two doesn’t offer either with much fantasy upside. Sit ‘em both.
WR: Allen Robinson, CHI
Andrew: I have Allen Robinson on one of my fantasy teams, and while I think he will have a breakout week in the near future, I have a feeling that it will happen on my bench. The Steelers do allow the 11th most fantasy points to opposing receivers, but Justin Fields has shown more of a chemistry with Darnell Mooney than with Robinson. Hopefully it will develop in time, but fantasy owners can no longer wait around for Robinson to break out. Until he can provide consistently good production, I think you have to sit him.
TE: Jimmy Graham, CHI
Jeremy: Coming off the COVID list this week, Graham should reclaim his spot at the top of the Bears TE depth chart, but that doesn’t mean he should do the same in your fantasy lineups. All Graham has is name recognition at this point in his career, and this won’t be the week he revives his career. It’s a more than valid question whether he should even be on your roster, even if you are desperate for a streaming option this week.
D/ST: Chicago Bears
Jeremy: The Steelers Offense isn’t 2021’s version of the Greatest Show on Turf, but they have steadily improved and are limiting mistakes recently that allow for good Defensive fantasy performances from opponents. Expect a lot of Najee Harris and an efficient performance from Big Ben, and leave the Bears D on the pine.
If you have not listened already, check out one of BTSC’s newest podcasts, The Steelers Fantasy Football Fix. Each week, Jeremy Betz will take a deep dive into the world of fantasy football and give you his best advice on how to manage your fantasy rosters. You can listen to his latest episode in the player below.
Who do you think is a good start in the Steelers vs. Bears matchup? Is either Justin Fields or Ben Roethlisberger worth starting this week? Be sure to light up the comment section with your thoughts on this and all things Fantasy Football!