On Thursday morning the NFL announced that the Week 4 Steelers – Titans game will be rescheduled to later in the season, due to multiple positive Covid-19 tests on the Titans. This means the Steelers and Titans will take their bye weeks in Week 4 instead of later in the season.
Kickoff: To Be Determined
Location: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN
Betting Odds: TEN -1.5, 47.5 total via Oddsshark
Ben Roethlisberger (Start, QB1)
Last week Ben Roethlisberger finished just outside the weekly Top 12 quarterbacks but owners should feel good about firing him up yet again. The Titans defense has allowed three passing touchdowns in back-to-back weeks. Tennessee has not been allowed into their facility all week, which means they will have almost no practice time to prepare for this Steelers offense. This is a situation that has never happened in the NFL, and it is hard to imagine that the advantage won’t go to the veteran signal-caller. Big Ben is a low-end QB1 this week, with upside.
James Conner (Start, RB1), Benny Snell Jr. (Sit)
After a shaky Week 1, when he was in and out of the lineup with an injury, James Conner has taken control of the Steelers backfield. He has seen 72% of the team’s snaps and 34 carries, to Benny Snell‘s ten. Snell is a nice handcuff if you have Conner, he will be the direct replacement should he suffer an injury. Until then Conner is a low-end RB1 against this Titans team who is allowing 22.7 fantasy points to the position.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
JuJu Smith-Schuster (Start, WR1), Diontae Johnson (Start, Flex, Check Status), Chase Claypool (Sit, Flex, Check Status), Eric Ebron (Start, TE2)
The past two weeks the Titans have allowed more than 200 yards receiving to receivers, including a torching by Justin Jefferson. JuJu Smith-Schuster should feast against this defense and could score multiple times. Rookie Chase Claypool could also be a sneaky flex option this week should Diontae Johnson miss time with injury. Johnson left the game early last week and is in the concussion protocol. That means we won’t hear anything about his status until Friday afternoon at the earliest. When Johnson left, Claypool slid right into those snaps but the Steelers worked the slot more than the outside. This week however expect them to test this soft titans defense with deep shots to Claypool. Likewise, should Johnson play, he is a nice flex option.
The Titans have given up a touchdown to tight ends in each of their first three games. He is a good streaming option this week with hopes he can keep up this streak.
Ryan Tannehill (Sit)
The Steelers are already a difficult team on opposing quarterbacks but a handful of indicators should steer managers away from starting Ryan Tannehill. First, the Steelers have forced four interceptions and thrive on the big play. Tannehill has been intercepted just once but he has thrown six other off-target passes that could have been intercepted. That luck may not hold this week against this aggressive defense. Second, Tannehill has faced pressure on just 27% of this pass attempts and that number is unlikely to hold this week. Pittsburgh leads the league in both pressure and blitz rate, and Tannehill will have trouble adjusting this week.
Derrick Henry (Start, RB1)
Three games in and Derrick Henry leads the league in carries (82) and yards (319). He is also playing in over 90% of the team’s offensive snaps and faces no competition in this backfield. Henry is even playing passing downs, and while he has just seven targets, the team seems resigned to keeping him on the field at all times. The Steelers are a tough matchup for Henry, allowing the third-lowest points to the position, but the volume Henry is expected to receive outweighs the risk. With limited practice time, the Titans may rely on Henry more this week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Corey Davis (Start, Flex), Adam Humphries (Sit), Kalif Raymond (Sit), Jonnu Smith (Start, TE1)
The Titans are a lower volume passing attack, but they have also been a conservative one early in the year. Tannehill has attempted just three passes that traveled more than 20+ yards in the air, two of them to Kalif Raymond. With so little volume we cannot recommend Raymond but against this tough defense, we also should be cautious about starting any Titans receivers. The Steelers are one of the toughest matchups a receiver can face, and without practice time the risk is too great for Adam Humphries. Corey Davis has been a nice surprise early this season and could squeak out a flex performance but be cautious and sit him if you have a better option. Jonnu Smith is commanding a 20.6% target share and is the overall TE2. He is in the middle of his breakout season. The Steelers will be a difficult matchup but you cannot sit him right now.
-Marc Salazar (@dingwog on Twitter)