After a crazy beginning to the NFL season, the fantasy football landscape is finally beginning to take shape, but there are still some difficult start and sit decisions. Do you have Steelers or Bengals players on your fantasy team and unsure about which ones you should start? If that is you, you have to 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 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. Bengals, let us know in the comment section below. But without further adieu, here are your Steelers and Bengals starts and sits for Week 3.
WR: Diontae Johnson, PIT
In 2 games this season, DJ has 22 targets and a 14/141/1 stat line. Over a full season, that amounts to a 119/1,200/8 line and 287 PPR pts. That would have made him the WR5 in 2020. He’s the clear target leader in what has proven once again to be a pass-happy offense so far. If Johnson continues to earn more deep targets like week 2, his value should only go up. Health is a concern this week, so keep an eye on that injury report, but Johnson is a consistent WR2 with weekly upside for more. If he’s a go on Sunday, he should be a go in your fantasy lineup.
WR: Chase Claypool, PIT
I got burned on this pick last week, but I’m riding the Maple-train again for Week 3. Look, at some point Claypool is going to go off, and this could definitely be the week for it. Especially if Diontae Johnson’s knee injury keeps him out this week, Claypool’s big play ability and Red Zone skill make him a weekly flex option. I’d put him there again this week and expect solid to spectacular results.
K: Chris Boswell, PIT
He’s been a solid performer through two weeks and that shouldn’t change in a good matchup against the Bengals. The Wizard of Boz is a great streaming option again this week.
RB: Joe Mixon, CIN
The matchup looks bad on paper, but the absences of both Stephon Tuitt and Tyson Alualu make things much easier for Mixon. The loss of Josh Jacobs forced the Raiders to rely on the passing game, but Devin Singletary was able to exploit the Steelers defense in Week 1. Cincinnati’s offensive line is still a work in progress, but Mixon seems to be in better health this season and is looking much more explosive than the past couple seasons. I do not love the upside this week, but there are only so many good options to start at running back. Unless you are absolutely stacked at running back, you cannot afford to bench Mixon.
RB: Najee Harris, PIT
The Bengals have been more stout against the run than what I had anticipated coming into the season, but after surrendering 123 rushing yards to Chicago last week, I see Najee as a start as well. The Steelers began to get him more involved in the passing game last week, and if that becomes the trend, he will be a consistent starting-caliber running back in PPR leagues. While his value is slightly lower in non-PPR due to the struggling offensive line, I still think that the price fantasy owners paid for Najee makes him a guy you have to start barring any strange occurrences.
QB: Joe Burrow, CIN
I know Derek Carr put up good fantasy numbers against this Steelers D in week 2, but that is an aberration not a trend, specifically because half of the Steelers defensive starters were out due to injury. The offensive line in Cincy isn’t great and allows a lot of pressure on a weekly basis, and this matchup amplifies that problem even more than usual. Even thought his weapons are really dynamic, it won’t matter much if Joey B has no time to get them the ball. Burrow isn't a great start most weeks anyway, but against what should be a much healthier Steelers team, he’s a sit for me.
WR: Ja’Marr Chase, CIN
The 20th ranked fantasy WR through 2 weeks, Chase has shaken off a horrible preseason narrative and been an effective and efficient fantasy asset. I think this is the week that production hits a wall though. It’s the theme so far, but a hopefully healthy Steelers D makes this a rough matchup for Burrow’s LSU teammate. I understand if you can’t fully bench Ja’Marr Chase, but definitely lower expectations and, if you have other options, let him sit a week.
K: Evan McPherson, CIN
I don’t think the Bengals will have many scoring opportunities this week, so I’d fade McPherson against the Steelers. You can find better streaming options and any established top level Kicker is a better play for sure.
TE: Eric Ebron, PIT
If you are an Eric Ebron owner, you should be concerned about the trust Ben Roethlisberger has already shown in Pat Freiermuth. Injuries are also affecting Ebron, but regardless of how healthy he is, the Bengals give up the fifth fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Consider all tight ends in the matchup risky starting options.
I do not know why you would own the Bengals defense in the first place, but if you are in a 32 team league and you have the Bengals as your defense, learn to draft a defense a little sooner. But seriously, unless you are in 16-team leagues or larger, do not mess with the Bengals defense.
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/Bengals matchup? Are both Joe Mixon and Najee Harris safe starts? Will Joe Burrow bounce back this week? 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 Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.