Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers got rocked from the jump in this battle, and it was a painful spectacle. We knew the Bengals offense would be mediocre at best under the command of Ryan Finley (89 passing yards and 1INT), but no one saw the Bengals successful run game coming. Roethy tossed just 170 yards, 1TD and had 1INT, and Chase Claypool (3/54/0TDs), JuJu Smith-Schuster (3/15/0TDs) and Eric Ebron (0/0/0TDs, and he did play) did next to nothing. The only Steeler standouts were Benny Snell (/84/1TD // 2/23/0TDs) and Diontae Johnson (8/59/1TD)… Anthony McFarland (5 yards) had no role in this one. Aside from Giovanni Bernard, whom I speak on below, that was it in terms of impact fantasy performances. James Conner did not suit up for this one, and neither did the entire Steelers’ defense if we are being honest. In a Week 15 semi-finals week for almost the entire fantasy football world, the Steelers dropped the ball, scoring between 3-5 points depending on your scoring format. What do we make of this offense heading into Week 16 (vs IND)? I think fantasy owners should expect a much different level of output from that Steelers’ offense. I’m not suggesting PIT won’t still struggle to find their way out of their currently-broken state of things, but guys like Chase Claypool and Ben Roethlisberger should be reliable enough to start if they are usual starters for you and you’ve made it into the final championship week.
Let’s talk Dynasty: I can tell you that this team will have some huge question marks heading into 2021 and beyond. Roethy has said he wants to be in PIT in 2021, so there is a good shot that the passing attack can still be very similar in terms of production… that said, which WR is the top dog in 2021? Is it Johnson, who has up and down value with stone hands and inconsistent play? The upside is there no doubt, but Claypool, a rookie, will only get better. Debate the dynasty value of these guys below (and you can include JuJu in the conversation, but there is a lot of reason to doubt JuJu’s dynasty appeal).
The Bengals may have dominated the Steelers, but only Giovani Bernard (83/1TD // 1/14/1TD) had a strong day from a fantasy perspective. Samaje Perine was supposed to get more run in this one, but he received just 4 carries. Given Bernard had a fumble the week prior, and was benched for it, this one was hard to see coming. Bernard won’t hold any 2021 value, and Joe Mixon could potentially return this season, but it’s not very likely. Where Mixon goes in 2021 drafts is tough to predict, but I beat a dead horse all off-season on the topic of avoiding Mixon in 2020, and nothing will likely change for me in 2021 (unless he falls to some ridiculous ADP range, which could happen). Tyler Boyd (back/head) got injured in this one, and if it’s concussion related, he could miss Week 16. We’d assume that for now – stay tuned. Tee Higgins will be easier to trust next week if Boyd is out, so know that if your WR3 is facing a Higgins-related dilemma.
Let’s talk Dynasty: This team is a mess in general. Don’t take tonight as some sign that the Bengals have flipped the script on their 3-10-1 season that they are sporting… that said, I love Joe Burrow, and if given the right upgrades and weapons this coming off-season, and via the 2021 draft, I think we could be looking at a QB that can tag along into the bottom of the 2021 QB tier that holds guys like Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers. And, in dynasty, he could float to the top of that tier in no time. Higgins can be a top 25WR with Burrow under center… maybe not in 2021, but potentially heading out of it. Joe Mixon is a total dynasty avoid for me, and I’d only consider drafting him super-late if I knew I could turn him into something more via a pro-Mixon trade environment.