Kickoff: Sunday, October 1st 1:00 PM ET
Location: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
Betting Odds: PIT -3, 41 total via PFF.com
Writer: Matthew Cava (@cavaM_ on Twitter/X)
Kenny Pickett (Sit)
Kenny Pickett bounced back against the Raiders in Week 3 from a down Week 2. In the win on Sunday night against the Raiders, Pickett completed 16 of 28 attempts for 235 yards and two touchdowns. He took care of the ball too, which he wasn’t able to do in the first two games of the season. You’ll need to see some consistent play moving forward before considering him to be a viable streaming option. This week, he’s set to face a Texans defense that just held the Jaguars offense in check, having forced Trevor Lawrence into 40 attempts, which led to just 27 completions for 279 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.
Najee Harris (Sit), Jaylen Warren (Start, FLEX)
There is a theme here with the Pittsburgh backfield. We’ve been waiting on the Jaylen Warren breakout, considering Najee Harris has been very lackluster (just as he was to start the 2022 season). The issue is, the Pittsburgh offense is a very middling bunch. It’s a guessing game on the weekly as to whether or not Warren will finally be ‘the guy’. Through three (PPR) games this season, Warren has outscored Harris in each one. He is surely playing himself into FLEX territory. Harris has averaged just 5.7 points in full-PPR formats, which is not inviting in the slightest. Warren’s target share advantage is the sell to start him over Harris.
Wide Receivers/Tight End
George Pickens (Start, FLEX), Calvin Austin III (Sit), Allen Robinson (Sit), Pat Freiermuth (Start, TE2)
George Pickens has been the preferred target for Pickett since Diontae Johnson went on IR, and he again finished as the Steelers’ lead receiver against the Raiders, though not by much. He caught four of six targets for 75 scoreless yards, whereas Calvin Austin III caught two of six targets for 72 yards and a touchdown. Austin III has had his snap count increase, but Pickens is still the Steelers WR you can start as a FLEX.
Tight end Pat Freiermuth also caught a touchdown against Las Vegas, and it surely saved his fantasy day otherwise; three receptions on four targets for 41 yards. ‘Muth is the number two option for Pickett and will remain on the TE2 radar.
C.J. Stroud (Sit)
C.J. Stroud is having quite the start to his rookie campaign. Through three games, he holds a 4:0 TD-to-interception ratio, completing 78 of 121 attempts for 906 yards. In Week 3, he led the charge to upset the division-rival Jaguars. It’s been an impressive three-game stretch, and now Stroud is set to face a Steelers defense that forced Jimmy Garoppolo into throwing three interceptions on Sunday night; albeit he was dealing with a head injury. Stroud could be playing himself into an eventual streaming discussion if he keeps up the positive, mistake-free football for a young offense.
Dameon Pierce (Start, RB2), Devin Singletary (Sit)
Another week, another 31-yard game on the ground for Dameon Pierce, although this time, he was able to find the end zone. It’s been a 2023 so far for the second-year back, who finds himself in a pass-first offense. Through three games, Pierce is averaging just 13.3 carries and 33.3 yards on the ground. Backup Devin Singletary turned nine carries of his own into 41 yards against Jacksonville, and time will tell if he is going to continue to encroach on Pierce’s touches. For now, consider Pierce an RB2, though his task won’t be any easier this week against a Pittsburgh defense that held Josh Jacobs to just 62 scoreless yards on 17 carries.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Nico Collins (Start, FLEX), Tank Dell (Start, FLEX), Dalton Schultz (Sit)
When speaking to the fact that the Texans are a pass-first offense, it’s because of the emergence of Nico Collins and rookie Tank Dell. Collins, with the team since 2021, posted back-to-back strong games to kick off the season, but took a backseat last week to Dell against the Jags. He was targeted just three times to Dell’s seven and caught two of those looks for 34 yards. It was Dell who went off, catching five passes for 145 yards and a touchdown. Dell should continue to eat into the target share, and both receivers are on the FLEX trajectory this week.
Free agent TE Dalton Schultz had a stinker against the Jaguars, catching one of three targets for nine yards. Brevin Jordan caught both of his targets for 13 yards but did score. Regardless of that, right now, Schultz can be left on your bench if you are still rostering him.