Kickoff: Sunday, October 11th at 1:00 PM ET
Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
Betting Odds: PIT -7, 44 Total via Oddsshark
Carson Wentz (Sit)
Carson Wentz looked a bit better last week against the 49ers, but he still has been one of the worst QBs in the NFL this season. Wentz ranks 31st in Ben Baldwin’s (of the Athletic) composite QB stat. Wentz also has a minus 5.6 CPOE, which is third to last in the NFL. He simply has been playing poorly and he does not have any help at WR right now. He has buoyed his fantasy output with some rushing points but until Wentz gets some receivers back from injury, you can’t start him (especially against the Steelers).
Miles Sanders (Start, RB2)
Miles Sanders has been used like a bellcow RB, which the Eagles coaching staff had been saying all offseason. His snap rate has been above 75% for each game he has played so far this year. They are also using him effectively. His stacked box percentage at 1.96% (second-lowest in the NFL per NextGenStats) and he has run the sixth most routes among RBs (with a missed game). The Eagles offensive as a whole is banged up, including the offensive line, which has been holding him back a bit. But with this usage, a big game is incoming. The Steelers present a tough matchup for Sanders to really pop, but start him anyway knowing he has the workload you want.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Zach Ertz (Start, TE1), Greg Ward? (Sit, Deep Flex)
I mean sheesh, is there anyone left in the WR room. The Eagles front office went out of their way to add to the WR room this offseason and they still are left with Greg Ward as their top receiver. DeSean Jackson may be back from his hamstring injury but there have been no updates as of writing this, so I am going with him still being out. Zach Ertz has been a bit disappointing (like the whole offense) but is still the leader in routes run among TE and he is the best pass-catcher left standing.
Ben Roethlisberger (Start)
Ben Roethlisberger has been a fringe QB1 to QB2 each game this season and is also one this week. The Eagles defense has been a bit below average defending the pass, but no QBs have had great fantasy performances against them yet either. With the Steelers defense likely containing the Eagles decimated offense, I can see the Steelers taking it a bit easy on offense. Roethlisberger is a fine start but shouldn’t be treated as a top option this week.
James Conner (Start, RB2)
If you looked up “volume-based RB2” in the dictionary, you’d find a picture of James Conner. And that’s not a bad thing! Especially with all the injuries so far this year. Conner has the luxury of playing with a strong defense, which usually puts him in the perfect game scripts. He doesn’t have a soft matchup like his last two games, but Conner should perform comfortably as an RB2 this week, and maybe even as a low RB1. The worries of Benny Snell taking over this backfield can be put to rest.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
JuJu Smith-Schuster (Start, WR2), Diontae Johnson (Start, Flex), Chase Claypool (Sit), Eric Ebron (Streamer)
JuJu Smith-Schuster has been getting out-targeted by Diontae Johnson so far this year. Smith-Schuster also has failed to clear 70 yards in a game so far. He has been saved by touchdowns and that shouldn’t make fantasy owners feel too great. Most of the love for Smith-Schuster heading into the season was his potential volume and if Johnson, who is a better route runner and more explosive player, now has that advantage too, we may have a problem. Johnson is on track to return from the concussion protocol this week. While he is climbing to the top of the Steelers’ passing game food chain, the matchup with Darius Slay (one of the few corners who follows receivers) downgrades him a bit for this week. Chase Claypool ran the most routes of his young career last week once Johnson was out of the game. The routes will drop again, but he may now have a firm claim on the number three WR role in the offense. He is a solid bench stash for now. The Eagles have allowed five touchdowns to TEs this year. That is enough to want to stream Eric Ebron this week if you have an injured TE or bye week. It is also nice to see his targets rise each week.
-Frank Costanzo (@FrankQBList on Twitter, Zzzonked92 on Reddit)