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. Raiders, let us know in the comment section below. But without further adieu, here are your Steelers and Raiders starts and sits for Week 2.
RB: Najee Harris, PIT
Welp, that wasn’t what any of us were hoping to see out of Najee in his debut from a Fantasy Football perspective. Totaling just 5.9 PPR pts on 16 carries for 45 yds and 1 measly catch for 4 yds, the Bills athletic D really shut down the Steelers Rookie. The connection with Big Ben was off, and the OL was unable to open up any gaps to help out. So what makes this week any different? The Raiders are not the Bills on defense, and the volume Najee will get on a weekly basis provide great ammunition for a bounce back effort in Week 2. Maybe downsize expectations early in the season as the Steelers offense rounds into form, but Najee is a solid RB2 and a definite START in all formats this week.
TE: Darren Waller, LV
19 targets. Nineteen! That’s what Darren Waller commanded in Vegas’ incredible overtime win against the hated Rat Birds. The 6’6” uber athlete scored 26.5 PPR pts with a 10/105/1 stat line, but the target number indicates that Waller is the guy in Vegas for 2021. Although Devin Bush and Joe Schobert are good coverage LBs, there isn’t a LB in the league who can man up Waller and win all game. The goal for the Steelers D will be to limit Waller, but I don’t see that happening to the point that you’d sit him. It’s a no-brainer really, but in case you need a little extra convincing: lock Darren Waller into your Week 2 lineup!
D/ST: Pittsburgh Steelers
Thanks to the blocked punt return for a TD and several forced fumbles, the Steelers D/ST put up 13 pts in week 1, good enough for a top 3 finish. The Bills offense is supposed to be one of the best in the league, so a good Raiders offense shouldn’t scare you off in week 2. Expect multiple sacks and turnover potential against the streaky Derek Carr and co. The Steelers D/ST is a weekly top 3 play, so lock in this unit again in Week 2.
WR: Chase Claypool, PIT
Claypool came out of the gate slow but finished with a respectable stat line against a challenging Buffalo secondary. This week, the job should be much easier, as the Raiders’ secondary has been one of the biggest weaknesses of that team for several years. Casey Heyward, Damon Arnette, and Trayvon Mullen look to improve the looks of the Raider secondary this year, but I like Claypool’s size in the red zone against any of them. Consider Diontae Johnson a safe start this week as well, especially in PPR formats.
K: Chris Boswell, PIT
Kickers are so difficult to project from week to week, but I expect the Steelers to be in scoring opportunities throughout the game on Sunday. However, the Steelers are still finding their way in the running game, and the goal line offense did not look incredibly appealing against the Bills. That being said, I would consider Boswell a top-ten kicker this week with top-five potential. I know it is Heinz Field, the stadium with the open end, but Daniel Carlson could be a decent start too.
RB: Josh Jacobs, LV
Don’t get me wrong, Jacobs is going to be a good fantasy RB2 most weeks in 2021. But against this Steelers D, you’d be better off letting him ride the pine in your league. Kenyan Drake has taken a pretty prominent role in the passing game, so Jacobs ceiling has already been lowered this year. You probably have better options, so unless you need a desperation flex play based on TD potential, fade Jacobs this week.
TE: Eric Ebron/Pat Friermuth, PIT
For more details on why it’s not a good idea to start either of these guys in fantasy at this point, check out Wednesday’s Steelers Fantasy Football Fix Podcast. In short, Ebron and ‘Muth form an effective real-life TE duo with high-level scoring ability in the Red Zone, but neither is an effective fantasy TE because of the presence of the other and the fact that there are sooo many weapons at WR. Not enough footballs to go around. Sit ‘em.
QB: Derek Carr, LV
Carr tends to play to his competition, but with an overall lack of weapons to go along with an unstable offensive line, I cannot trust him this week against the Steelers defense. We all know how good this defense can be, and while we are all aware that Mike Tomlin teams occasionally play down to teams with inferior talent, I would sit Carr unless you have completely zero other options available.
WR: Henry Ruggs, LV
Ruggs received five targets from Derek Carr against the Ravens, but he was only able to haul in two of them. The Steelers do not have a cornerback on their roster that can match Ruggs’ speed, but I see Bryan Edwards’ size in the red zone and Hunter Renfrow’s efficiency underneath as bigger problems for Pittsburgh’s defense than a speedster who lacks chemistry with his quarterback. Ruggs is completely boom or bust from week to week, and playing the Steelers’ defense certainly does not help his cause.
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/Raiders matchup? Which Steelers receiver do you trust? 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 Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.