Steelers Offense Firing on All Cylinders
Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers absolutely mauled the San Francisco 49ers. It was a dominant performance from start to finish that saw him complete 21-of-27 passes for 369 yards and three touchdowns with a pair of two-point conversions. Fantasy owners who took him ahead of Drew Brees and Peyton Manning are really liking that decision right now.
Antonio Brown led all Steelers receivers (what's new right?) catching 9-of-11 targets for 195 yards and a touchdown. He has now started the season with 18 catches for 328 yards and two touchdowns. Last year Brown caught 129 passes for 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns. This year he is on pace to catch 144 passes for 2,624 yards and 16 touchdowns. Brown needs to average 120 receiving yards per game for the rest of the season to finish the year with over 2,000 receiving yards. Crazier things have happened.
[caption id="attachment_98239" align="alignright" width="382"] Ben Roethlisberger has the Pittsburgh offense running like a well oiled machine. Photo Credit: Keith Allison[/caption]
This offense has been good with DeAngelo Williams starting at running back. It's about to get way better when Le'Veon Bell returns from suspension next week. His ability as both a runner and pass-catcher is going to actually help Brown because of the attention he demands from opposing linebackers and safeties.
Darrius Heyward-Bey has outperformed Markus Wheaton in what should be viewed as the battle for the number three receiver. Martavis Bryant returns from his suspension in two weeks and should immediately slide into a significant role. This offense is scary good and is going to get better.
Another interesting tidbit about Pittsburgh. They have scored nine touchdowns so far this season, and have gone for the two-point conversion four times already. This is something to keep an eye on because it adds even more Fantasy value to what is already an offensive juggernaut.
Heading into this week, Roddy White was held without a catch in a game just once; it happened to be his second career game in 2005. If there is one thing White has been throughout his career it’s dependable, and it's taken just two games of the 2015 season to remove that label from the 11th year player. His lack of production was picked up by Leonard Hankerson, who hauled in six passes for 77 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets. White got just one target on the afternoon. Matt Ryan attempted 28 passes to wide receivers, 26 went to Hankerson and Julio Jones. Sure, White had a respectable game last week, catching four passes for 84 yards. But in this game, being ahead of the curve is what wins championships. White was an afterthought in Atlanta's come from behind win, in which the Falcons were behind for most of the game. As things stand, he doesn't belong anywhere near a Fantasy lineup.
We all know Jeremy Hill is a good running back. We also know good running backs can have bad days. Hill offered us one on Sunday; he lost two fumbles and was ultimately benched in favor of Giovani Bernard. The problem for Hill is that Bernard went off, racking up 139 total yards on 23 touches. Bernard is arguably the best backup running back in the league, so his strong performance with the extra work likely means he gets some additional touches in the coming weeks. Hill was a no-brainer RB1, and even after this he is still worth starting on a weekly basis. He now, however, gets a downgrade that makes him a low-end RB1/high-end RB2. A few good games will undoubtedly put him back in the good graces of the coaching staff. Until that happens, though, using him in DFS will be a risky proposition.
The Jacksonville Jaguars haven't had a 1,000 yard receiver since 2005, when Jimmy Smith hauled in 70 passes for 1,023 yards and six touchdowns. This team hasn't been able to throw the ball consistently since Mark Brunell was under center. Things are changing, though, and my money is on second-year wideout Allen Robinson bucking this trend. He offers a unique blend of size and speed, and it was on full display against the Dolphins, as he racked up six catches for 155 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It was the first 100-yard receiving game of his career. He is still developing chemistry with second-year quarterback Blake Bortles, so there will be ups-and-downs. What we are starting to see, though, is Bortles’ willingness to chuck it downfield and let Robinson make a play. With his ability to take the top off a defense, he is going to win his fair share of those battles. Robinson will go over 1,000 yards this season even with some down games like Week 1; you can take that to the bank.
During the preseason, Fantasy owners were falling over themselves trying to get their hands on anyone of note from the Philadelphia Eagles offense. If two games are any indication, it seems like the league is starting to catch up with Chip Kelly's offense, the running game in particular, as DeMarco Murray now has 11 rushing yards on 21 carries to start the season. Murray can't really be blamed for much of this, as he has had zero room to run. Nine of his 21 carries have gone for zero or negative yards. Murray gets downhill fast, but there hasn't been anything resembling a hole for him to run through this season. There is still time to get this turned around, but it's going to be awfully hard to start him with a tough Jets defense on the horizon next week. The Eagles want to run to set up the pass, but based on these results and the slow starts on offense as a result, don't be surprised if they start passing to open up the run game moving forward.
Dallas came away with victory against Philadelphia but suffered a bigger long-term loss with Tony Romo falling prey to a broken clavicle. Early indications have him missing eight weeks, leaving Brandon Weeden to lead this offense. Combine this with the loss of Dez Bryant last week, and this offense really could be in trouble. Expect Dallas to game plan some serious ball control. As a result, opposing defenses are going to stack the box against the run and blitz the very immobile Weeden every chance they get. Terrence Williams and Jason Witten are very risky plays moving forward. Weeden did well in relief, but will be exposed with more time on the field. He is a backup for a reason. The running game is going to find tough sledding. Joseph Randle is nothing more than a FLEX option in plus matchups, while Darren McFadden shouldn't sniff a starting lineup. For more on the Dallas Cowboys offense going forward, check this out:
Alfred Morris had one less carry than Matt Jones in Washington's victory over St. Louis. You can technically still call him the starter, but you would be a fool if you treated him as one. Jones outgained him 123-59 on the ground after playing a limited role in their Week 1 loss against Miami. Morris is a plodder who had 26 carries of 10-plus yards with a long run of 30 yards last season. Jones had four carries of 10-plus yards in this game alone, his best being a 39-yard touchdown run. I watch a lot of football, and my eyes tell me that Jones offers this offense a big play element they have been missing with Morris getting the starters reps. Right now, Jones is available in 85.3 percent of leagues on ESPN, a number set to rise dramatically once waivers kick off this week. If he is available in your league, get your hands on him. There are usually a few breakout players that can be had off waivers every year that help lead your team to a championship. Jones will be one of those players.
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