Congratulations. If you’ve made it this far, you are in the final four of your fantasy playoffs (since no rational league puts their championship game on Week 17). That means you’ve either been very lucky with matchups, or have a very good team, or both. Here's our advice on which Bengals and Steelers to sit and start on Sunday.
Antonio Brown (Steelers WR) - Brown is a heavy volume, heavy production receiver. Among NFL wide receivers, Brown ranks second in targets, first in receptions, third in yardage, and second in touchdowns. His worst game all season was against the Bengals. He is a must-start, unless you expect a repeat of that, and even so, you can't bench Brown in the fantasy playoffs.
Le’veon Bell (Steelers RB) - Bell is the second highest scoring running back on a per game basis in the NFL. And over the last five weeks he has produced five very good games, culminating in last week’s 47 point explosion. The Bengals have had their issues with stopping opposing runners, and Bell could take full advantage, looking to avenge his season ending injury against the Bengals from last year.
Not a bad start
Tyler Eifert (Bengals TE) - Eiert is back in full force. He has five touchdowns in his last six games, and four scores in his last three games. He is not historically a big producer against the Steelers, but is too good to leave on the bench, unless you have a much better option.
Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers QB) - For all the pre-season hype about the Steelers’ offense being the next big thing, Big Ben has failed to hold up his end from a fantasy perspective. He is currently ranked ninth among all fantasy quarterbacks, which is starter-worthy, but not great. If you have him, he is likely your starting quarterback. Which means, you’re probably starting him, regardless.
Meh, if you must
Jeremy Hill (Bengals RB) - Hill currently ranks 18th among all running backs in fantasy scoring. Hill struggled for 22 yards on 11 carries the first time these two teams met, and outside of three rough games (Patriots, Dolphins, Cowboys), the Steelers have shut down opposing running backs. Hill will probably face an uphill climb to be relevant in fantasy this week.
Andy Dalton (Bengals QB) - If the Bengals fall behind, and if they struggle to run the ball (both are very likely), Dalton could be in for a high number of attempts in this game. He aired it out 54 times in the first matchup with the Steelers. If you are in your league’s final-four, you probably have a better quarterback.
Jesse James (Steelers TE) - Hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 5. The return of Green has eaten into his production. The Bengals aren’t beyond giving up a touchdown to a tight end, but if you start James, you are guessing that it would be him, and not Green, who gets the score.
Lardarius Green (Steelers TE) - Now back from injury, Green is the Steelers’ top tight end, but has James eating into his production. Like with James, he could score against the Bengals, but you’re forced to pick which of the two is the most likely to score.
Tyler Boyd (Bengals WR) - With A.J. Green out, Boyd could be the biggest recipient of Dalton airing it out, much more than the Bengals would prefer. Boyd isn't a great play, but he could have a big game.
You can do better
Rex Burkhead (Bengals RB) - Seriously, this doesn’t need explanation.
Brandon LaFell (Bengals WR) - See Burkhead, above.
A.J. Green (Bengals WR) - Green will be on the sideline for at least one more game and cant help you win your fantasy league today.