Steelers @ Bills
The Bills proved on Sunday night that they are a legitimate AFC playoff contender, taking down the Steelers 26-15 on a chilly, snowy night in Buffalo. Both offenses struggled to run the ball effectively and both also had multiple turnovers, but ultimately QB Josh Allen and WR Stefon Diggs were too much for Pittsburgh’s injury-laden defense to contain. The Steelers’ pass-catchers’ struggles with dropped passes continued, especially for WR Diontae Johnson – who had multiple drops on the Steelers’ first possession. While neither offense was clicking on Sunday night, who did enough to help out your fantasy team the most? Let’s dive into what we saw:
Ben Roethlisberger: 21/37, 187 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 1 sack
It was a frustrating night for QB Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ offense on Sunday. The Steelers were just 1/10 on third downs and had difficulty sustaining drives with their ineffective running game, so Buffalo was able to key in on Roethlisberger and force his 3rd-lowest fantasy output of the season. Sunday night was Roethlisberger’s 4th consecutive game with at least one INT and just his second multi-INT game of the year – both of which were costly for Pittsburgh. His first was a pick-six with less than a minute left in the first half (which would ultimately put the Bills ahead for good), and his second came about halfway through the 4th quarter and allowed Buffalo to run out the clock. Big Ben owners can look ahead to a promising matchup against Cincinnati in Week 15.
Jaylen Samuels: 4 carries, 15 yards | 4 targets, 3 receptions, 18 yards
Benny Snell: 3 carries, 14 yards
James Conner: 10 carries, 18 yards
It was a tough night for Pittsburgh’s RBs against Buffalo on Sunday night. The Steelers were glad to get RB James Conner activated from the Covid/Reserve list, but he failed to get much going against the Bills’ defense. If you were depending on a solid outing from Conner in your playoff matchup this week, you might find yourself in a position where you are now looking forward to next season. It was RB Jaylen Samuels who paced the RB group in total yardage and snap percentage, but with Pittsburgh playing from behind for the entire second half, the run game wasn’t much of a factor. This group will look to bounce back next week against a soft Cincinnati run defense, but it will be tough to trust any of them after their recent poor performances.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
JuJu Smith-Schuster: 7 targets, 6 receptions, 55 yards, 1 TD
James Washington: 6 targets, 3 receptions, 29 yards, 1 TD
Diontae Johnson: 7 targets, 4 receptions, 40 yards
Chase Claypool: 6 targets, 3 receptions, 15 yards
Eric Ebron: 5 targets, 2 receptions, 30 yards
There have been lots of discussions lately over the Steelers’ WRs issues with dropped passes. Head coach Mike Tomlin threatened to bench players with drop issues earlier this week, and he made good on his promise Sunday night. WR Diontae Johnson had two ugly drops early in the first quarter and while he wasn’t ‘benched,’ he went on to finish with just a 47% snap share – his lowest this season in a game he didn’t leave early due to injury. WR James Washington on the other hand finished with an 81% snap share, his highest of the season. While Johnson ultimately saw more targets and receptions than Washington, it was Washington who found the end-zone for the Steelers on Sunday night. WR JuJu Smith-Schuster also found the end-zone late against the Bills – his 7th of the season. JuJu’s performances have been up-and-down over the second half of the fantasy season, but he should be solidly reliable as a WR2 from here on out.
— That Blitz Guy (@ThatBlitzGuy) December 14, 2020
Josh Allen: 24/43, 238 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 1 sack | 6 carries, 28 yards
While Buffalo QB Josh Allen led the Bills to a win against the Steelers on Sunday night, he didn’t have an outstanding fantasy performance in the process. Allen looked great while targeting WR Stefon Diggs (10/14, 130 yards), and not so great while targeting everyone else (14/29, 108 yards). Allen threw an interception that wobbled as his arm was hit while he threw, but otherwise did a good job protecting the football. If Allen gave you a dud in your fantasy playoffs this week, hopefully, you’re still in contention, and hopefully, Allen can produce more next week against a softer Denver secondary.
Devin Singletary: 7 carries, 32 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 2 yards
Zack Moss: 13 carries, 43 yards | 1 target
It was a tough night on the ground for Buffalo’s RB group. Neither Devin Singletary or Zack Moss provided much fantasy value on the night, and with Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs being the most effective combo, most of the Bills’ rushing success came on the final drive to run out the clock. Both Singletary and Moss broke off 10+ yard runs, but it was the 4th straight game where neither of them managed to find the end zone. If you manage either of these backs, it’s tough to trust them over the rest of the fantasy playoffs – even though they face favorable matchups over the next couple of weeks against the Broncos and Patriots.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Stefon Diggs: 14 targets, 10 receptions, 130 yards, 1 TD | 1 carry, 1 yard
Gabriel Davis: 8 targets, 3 receptions, 19 yards, 1 TD
Cole Beasley: 10 targets, 5 receptions, 41 yards
Dawson Knox: 7 targets, 4 receptions, 34 yards
With key injuries to Pittsburgh’s secondary in Week 14, the Steelers had no answer for WR Stefon Diggs on Sunday night. Diggs torched the Steelers for his second-highest fantasy performance of the entire season – likely cementing his place as a WR1 when all is said and done. Diggs was able to get open from anywhere on the field and absolutely had his way with the Steelers’ secondary – including his 19-yard TD on a catch-and-run early in the 3rd quarter. Diggs has been terrific in his first season in Buffalo and has provided his managers with great value on his 4.08 ADP, but he does have tough playoff matchups over the next couple of weeks. WR Cole Beasley had a much quieter night against Pittsburgh after his huge performance last week against San Francisco. Diggs can be considered a WR1 and Beasley a WR2 throughout the rest of the fantasy playoffs, but other Bills’ pass-catchers should be avoided if possible.
ALLEN TO DIGGS! The @BuffaloBills extend their lead to 16-7!
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) December 14, 2020
— Corey Saucier (@Deputy_Commish on Twitter, LightsKamaraAction on Reddit)