Kickoff: Sunday, November 8 at 4:25 PM ET
Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Betting Odds: PIT -14, 42 Total via Oddsshark
Ben Roethlisberger (Sit, QB2)
Coming off of a 182/2 game against the Ravens, Ben Roethlisberger has been more of a QB2 the last three weeks than a QB1 and I don’t see that changing in a game the Steelers should control with their defense and run game. Big Ben started the year with 4 straight QB1 performances, but he hasn’t been needed with the level of play that the Steelers defense has been bringing. Their defense will probably outscore the quarterback in this one. There are better options in games that should be much closer and with much higher scoring.
James Conner (Start, RB1), Jaylen Samuels/Anthony McFarland/Benny Snell (Sit)
James Conner hasn’t scored single digits since Week 1 and a touchdown in five out of seven games. He has been as consistent as they come at a position decimated by injury and underperformance. After rattling off at least 14 points in every game but one and against much tougher defenses, Conner is scheduled to be the workhorse yet again in a game that I could see him scoring over 20 points as he did in Weeks 2 & 3. Early in the year owners and experts alike were singing the praises of Benny Snell to take over the job in Pittsburg, but he is now listed fourth on the depth chart and he, along with Jaylen Samuels and Anthony McFarland, are not recommended adds or starts as we do not know who is the true handcuff.
Wide Receivers/Tight End
JuJu Smith-Schuster (Start, WR2), Diontae Johnson (Start, WR2), Chase Claypool (Sit), James Washington (Sit), Eric Ebron (Start, TE2)
The Pittsburg wide receiving room has been a hard one to figure out as we have seen each of these guys have big weeks. Through all of that, we have only seen one get consistently peppered with targets when healthy and that is Diontae Johnson. Yes, he only got three targets last week, but it was against Baltimore who boasts a fantastic secondary and this was a game that was mostly handled by the Steelers defense. The volume will probably be lower than his 13 target average in his other healthy games, but Johnson should get enough looks to warrant WR2 consideration. JuJu Smith-Schuster has put together two solid weeks in a row, turning 22 targets into 16/152. He has a chance to score double digits again this week and should be looked at as an upside WR2, it just comes down to the volume that the Steelers offense is forced to throw. I would say his floor is lower than that of Johnson. Chase Claypool has been a solid play through much of the year, adding in some designed runs that have raised his floor in several weeks. This week, I think we see more of a Week 7 turnout where he failed to score much at all. The Steelers just will not be forced to throw enough to hold up three wide receivers plus a tight end. Eric Ebron has been solid with two weeks of double-digit scoring and should be viable at a position that is lacking. Even if he only gets 4-6 targets, that is more than you can count on from a lot of streamers right now. Start with confidence.
Cooper Rush/Garrett Gilbert (Sit)
The Ben Dinucci experiment went horribly, consistently being under pressure, and always ending up on his back. It almost looked like he was throwing it to the other team more than his own at times and narrowly missed having multiple interceptions and pick-sixes. Word out of Dallas on Wednesday is that either Cooper Rush or Garrett Gilbert will be starting. Yeah…no thank you. Neither of these guys is worth considering and the Pittsburg defense will be the top play of the week in fantasy and DFS. This could get ugly.
Ezekiel Elliot (Sit), Tony Pollard (Sit)
Zeke just keeps falling. After another week of terrible usage and output, Ezekiel Elliot is barely in Flex consideration this week in deep leagues, a sit here for standard-sized leagues. After totaling 73 yards on 20 touches last week and not scoring since Week 5, Zeke gets his toughest matchup yet in a game where the Steelers will be daring the Cowboys to throw. My prediction is that Zeke has his worst outcome of the year and I would honestly not blame anyone for sitting him this week. Zeke hasn’t scored double digits since Week 6 and hasn’t had an RB1 performance since Dak Prescott went down. Yes, this is a huge surprise, but this is where we are. You may not be able to sit him due to byes or injury issues, but if you can sell high on name value alone, I would.
Amari Cooper (Start, Flex), CeeDee Lamb (Sit), Michael Gallup (Sit), Dalton Schultz (Start, TE2)
After keeping up his production with Andy Dalton, we saw Amari Cooper only get one catch for five yards in Week 8. We should see an uptick in that production out of pure necessity. Even if he ends up with ten targets this week, his floor is a bench player and his ceiling is a borderline Flex/WR2. This firmly plants him in as a Flex play this week. CeeDee Lamb actually saw an uptick last week after having zero catches in Week 7, but ended Week 8 with 4/27 and tacked on 19 rush yards. His snap count was also way down, landing at under 50%. This will be a pass-heavy game for Dallas, but it hasn’t been amounting to much since Dak went down. He and Michael Gallup are sits until we see a steady quarterback and consistent chemistry with one or the other. Dalton Schultz totaled 11.6 PPR points as the dump-off man for DiNucci last week. We will see if this continues with a new quarterback, but for now, he is a TE2 play at a wasteland position.
-Matt Dean (@MattDeanQBList on Twitter, mdean8 on Reddit)