All offseason, the national sports’ media hyped up the Steelers as a great offense, and after a Week 1 matchup against a bad Redskin’s defense, the Steelers looked the part. But how will they look at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday against a much better team?
While we can recommend that you start this guy or sit that guy, it doesn’t make a lot of sense without knowing your entire roster. For example, if you waited until the 10th round of your draft to select your first wide receiver, then somebody like Tyler Boyd is a must start for your team. But if you have Julio Jones, Odell Beckham, and Amari Cooper on your roster, then Boyd is an unlikely candidate to break into that lineup. So we have placed each significant fantasy player into various categories.
ABSOLUTELY START THESE PLAYERS
A.J. Green (Bengals WR): I said it last week, and I’ll say it again - Green is a top WR1 in fantasy football and a weekly start without question. If he can abuse Revis like that, you figure he should be in line for a solid day against the Steelers’ secondary.
Antonio Brown (Steelers WR): See above about Green. He won’t abuse the Bengals for 126 yards and two touchdowns like he did against the Redskins, but he should be starting every week.
DeAngelo Williams (Steelers RB): Williams is coming off a big 143 yard, 2 touchdown performance against the Redskins, but how will he do against a good team? Last year in the first game between the Steelers and Bengals Le’Veon Bell and Williams combined for 168 total yards. In their second game, Williams had 91 yards and two touchdowns. In their third matchup (playoff game) the likes of Jordan Todman and Fitzgerald Toussaint combined for 183 total yards against the Bengals. That’s an average of almost 150 total yards.
Chris Boswell (Steelers K): – Boswell is a good kicker with a career field goal accuracy of 91%, and on a team that is projected to score frequently this season. So why do 18% of leagues have him available? Who knows.
Jeremy Hill & Giovani Bernard (Bengals RB’s): In Week 1 we saw what a great defensive line can do against a horrible center, and how it can slow down a running game. While the Steelers don’t have the Jets defensive line, neither Hill nor Bernard have a great track record against the Steelers. Bernard has never topped 40 yards rushing against them, and has only reached the endzone once in the last two seasons. Hill averages 56 yards rushing against the Steelers and has never scored a touchdown against them.
Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers QB): He lit up the Redskins porous pass defense for 300 yards and three touchdowns in Week 1, but in Week 2 he will get a different challenge. Last year, Roethlisberger only completed one touchdown vs four interceptions against the Bengals. He’s averaged about one touchdown and one pick against the Bengals each time he faces them with about 250 yards.
Andy Dalton (Bengals QB): Dalton’s last three games against the Steelers have seen him throw for three touchdowns vs five interceptions, without a ton of yardage. In the three previous games, he had thrown for five touchdowns and zero interceptions. This could be a classic Bengal-Steeler matchup decided by tough defense, and a low probability of the offense lighting it up.
AVOID STARTING THESE PLAYERS
Tyler Eifert (Bengals TE): Eifert is injured and will not play.
Mike Nugent (Bengals K): Nugent has a field goal accuracy of 80.9% since 2012, and has not reached 83% at any time during that span. He is a below average kicker, and not a reliable option from week to week. In Pittsburgh, a difficult place to kick, his odds are even worse and he’s not worth starting.