The Bengals and Steelers are getting set to play each other, but what does that mean for your fantasy team? Well it means a lot less with Juju Smith-Schuster, James Conner and A.J. Green being out. There are still players to watch in this game that can help you get that win in fantasy.
There are no must start players this week. There just isn’t a good player who has been on fire with a good matchup this week.
Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals: Joe Mixon has been on his best two game streak of the season. He had his first 100 yard rushing game two weeks ago and his first rushing touchdown last week. Unfortunately, the Steelers allow the fourth fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, according to Fantasy Pros. It just makes Mixon more of a risk than you’d like considering what he has done the whole season. He is a solid RB2 or flex option this week.
Jaylen Samuels, RB, Steelers: The Bengals defense is a pretty good matchup for opposing running backs, but with Maurkice Pouncey suspended and Samuels not having done much of anything this season, it is hard to place him too high here. The STeelers will likely get a few plays where he gets out on the open field against Nick Vigil, so he does have a nice route to being a RB2, but don’t expect him to put up big numbers like other running backs have against this defense.
Steelers defense against Bengals: It is rare that a defense may end up being the best play in fantasy on the day, but this game is pretty void of tasty fantasy matchups. Rookie quarterback Ryan Finley has proven to be as good as you’d expect a rookie to be with the offensive talent around him. Last week against the Raiders he gifted what would’ve been his second pick six in as many games only for the defender to drop it. He was also late on a few more throws. That is living life on the edge in the NFL, and there is a good chance Pittsburgh gets at least one defensive score.
Good but not great
Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals: Finley has killed almost all fantasy value that Bengals wide receivers may have had. The Steelers defense is a middle of the road matchup for wide receivers, but Boyd getting a single reception for zero yards. He had a 10 yards rush, but that isn’t going to do you much in fantasy. He did show frustration following the game, which could cause him to get more volume this week, but his ceiling has fallen without Andy Dalton. Until Finley shows he can consistently move the ball, it is hard to trust Boyd in fantasy.
James Washington and Diontae Johnson, WRs, Steelers: Both of these receivers have sprinkled in a few flex worthy games the past few weeks, but they have also had ones where they shouldn’t even be on the roster. It seems like there isn’t room for both to go out there and perform, even with Smith-Schuster out. My money would be on Washington this game. Johnson may have had a big game the last time thee two teams met, but most of that came on one play where there was a busted coverage. I would say both are merely flex options at best, and being tethered to Mason Rudolph hasn’t been the best these past few weeks.
Bengals defense against Steelers: Rudolph hasn’t been that same quarterback that was introduced to the country when these teams met in Week 4. The ball barely hit the ground, and he made it look easy to run the ball. With this Steelers offense having almost no legitimate weapons, Cincinnati’s defense should be able to keep the score relatively reasonable as well as force a few turnovers.
Auden Tate, WR, Bengals: This is based on Tate actually being cleared to play as coaches have hinted at. Tate is a PPR flex option in deeper leagues. Tate consistently crosses the 50 yard receiving mark along with three to five catches a game (he has hit those numbers four out of his past five games). It has hurt his fantasy value that he hasn’t be able to get as involved near the end zone as you’d expect someone with his skill set to be, but if you play him, you have to hope he gets that second receiving touchdown of the season.
Just sit them
Ryan Finley, QB, Bengals: It isn’t a good matchup for Finley, and he just hasn’t been good enough to even think about playing against good matchups. It isn’t totally on Finley, but last week he was also inaccurate on more throws than you’d like to see. Just leave him on the waiver wire.
Mason Rudolph, QB, Steelers: Rudolph's ceiling is probably a couple of touchdowns with around 200 yards passing. His floor is a multi pick game with no touchdowns. The Bengals defense has shown some signs of life these past few weeks, and it shouldn’t be as easy for Rudolph to toss the ball around as it was in Week 4.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals: After catching his second touchdown of the season in Finley’s first start, Eifert inexplicably saw his role reduced again last week. It seemed like we had turned a corner with Eifert’s mysterious lack of playing time, but obviously we have not. It makes him far too much of a risk when at best he is a touchdown dependent play anyway.