Kickoff: Thursday, September 22nd, at 8:15 PM EST
Location: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio
Betting Odds: PIT +5, 38.5 total via Oddsshark
Network: Prime Video
Writer: Matthew Cava (@cavaM_ Twitter & Reddit)
Mitch Trubisky (Sit)
In typical fashion, Mitch Trubisky posted another mediocre box score in Week 2’s loss against the Patriots. He completed 21 of 33 attempts for 168 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. This finish was similar to his Week 1 performance, which speaks to the quarterback he is. Trubisky will do enough to stay afloat, but not enough to take this offense to the next level. He’s set to face the Browns in Week 3 on a short week, and he can be kept on the wire in single-QB leagues.
Najee Harris (Start, RB2)
Injuries aside – because he had no designation tag entering Week 2 – Najee Harris is not providing a sound ROI for fantasy owners through the first two weeks of the season. His fantasy day was saved against the Patriots last week due to his five receptions, as he only had 49 rushing yards on the day off 15 carries. Harris may continue to feel the burden of Trubisky being under center, but you’ll continue to start him on a weekly basis. You should be tempering expectations, and consider Harris a volume-based RB2 against Cleveland.
Wide Receivers/Tight End
Diontae Johnson (Start, WR3), Chase Claypool (Sit), George Pickens (Sit), Pat Freiermuth (Start, TE1)
Even with Trubisky throwing him the ball, Diontae Johnson is making the most of his situation. Through the first two games, playing through the nagging shoulder injury, he has 13 receptions for 112 yards on 22 total targets, but no touchdowns to show for it. Fantasy owners had to know what they were getting into with Johnson given his QB situation, and thus he should be considered a WR3 on the week. The likes of Chase Claypool and rookie George Pickens, if even rostered, can be left on your bench. Pat Freiermuth hasn’t seen less than seven targets through two games this season and secured his first touchdown of the year against New England. With his position being so thin, the tight end can be started, but consider him a touchdown-dependent TE1 on the week.
Jacoby Brissett (Sit)
Of course, Jacoby Brissett had no issue carving up the Jets defense last week, completing 22 of 27 attempts for 229 yards, a touchdown, and a game-ending interception. The Jets had no business winning that game, but they also had no business letting Brissett dissect them the way he did. Even so, the Steelers should be able to keep him in check, and it’s still an easy decision to fade starting Brissett in single-QB leagues.
Nick Chubb (Start, RB1), Kareem Hunt (Start, RB2)
As has been the case, both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are the two Cleveland skill players who are auto-starts each and every week. Chubb had three rushing touchdowns and totaled 87 yards on 17 carries against the Jets. Hunt had a down day to his standards, turning 13 carries into 58 yards, with just two receptions for 16 yards. Look for Hunt to bounce-back, and Chubb to continue his strong start to the season against the T.J. Watt-less Steelers. Before an ankle injury hit Patriots’ Damien Harris, he turned 15 carries into 71 yards and a touchdown against Pittsburgh last week.
Wide Receivers/Tight End
Amari Cooper (Start,WR3), Donovan Peoples-Jones (Sit), David Njoku (Sit), Harrison Bryant (Sit)
Welcome to Cleveland, Amari Cooper. Cooper is coming off a 10-target, 9-reception game against the Jets, good for 101 yards and a touchdown. He can certainly be started this week, but it’s hard to trust him as more than a WR3. Unlike his fellow WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, who laid a goose egg against New York and can be left riding the pine. Both tight ends David Njoku and Harrison Bryant are below-average options for the position and are not relative fantasy starts in any league.