7-5 felt pretty good. Until it didn’t. That’s right, my 7-5 record in the BTSC Fantasy League on NFL.com is good enough for the 4th best record in the 16-man league, but there are a whopping 6 other managers who share that record with me and through a series of unfortunate tie-breakers, I find myself on the outside-looking-in for the playoffs which start in just two weeks. Fortunately, the Great Schedule Makers have given me a shot: I face two squads who are ranked ahead of me in the standings. My destiny is in my own hands, much like the Pittsburgh Steelers’ destiny is in theirs with 6 games to go. Whether or not we each do what is necessary to secure that destiny remains to be seen. But hey, I’m Jeremy Betz. I write an article and do a podcast about fantasy football, so no problem, right? (Wipe that smirk off your face)
Each week during the NFL season, I, Jeremy Betz, and BTSC contributor Andrew Wilbar 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 Andrew 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 Ravens starts and sits for Week 13.
Note: Obvious starts such as Najee Harris will not be discussed in this article.
QB: Lamar Jackson, BAL
Andrew: Some people would put this in the ‘obvious start’ category, but Lamar Jackson has not had the greatest success against the Steelers in his young career. However, I still have him as a start this week considering the current struggles this defense is having. Plus, after having a four-interception game last week against Cleveland, I expect Lamar to come out with something to prove. If the Steelers do not do a better job of clogging the run on Sunday, Jackson could be in for a big game on the ground.
RB: Devonta Freeman, BAL
Jeremy: I absolutely HATE it, but can Freeman be listed anywhere else facing this Steelers sieve of a run defense? If you are like most owners of the former Falcons RB, you’re probably debating between him and a couple other guys for your flex spot. Based on what we’ve seen from the Steelers the last month, you should probably go with Freeman. He is a high end RB3 this week. And if TJ Watt does indeed miss this game, he could push RB2 value.
WR: Marquise Brown, BAL
Andrew: As Jeremy pointed out to me a couple weeks ago, Brown’s production has been in a pattern. Every time Brown has two good games in a row, it is followed by a stinker. Putting aside his injury that kept him sidelined against the Bears in Week 11, this pattern has been consistent the entire season. After a 116 yard performance against Minnesota, he only recorded 37 yards the next game. Brown only recorded 51 yards last week, but it was on 8 targets, making it a solid outing in PPR formats. If this trend continues, he is in for a big game against a Steelers secondary that gives up over 36 PPR points per game to opposing wide receiving corps. Even with the inconsistency of Baltimore’s passing game, I would consider him a WR2 this weekend.
WR: Diontae Johnson, PIT
Andrew: Baltimore gives up the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, but it is clear that Johnson is Ben Roethlisberger’s go-to guy. Even when the offense struggles to move the ball downfield, you can almost guarantee that Johnson will still get enough volume to be a start in half-PPR and full-PPR formats. If you are in non-PPR leagues like me, I would consider him as an emergency flex option at best, but in PPR, he could be a nice WR2 option this week.
TE: Mark Andrews, BAL
It’s okay to temper expectations a little because the Steelers have done a nice job limiting TE production (9th best in PPR leagues per ESPN), but Andrews remains the most reliable pass-catcher on this offense, and with the rise of Marquise Brown taking some attention away, Andrews sits squarely in the must-start tier of TEs on a weekly basis (TE2 in PPR leagues so far). He probably falls into the category of “obvious starts will not be discussed” but I know there are enough Steelers fans out there who won’t start him this week just on principle that I want to be the first to say, “Don’t overthink it, salty Steelers fan. Start him.”
TE: Pat Freiermuth, PIT
I absolutely love this kid. He’s becoming one of my favorite Steelers very quickly. If you listen to my podcast this week, you’ll know I think he’s a great play as a TD-dependent TE1 for the remainder of the season. He is tied for the 5th most Red Zone targets (15) and TDs amongst ALL pass-catchers heading into week 13. That’s not gonna change anytime soon, so lock in “Muuuuuuuth” again this week.
D/ST: Baltimore Ravens
They’re a solid stream this week based on what we’ve seen from Big Ben and the offense, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they scored 2 pts or 22. Proceed with caution.
K: Chris Boswell, PIT
Andrew: Boswell has been a top 10 kicker in fantasy football this season, but Baltimore gives up the 5th fewest points to opposing kickers, allowing less than 6 points per game to players at that position. Hopefully the Steelers can get into scoring position often, but with the team’s current offensive struggles, Boswell is a risky boom-or-bust option.
D/ST: Pittsburgh Steelers, PIT
Don’t argue. Just sit em.
PSA: My head is full of Benadryl right now, so if anything goes differently from what you’ve read above, now you know why. If you haven’t listened already, make sure you check out my 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/Ravens matchup? Can the Steelers bounce back and play complimentary football? Will Najee Harris rebound from a tough Week 12? Let us know you thoughts in the comment section below, and stay tuned to BTSC for all the news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare for the Ratbirds on Sunday.