Kickoff: Sunday, December 5th at 4:25PM ET
Location: Heinze Field, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
Betting Odds: Pitt +3.5, 44 total via Oddsshark
Lamar Jackson (Start, low-end QB1)
Lamar Jackson is coming off one of, if not his worst game a pro ever. He threw 4 interceptions against the Browns in Week 12. It was a shock, to say the least for a quarterback who is usually in the top 10 going against a bottom 10 pass defense. Jackson gets a week to right the ship before he faced Cleveland again in Week 14. He draws the Pittsburg Steelers defense that is ranked 15th best by CBS in giving up points to the quarterback. Lamar was able to salvage his fantasy day in Week 12 with his rushing numbers. He failed to run into the endzone but still had 68 yards on the ground. It’s hard to bench a quarterback like Lamar who has rushing upside but I have him right on the cusp of starting this week. I don’t think you have a better option and I doubt finding one on the waiver will make you excited so you will be rolling Lamar out there. In his last game against the Steelers in Week 8 of 2020 Lamar put up 182 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. He also had 16 rushing attempts for 65 yards. I expect similar numbers this week.
Devonta Freeman (Start, low-end RB2), Latavius Murray (Sit, low-end Flex)
Who would have thought going into Week 13 of 2021 we would be talking about Devonta Freeman and Latavius Murray. It’s been a wild ride of injuries and players in and out for the Ravens backfield but now it seems to have stabilized. When Murray returned from an injury in Week 11 there was some concern that he could work his way back into the lead dog role and supplant Freeman. What we have seen over the past two weeks is the opposite. Freeman has continued to lead the team in carries. He has had 16 carries in both Weeks 11 and 12. Murray has only received 10 and eight respectively. Neither of them has been super involved in the passing game but Freeman has had a history of getting passing work. Freeman did outpace Murray in snaps with 40 compared to 36 in Week 12. The increase in snaps for Murry does eat into some of Freeman’s value which isn’t great. I still think you can role out Freeman like it’s 2017 all over again. Murray is a low-end flex play if you are desperate at running back
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Marquise Brown (Start, WR2), Rashod Bateman (Start, Flex), Sammy Watkins (Sit), Mark Andrews (Start) Devin Duvernay (Sit)
The passing attack for Baltimore has been slowed recently. If Lamar is going to get back to his MVP and QB1 ways he will need the help from his receivers. Marquise “Hollywood” Brown has been the leading man for the team this year. He has been playing on close to 70% of the Ravens snaps over the season. He has 6 receiving touchdowns on the year but none in the last three games he has played. What’s encouraging about Browns is not only can he stretch the field he gets a lot of screens in the game which allows him to use his speed after the catch. The Ravens also have rookie Rashod Bateman who has been coming on lately. Since Week 9 he has had 26 targets. He also has failed to score in that time frame but he has put up three games this season of over 50 yards. He has some boom potential and is a flashy rookie that fantasy owners have been excited about. In a matchup that should provide some points to the wide receiver position, he is worth a flex play. After Brown and Bateman there is former Chiefs wideout Sammy Watkins and the alliterative Devin Duvernay. I don’t think either is worth starting. Devernay is a watch candidate for me. If there is an injury to someone in front of him he could see increased work. He matched the snap percentage of both Watkins and Bateman in Week 12.
Mark Andrews has finally delivered on the tight-end hype he has been getting over the years. He has 38 targets over the past 4 games and has 5 touchdowns on the season. He certainly seems to be the number 2 and in some games the first target for Jackson. He’s locked into your lineup for this week and probably the rest of the season.
Ben Roethlisberger (Sit, QB2)
Week 11 things looked really bright and sunny for Ben Roethlisberger. He had a season-high three touchdowns, no interceptions, and 273 yards. Week 12 was back to old busted Big Ben. He had 263 yards, a score, and two interceptions. Anyone who has watched the Steelers this year has seen that almost 40-year-old quarterback just doesn’t have it much anymore. He comes into a divisional matchup in Week 13 against the Ravens who look to continue their push towards the playoffs. CBS has the Ravens ranked 16th in giving up points to the quarterback position. There is some hope that Big ben can salvage a good fantasy day but most owners will be looking for better options this week. Injuries around Ben haven’t helped him at all this year and they don’t seem to be getting better.
Najee Harris (Start, RB1)
It’s rare to see a rookie running back excel in both the run game and the passing game. That’s what Najee Harris has done this year. He is currently 9th in the league in rushing yards and 5th in attempts. He does only have five rushing touchdowns on the season but his usage and yardage are making him a locked-in starter. Harris is also been really good in the passing game. He has 52 receptions on 67 targets and two receiving touchdowns. Behind Harris is a combo of Benny Snell, Anthony McFarland, and Kalen Ballage. None of them have seen over 20% of the team’s snaps in a given week except for Snell back in Week 5 who was right at 20% and McFarland saw 19% last week. With all the running back injuries happening Harris is a top-5 back right now and could easily catapult into the top spot with a multi-touchdown week.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
Diontae Johnson (Start, WR1), Chase Claypool (Start, WR3), James Washington (Sit), Pat Freiermuth(Start)
There were some questions heading into this season as to whom would be the primary target for the Pittsburg passing offense. It is pretty clear now. With Juju Smith-Schuster going down with an injury it has been the Diontae Johnson show. He has double-digit targets in eight out of the 10 games this season. He has only four touchdowns on the season but has only been under 50 yards once. His volume makes him a top-end receiver every week. Chase Claypool has matched Johnson in snap percentage most weeks which provided a great opportunity for him. He has yet to capitalize on that only having one touchdown on the year. His lack of production lowers his value but he still has the chance to put up huge fantasy numbers every week.
Rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth has been a bright spot on the team this season. He has 6 touchdowns on the year and is catching 75.5% of his passes. He is second on the team in red-zone targets with 15, trailing Johnson who has 19, and beating Harris and Claypool at 11 each. He is worth starting every week going forward. Other receiving options in the Steel City include James Washington, Anthony Miller, and Zach Gentry. None of them have shown much this season. Washington is a name to monitor. He is playing on roughly 40% of the team’s snaps and he has six red-zone targets.
– Dustin Ludke (Dunit13dl on Reddit)