It has come down to this. An epic battle between yours truly (Jeremy) and my co-author of this extremely informative article series, Andrew Wilbar, in a fantasy football showdown... for 13th Place. Yeah, not exactly what either of us were shooting for in the BTSC Fantasy League, but bragging rights are on the line this week. And since I’m writing the intro this week, wish me luck, hehe.
Also, with this being Big Ben Roethlisberger’s last home game (we all know it), I wanted to just say, let’s put aside all other thoughts for this season other than wishing the best for one of the greatest Steelers of all time, and a truly awesome person and player. We’ll miss you at the Big Ketchup Bottle, Ben. Let’s go Steelers!
Each week during the NFL season, I, Jeremy Betz, and BTSC contributor Andrew Wilbar will co-author a Steelers ‘start and sit’ article. The article will include only players from the Steelers and from the team the Steelers are facing that week. This week, I’ll be covering the QBs, WRs, and Ks, while Andrew will hit the RBs, TEs, and D/STs.
If you have thoughts on which players are good starts in the Steelers vs. Browns, let us know in the comment section below. But without further adieu, here are your Steelers and Titans starts and sits for Week 14.
Note: Obvious starts such as Najee Harris and Nick Chubb will not be included in this exercise.
WR: Chase Claypool, PIT
Jeremy: Diontae Johnson is the Steelers top target, no doubt. But Claypool will need to be a big player in this game for the Steelers to win on offense. He’s due for a TD and he has played some of his best football vs this Browns team. I like Claypool as a FLEX with upside in a game where the Steelers offensive playmakers will fight hard for #7 in his (likely) final home game. It’s boom or bust, but I’m predicting boom this week.
TE: Pat Freiermuth, PIT
Andrew: If this truly is Ben Roethlisberger’s final game at Heinz Field, I expect him to leave it all out there and take some shots over the middle of the field. This is just a gut feeling, and the analytics will not back this up, but if you believe in emotional motivation, take a chance on Freiermuth. The Browns do give up a respectable 13 points to tight ends in PPR formats, so if you are not one of the fortunate owners of a star tight end, let’s hope that Standing Pat will be standing in the end zone once or twice on Sunday.
Andrew: Baker Mayfield is still not healthy and has played terribly as of late. That is not a good recipe for success for the Browns when you are about to face T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Cameron Heyward, and the ferocious pass rush of the Steelers. I expect the Steelers to create a turnover or two thanks to the pressure applied from the front seven, and who knows, maybe the Steelers defense can even take one of those turnovers back to the house for a score. This defense has been a disappointment in fantasy, but I like the upside this week.
QB: Baker Mayfield, CLE
Jeremy: It’s been BAD for the former 1st Overall Pick, with a new personal low of 4 INTs vs the Packers on Christmas Day. The Steelers have fairly had their way with Mayfield, save a whack playoff game in 2020, with TJ Watt and co frequently applying pressure and Minkah Fitzpatrick and Joe Haden taking advantage of off-target offerings and lame lobs. Expect more of the same, or the other scenario which is the Browns play really well and win because the Steelers can’t stop the run. In either case, Mayfield is a hard sit in Week 17.
RB: Kareem Hunt/D’Ernest Johnson, CLE
Andrew: Whether Kareem Hunt plays or not, there is too much risk involved in the Browns’ backup running backs, even against the Steelers defense. Johnson was efficient with the four carries he got, but it was only four carries. Because there is no guaranteed volume here, I would steer clear unless you are desperate.
WR: Jarvis Landry, CLE
Jeremy: You don’t want to have to trust this guy for your fantasy lineup with the Browns QB1 playing like a Browns QB1. Mayfield has been ugly to watch and that is translating over to his WRs. For Landry, the matchup is less than stellar as well, so leaving Landry on benches is a good plan for Week 17.
If you haven’t listened already, make sure you check out this week’s episode of Jeremy’s podcast, The Steelers Fantasy Football Fix. Jeremy will give you his advice on some of the toughest lineup decisions you will have to make in Championship Week.
Which players do you think are starts and sits in the Browns vs. Steelers matchup? Could Ben Roethlisberger be extra motivated and be a league-winner? Which receiver will make the big play and have a breakout game? Let us know your thoughts on this and all things fantasy football in the comment section below!