So, Fantasy Football is not a perfect science. I proved that in spades in last week’s poor excuse for a start/sit article. My best work was easily labeling the Steelers defense as the only HARD SIT of the week. They proceeded to put up 26 fantasy points against the high-powered Bengals.
Another beauty was listing Najee Harris in the MUST START column. Were you going to start him? Yes, you were. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have seen the signs of a potential poor performance and warned you accordingly. The Steelers Offensive Line is a problem that doesn’t appear to be going away, and Najee suffered for it in Week 1.
The relatively lackluster performances by the Steelers pass catchers doesn’t concern me as much. The Bengals Defense isn’t often mentioned among the league’s best, but it deserves more clout than it gets. The “Stripes” boast a solid front 7 and a bevy of cerebral contributors in the secondary. This Steelers offense will find some rhythm, and players like Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool figure to be more in the mix as Fantasy starters when it does.
Anyway, let’s get to the Start and Sit rankings for Week 2 against the New England Patriots. The Pats are always a challenge defensively, although the secondary has some holes I think the Steelers can exploit. As for the Patriots fantasy assets, it isn’t as if Brady and Gronkowski and Moss are still there. In fact, the sit list might be pretty full this week for a matchup that should be a defensive struggle in Pittsburgh. Here we go:
The Steelers defense was a buzzsaw in week one, and an uninspiring Patriots offense led by a compromised Mac Jones at QB (Back) is smack in the middle of a reboot. The weapons don’t scare you, and despite missing T.J. Watt for this game, the Steelers have plenty of star power to make life miserable for New England.
DFS VALUE OF THE WEEK
WR Diontae Johnson
Despite racking up 12 targets in the Week 1 win, DJ was underwhelming in his final stat line. That is being reflected harshly in his cost for DFS players in Week 2. Johnson is available cheap this week, but his workload remains top notch, and the Patriots’ secondary is beatable. Expect a better result from DJ in Week 2, and at a great value for DFSers.
TE: Pat Freiermuth
The ‘Muth had a solid game in Week 1, catching 5 balls for 75 yards and a long of 31. Number 88 was Mitch Trubisky’s most reliable target in Cincy, and it is reasonable to expect that to continue against New England. Freiermuth could feast against the Patriots’ suspect Linebacker group and should get a lot of the initial looks when the Steelers are in the Red Zone. Start him with confidence this week.
WR: Chase Claypool, Jacoby Meyers
Claypool usage was encouraging for Fantasy Owners in Week 1, but he failed to really break anything into a big gain. With a more comfortable Trubisky another week into the season, I like Claypool as a boom or bust flex option this week.
Meyers has a higher floor than Claypool in this matchup, but not the upside. Despite the Steelers defensive dominance in Cincinnati, Jamar Chase and Tyler Boyd both had great Fantasy stat lines against Pittsburgh, and Meyers has the trust of Mac Jones. He’s a fine low-risk flex.
SIT IF YOU CAN
QB: Mitch Trubisky, Mac Jones
RB: Damien Harris
WR: George Pickens, Kendrick Bourne
TE: Hunter Henry
Let’s get the QBs out of the way: neither Trubisky or Jones is a good fantasy option considering the current depth at the position and the types of offenses they run. Unless you had to roll the dice on one of these guys on the Waiver wire (looking at you, Dak Prescott owners), let ‘em ride the pine.
Damien Harris ran well when given the chance in Week 1, but the kicker is he was only given 9 chances. The Steelers run defense performed well against Joe Mixon last week, limiting the dynamic back to 3.2 yds/carry on 27 attempts. Pittsburgh knows that New England’s best chance of making this a game is on the ground, and they’ll sell out to stop the run in this game. That fact, along with the backfield timeshare Harris finds himself in with fellow RB Rhamondre Stevenson, rest Harris this week if you can.
George Pickens should be sat until we see him more involved in the game script. Trubisky tried forcing the ball his direction a couple times to no avail. Give it time, but the Steelers dynamic rookie will touch the ball at some point. Just maybe not in a fantasy relevant way for a while.
Kendrick Bourne had ONE catch on ONE target for 31 yards against Miami, and until this offense figures some things out, he’s not consistent enough for fantasy purposes.
Hunter Henry has the unenviable task of facing the Steelers safety tandem this week. We all know about Minkah Fitzpatrick, but Terrell Edmunds is easily the most underrated player on the Steelers ROSTER. Yeah, I said it. Henry should get some looks from Jones, but I don’t expect them to correlate to fantasy relevance in Week 2.
The Patriots Defense is good, but their not flashy, and I expect the 2022 version of the Steelers to be pretty safe with the football. Turnovers and sacks are the keys to big fantasy days for D/ST’s and the Patriots should struggle creating either in this matchup.
RB: Rhamondre Stevenson
WR: Nelson Agholor
Stevenson was a popular late round flyer in fantasy drafts, and he may develop some fantasy value down the road, but for now, he isn’t worthy of consideration, especially against what should be a stingy Steelers D.
Agholor just doesn’t seem to fit in this Patriots offense. There’s no room for him on fantasy rosters right now, let alone your starting lineup.
There you have it. Just remember, if you heed my advice and it goes well, I’ll own it! But if it goes south…that’s on you, friend.