What We Saw: Week 5

Alvin Kamara looked like the Alvin Kamara we all know and love

Broncos @ Steelers

Final Score: Steelers 27, Broncos 19

Writer: Josh Kurzer (@jkurzer52 on Twitter, jk303030 on Reddit)


This was the best we’ve seen the Pittsburgh Steelers look since their Week 1 win in Buffalo. Pittsburgh controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and had their way moving the ball down the field on offense. Although the game was competitive through three quarters, Pittsburgh did not have to sweat much throughout. The Steelers never trailed in this game and led by seven or more points for all but six minutes of action. Juju Smith-Schuster left the game with a shoulder injury in the second quarter and did not return, but Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson stepped up to fill the void created by the injury. Pittsburgh finished the game with 391 total yards of offense to Denver’s 374. The Broncos’ offense was the stronger side of the team in this game, but it did not have enough firepower to keep up with the (yes) big plays of the Steeler offense.


Denver Broncos




Teddy Bridgewater: 24/38, 288 yards, 2 TD, INT, 2 sacks | 1 carry, 11 yards


Bridgewater threw for 288 yards on Sunday, his second-best game through the air this season. With wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler out with injuries, Bridgewater looked for Tim Patrick and Cortland Sutton early and often, targeting them nine and eleven times, respectively. Denver threw a season-high 38 passes, mostly because of being forced into a negative game script. This is the ideal Teddy Bridgewater game for the few who streamed him against a tough Pittsburgh defense, and performances like this represent his approximate ceiling. 



Running Backs


Javonte Williams: 8 carries, 61 yards | 3 targets, 3 receptions, 25 yards

Melvin Gordon III: 9 carries, 34 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 9 yards


Despite the box score, there is still not much to separate Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon III in Denver’s backfield. Much like Gordon’s long run against the Giants in Week 1, Williams skewed his stat line with a 49-yard run in the second quarter. Gordon has six more carries than Williams this season, and the two are averaging a nearly identical 4.7 and 4.6 yards per carry respectively. I believe Williams will eventually establish himself as the better back, but it is hard to trust either him or Gordon as fantasy starters in the long term.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Cortland Sutton: 11 targets, 7 receptions, 120 yards, TD

Tim Patrick: 9 targets, 7 receptions, 89 yards

Kendall Hinton: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 25 yards, TD

Noah Fant: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 20 yards


Denver needed Sutton and Patrick to step up in the wake of Hamler and Jeudy’s absences, and they both had big-time performances to keep the Broncos in the game. Against a tough Steelers defense, the Broncos’ young receivers more than looked like they belonged. Sutton stretched the field for the Denver offense, averaging 17.1 yards per reception. Sutton’s biggest play came in garbage time, a 39-yard touchdown reception to make it a 27-19 game. Kendall Hinton scored the other touchdown for Denver and had two receptions on the day. It was a disappointing performance from Noah Fant, who was expected to take some of the targets left behind by Jeudy and Hamler.


Pittsburgh Steelers




Ben Roethlisberger 15/25, 253 yards, 2 TD, 1 sack, 1 fumble | 1 carry, -1 yard


Big Ben silenced the haters with a vintage performance against a fierce Denver pass rush. There were serious questions about Roethlisberger’s ability to lead the Pittsburgh offense after the team lost its third straight game last week, and he answered those questions with a 50-yard touchdown pass to Diontae Johnson on the sixth play from scrimmage.



That touchdown was scored less than three minutes into the game, and the Steelers never looked back. Roethlisberger grabbed his shoulder after getting hit and losing a fumble in the first quarter but never left the game. When Smith-Schuster left the game in the second quarter, Chase Claypool became Roethlisberger’s number one receiver, finishing the game with 130 yards and a touchdown.


Running Backs


Najee Harris: 23 carries, 122 yards, TD | 5 targets, 2 receptions, 20 yards

Benny Snell: 5 carries, 20 yards

Kalen Ballage: 4 carries, 0 yards


There is no way around it, Pittsburgh’s first-round pick Najee Harris is an absolute horse. Harris is as explosive as he is shifty and patient, waiting for holes to open and hitting them with authority. His 23 carries set a new career-high, and his success on the ground allowed the passing game to open up. A positive game script enabled Pittsburgh to get into their bread and butter with Harris leading the way. The rookie from Alabama is a set-and-forget start, and his ceiling will depend on the Steelers’ success as a team. If  Pittsburgh is a competitive football team that is able to play how they want to, Harris can be a league winner. And even if the Steelers disappoint, he can take fantasy teams a long way.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Chase Claypool: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 130 yards, TD

Diontae Johnson: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 72 yards, TD

Zach Gentry: 2 targets, 1 reception, 13 yards

Eric Ebron: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 10 yards

Pat Freiermuth: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 7 yards

Ray-Ray McCloud: 2 targets, 1 reception, 1 yard


After Smith-Schuster exited the game with a shoulder injury, Roethlisberger turned to Claypool through the air. Claypool ended up with a huge afternoon, coming up with 5 catches for 130 yards and a touchdown.



His highlight came in the second quarter, where he broke free for 59 yards on a slant over the middle to set the Steelers up in the red zone.



But before that, Diontae Johnson got it started for the Steelers on the receiving end of a 50-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger. It was reported that Smith-Schuster was in the hospital after the game, so his status is seemingly up in the air. If he is to miss time, both Claypool and Johnson would get a slight bump. But the real variable in this offense is still Roethlisberger. If he is still a starting-caliber quarterback, Claypool would have a WR2 ceiling. If not, he can be downgraded to a flex/WR3.


— Josh Kurzer (@jkurzer52 on Twitter, jk303030 on Reddit)

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