Kickoff: Sunday, September 19th at 1:00 PM ET
Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Betting Odds: PIT -5.5, 47 Total on Oddshark
Ben Roethlisberger (Sit)
After a bottom-five finish among starting quarterbacks last week, it’s hard to endorse Ben Roethlisberger as a legitimate QB1 candidate this weekend. We like his chances of having a bounce-back week against a much softer Las Vegas Raiders defense, but we’re tempering expectations. A favorable game script should offer the Pittsburgh Steelers plenty of opportunities to run the football in the second half, which caps the volume that an immobile 39-year-old veteran requires to become a QB1.
Najee Harris (Start, RB1), Benny Snell (Sit), Kalen Ballage (Sit)
Rookie Najee Harris should enjoy his breakout party at home this week against a Raiders run defense that coughed up 189 rushing yards last week, ranking dead last in the league. As a no-brainer Top 1o running back with overall RB1 upside this week, Harris is a must-start in every fantasy football league. Benny Snell and Kalen Ballage shouldn’t even be rostered as handcuffs in 12 team PPR leagues; keep them off of your rosters and away from your lineups.
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
Diontae Johnson (Start, WR2), Chase Claypool (Start, WR3), JuJu Smith-Schuster (Flex), Eric Ebron (Sit), Pat Freiermuth (Sit)
We expect Diontae Johnson to see upwards of ten targets before the game is out of reach; with that kind of volume, he should put up a solid WR2 stat line. Meanwhile, we like the odds of Chase Claypool using his size and strength to bully Trayvon Mullen in the red zone for at least one touchdown. JuJu Smith-Schuster finished as the WR64 last week, but we think he makes enough noise against slot corner Nate Hobbs to become fantasy relevant, unlike much of last season.
We don’t recommend rostering Eric Ebron or Pat Freiermuth in 12 team redraft leagues. We understand the limited appeal of each: Ebron has finished as a Top 15 tight end in five of his last six seasons, the lone exception being 2019 when he played in only 11 games due to injury. Rookie tight ends rarely exceed expectations, so while we’re all-in on Kyle Pitts, we don’t feel the same way about Freiermuth.
Las Vegas Raiders
Derek Carr (Sit)
After catching fire in the second half against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football, we got all kinds of excited for David Carr‘s Week 2 prospects…but after remembering that he’ll face a top-shelf Steelers defense on a short week, our enthusiasm was instantly curbed. While we don’t deny his Superflex appeal, we can’t endorse Carr as a starting option in regular 12 team, 1 QB leagues.
Josh Jacobs (Start, RB2), Kenyan Drake (Sit)
After a late appearance on the injury report (illness) last week, Josh Jacobs laced ’em up and finished as the RB14 overall in Week 1, thanks to a pair of touchdowns. We’ve been fooled by Kenyan Drake before, but we’re stronger and wiser now, and see him for the inferior rusher that he is. However, Drake was fairly effective out of the backfield, catching all five of his targets for 59 yards. We like Jacobs as a borderline RB2 this week in a tough matchup, and we’re choosing to sit Drake, wherever possible.
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
Bryan Edwards (Start, Flex), Henry Ruggs (Sit), Hunter Renfrow (Sit), Zay Jones (Sit), Darren Waller (Start)
Among skill position players, only Darren Waller (81) played more snaps than Bryan Edwards (57) or Henry Ruggs (56) last week. This tells us a few important things about Raiders receivers: first, Waller is a WR1 who plays tight end. Second, Edwards and Ruggs are seeing the field enough to command just enough target volume to make them fantasy-relevant.
Given the projected WR/CB matchups. I think Edwards profiles as the more consistent option in PPR leagues, a format that is generally far more kind to Hunter Renfrow than it is to Zay Jones. Renfrow has an outside shot at a flex-worthy day against underwhelming slot corner Tre Norwood, but we’re recommending neither him nor Jones in lineups this week.