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NFL Week 13: Bengals vs Steelers fantasy football starts and sits

This is the last game before the fantasy playoffs kickoff. Who should you have in your lineup, and who should be on the bench?

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

This is the last game before the fantasy playoffs kickoff for most leagues, so who should you have in your lineup to either make sure you’re in the playoffs next week or that you keep that jerk friend of yours [who name is probably Bradley] from making it.

Must starts

Le’Veon Bell (Steelers RB): Bell gained over 200 yards the last time these teams played, and there really isn’t a reason he can’t do it again. The Bengals have struggled with slowing down opposing running backs as of late, so Bell should get all the touches he can handle. It is a matter of will he be able to reach the endzone this time around.

Favorable matchups

Joe Mixon (Bengals RB): Mixon is coming off his first 100 yard rusing game, and the ast time these two teams met he gained 68 yards on 10 touches in the first half. He never touched the ball in the second half, but that shouldn’t be a problem this time around since Jeremy Hill is on Injured Reserve. I’d say given the amount of the offense that is running through Mixon at this point, and the team seemingly figuring out how to use him, Mixon could be in line for decent game. I would probably say he is a good flex play.

Good but not great

A.J. Green (Bengals WR): The only thing saving Green this week is the Steelers streak of giving up big plays to receivers. He is in a bad spot, and his performance will be dependent on Andy Dalton being able to get the ball to him. Green was held to three catches for 41 yards the last time these teams met.

Antonio Brown (Steelers WR): Brown caught a touchdown the last time these two teams met, but he was also held to four catches on 10 targets for 65 yards. If the Steelers throw at him with that kind of volume again he could end up having a good game, but business has never necessarily been booming when Brown takes on the Bengals. You shouldn’t expect one of his amazing fantasy games this week.

Tyler Kroft (Bengals TE): If anyone aside from Green is catching a touchdown on the Bengals the safe bet is it was Kroft on the receiving end. He has five touchdowns on the season including one against the Steelers the last time they played. If you’re in a deep league and need a tight end I’d go with Kroft.

Steelers defense: The Steelers held the Bengals to 14 points while intercepting Dalton twice and sacking him four times. That is a pretty good day for a fantasy defense. I’m not sure they do that well again, but I’d feel pretty good about them being in my lineup.

Unfavorable Matchups

JuJu Smith-Schuster and Martavis Bryant (Steelers WRs): Smith-Schuster is returning from a hamstring injury this week. Prior to his injury, he was playing outstanding football. He seems to be the second receiver behind Brown in Ben Rothlisberger’s eyes. He only had two catches against the Bengals the last time around, but one was for a touchdown. That is what you’re gambling with starting either Smith-Schuster or Bryant. It is a matter of will either of them score, and I’m not sure I want to take that gamble against the Bengals’ secondary.

Brandon LaFell and Tyler Bord (Bengals WRs): Pretty similar to the Steelers supporting cast, you are gambling on one of these guys to score. Neither gets a ton of targets or catches so getting that touchdown is a make or break thing. I’d put my money on LaFell if I had a gun to my head and had to choose one, but I think it’s better leaving these guys on the bench or even waiver wire.

Bengals defense: The Bengals defense didn’t do much for you fantasy wise the last time these teams met. They didn’t have any sacks, and they failed to cause any turnovers. They also allowed the Steelers to score 29 points. I’d look elsewhere for a defense this week.

Just sit them

Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers QB): Roethlisberger has two straight games with four touchdowns, but those were against weak secondaries. He barely managed to get to two touchdowns the last time these teams met, and I’m not sure he will be as efficient as last time either. I’m hoping you have a quarterback better than Roethlisberger, and he has just been your backup lighting it up on the bench. This isn’t the week to chase point.

Andy Dalton (Bengals QB): There is a difference between hoping Dalton does well against the Steelers and relying upon it. Dalton has been on fire as far as avoiding turnovers lately, but he hasn’t even been a great fantasy quarterback over that stretch. He has only thrown for more than 300 yards once this season. He has also only thrown over two touchdowns twice on the year. Now I hope he does both of those things on Monday night, but the odds aren’t good enough to have him in your lineup.