The Steelers started the season 11-0 and have lost their past two games to drop to 11-2. With the Chiefs setting a 13-1 pace atop the AFC, the Steelers are going to have to win in Week 15 to keep up with them, and they should have a chance to do that against the Bengals. Cincinnati has dropped to 2-10-1 on the year and is on its third QB after losing Joe Burrow to a torn ACL and Brandon Allen to a knee injury. They will be looking to get revenge on the Steelers for a 36-10 blowout earlier in the season, but can a Christmas miracle come early? Our FanDuel Single-game lineup picks suggest that we don’t believe there’s much chance of the Bengals staying competitive in this one.
We’re using four members of the Steelers and one Bengal in this lineup — that’s the most Steelers-heavy we can go. We wanted to get exposure to all aspects of the Steelers offense since defenses aren’t a playable option in Single-game lineups, so we are taking a balanced approach. We have a QB, RB, WR, and TE from the Steelers and are running it back with the Bengals WR that we believe has the most upside. We spent up for a couple of top Steelers, but despite that, only one of our picks came in below the $10K price range. To earn some further lineup differentiation and upside, we’re rolling with a WR as a semi-contrarian MVP pick.
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FanDuel Single-Game Picks: Bengals vs. Steelers
MVP (1.5x points): JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers ($14,000)
The Steelers have the fifth-highest passing percentage in the NFL, so any time they play, it’s imperative to use either Ben Roethlisberger or one of their receiving options as the captain. This week, Smith-Schuster seems like a good pick. He’s seen 26 targets in his past three games and has caught at least six passes in every game during that span while scoring twice. With some of his teammates dealing with drops in recent weeks, Smith-Schuster and his 78.2-percent catch rate (best on the Steelers) should see plenty of targets and could be the focal point of the Pittsburgh offense. We’ll roll with him as the team’s most consistent receiver and to get some lineup differentiation from Ben Roethlisberger, who is likely to be the highest-played MVP in FanDuel contests.
FLEX: Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers ($16,000)
We’re not playing Roethlisberger at MVP, but we are still going to play him. Roethlisberger hasn’t totaled more than 19.2 FanDuel points in the Steelers’ past four games, but he has thrown for two TDs in all but one of those games while attempting at least 37 passes. The volume should be there for Roethlisberger, and last time he took on the Bengals, he posted his best days of the year — a 333-yard, four-TD outing in which he came up just short of 30 FanDuel points. Roethlisberger should do well again in this matchup, so we’ll roll with him and hope that he and Smith-Schuster can connect for a couple of TDs in this one.
FLEX: James Conner, Steelers ($11,000)
Conner (quad) is questionable for this game, so if he is out, the obvious pivot here would be Benny Snell. Either way, this is a good matchup for Pittsburgh’s RBs. The Bengals have given up the sixth-most rushing yards to RBs this season, and while the Steelers haven’t run the ball well recently, they should be able to find at least some success given the Bengals’ issues. Conner is certainly a risk, but given his high TD upside and potential low ownership due to his recent struggles and injury designation, he’s worth including in this lineup. And again, if he ends up missing the game, we can just pivot to Snell and have the same high TD upside, just at a lower price.
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FLEX: Tee Higgins, Bengals ($10,000)
Higgins has slowed down considerably since Burrow’s season-ending ACL tear, but he is still producing. In three full games without Burrow, Higgins has logged seven targets, five catches, and 49.7 yards per game for the Bengals while scoring once. The Steelers rank middle-of-the-pack against WRs and have surrendered 16 TDs to the position, which is tied for sixth most in the NFL, so Higgins should have a shot to produce in this contest. Either way, we need one Bengal in our lineup, and Higgins had seven catches, 115 yards, and a TD in his last game against the Steelers, so he’s the safest bet to produce, even with Ryan Finley in the lineup at QB.
FLEX: Eric Ebron, Steelers ($8,500)
Ebron is a potential boom play in the sub-$10K range. The Bengals have allowed the third-most receiving yards to TEs this year (867) and are one of three teams in the NFL allowing more than 10 fantasy points per game to the position. Ebron has averaged 8.5 targets, five catches, and 47 yards over his past four games, so he should continue to see a lot of targets from Roethlisberger in a favorable matchup. Between Ebron and Smith-Schuster, our opportunities for double points are sky-high which improves the ceiling of this lineup.