The Worksheet, a fantasy football overview by Rich Hribar, breaking down everything you need to know for the Week 11 Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday afternoon game.

CincinnatiRank@PittsburghRank
-4.5Spread4.5
23Implied Total18.5
25.36Points/Gm15.631
20.613Points All./Gm2320
65.77Plays/Gm6512
61.18Opp. Plays/Gm64.422
5.514Off. Yards/Play4.731
5.312Def. Yards/Play5.823
37.56%25Rush%39.83%19
62.44%8Pass%60.17%14
44.36%21Opp. Rush %41.03%14
55.64%12Opp. Pass %58.97%19
  • The Steelers are the only team remaining in the league that has yet to score three offensive touchdowns in any game this season.
  • Pittsburgh is averaging 5.1 yards per passing play, the fewest in the league.
  • The Steelers are allowing a league-high 12.5 yards per completed pass.
  • The Steelers are averaging 9.3 yards per completed pass, 31st in the league.
  • The Bengals are fifth in the league in expected points added per play out of shotgun (0.12) as opposed to 24th in EPA per play under center (-0.06).
  • 42.9% of the scoring plays for the Steelers have been touchdowns, 31st in the league.
  • 42.1% of the scoring plays against the Bengals have been touchdowns, the third-lowest rate in the league.
  • Joe Burrow is fourth in the league in EPA per dropback on throws 10 yards and further downfield (0.65) while Kenny Pickett is last (-0.25).
  • On throws 10 yards and further downfield, Pickett is 20-of-53 (37.7%) with zero touchdowns and seven interceptions.
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Trust = spike production for that player

Quarterback

Joe Burrow: Burrow comes out of the bye with seven QB1 scoring weeks over his nine games played. 

In his two games played without Ja’Marr Chase, Burrow has thrown for just 232 and 206 yards, two of his three lowest yardage totals on the season. 

His Week 9 game was much more efficient than the previous Monday nighter against the Browns. Burrow completed 22-of-28 passes prior to the bye, just missing out on a pair of touchdown passes with receivers ruled outside of the line on scores that just missed by inches. 

Burrow’s three weeks as a top-six scorer have all come in games attached to Chase touchdowns, so we still cannot just expect a ceiling week. Burrow is more of a mid QB1 play.

When these teams played in Week 1, Burrow had five turnovers and was sacked seven times. The game script aided 53 pass attempts and 338 yards through the air. Since that game, Burrow has thrown just two interceptions. 

We have a small two-game sample of the Steelers playing with T.J. Watt this season, but they are allowing 4.5 yards per play with Watt on the field compared to 6.0 yards per play without him. 

Kenny Pickett: Pickett did not throw a touchdown pass last week but managed to post his first QB1 scoring week of the season as he added 51 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Pickett had 11.1 rushing points after 8.3 rushing points over his previous four starts. 

We cannot count on those rushing points weekly yet and we largely did not see a change in his passing output as he completed 18-of-30 passes for 199 yards (6.6 Y/A). 

That is going to leave Pickett as only an option for 2QB formats against a Cincinnati defense that has allowed more than one passing touchdown just once this season and just 10.9 passing points per game (fifth).

Running Back

Joe Mixon: Mixon cashed in all of his regression to the mean at once prior to the bye, scoring five touchdowns and posting 211 total yards. He ran for 7.0 yards per carry after 3.4 yards per tote entering that week.

But prior to his Week 9 explosion, Mixon was first among all running backs in expected fantasy points but was 12th in actual points scored (43.0 points below expectation). In Week 9, he scored 26.2 points over expectation. 

We have a larger sample of the Bengals struggling to run the football this season than what we saw entering the bye. I would temper expectations based on that game, but Mixon’s workload still profiles as an RB1. 

Mixon already has 50 targets and 38 catches this season as he is set up to blow away his career highs of 55 targets and 43 receptions in a season. 

The Steelers have been solid against the run, allowing 4.17 YPC (12th) and 12.5 rushing points per game (14th) to backs. They are eighth in success rate per running back run (64.6%) and rate of those carries to gain a first down or touchdown (20.7%).

Mixon has been good in this rivalry of late, posting 145, 163, and 94 yards in the three meetings between these teams since the start of last season.

Najee Harris: Harris had his best game of the season on Sunday, rushing 20 times for 99 yards. Harris had a season-high 5.0 yards per carry, just the third time this season that he averaged over 4.0 yards per carry in a game this season. 

Harris, unfortunately, did not catch a pass or reach the end zone, so his production was tied to all rushing yardage. He could have run into a big fantasy week if he didn’t lose out on goal line touchdowns to Kenny Pickett and George Pickens.

Despite having a season-high 20 carries, Harris did concede more work as suggested would happen exiting the bye. Harris handled 58.8% of the backfield touches after 56.0% in Week 8. Those are his two lowest rates of the season. He ran a pass route on 40% of the dropbacks, his lowest rate in a game this season.

We cannot expect the game script to be as great here as last week while the matchup is tougher. The Bengals could be getting D.J. Reader back this week out of the bye, who has not played since Week 3.

With Reader on the field this season, the Bengals have a 78.9% defensive success rate against running back carries (first) while allowing 0.89 yards prior to contact to backs (first). With Reader sidelined, the Bengals have a 57.4% success rate (23rd) while allowing 1.63 yards prior to contact to backs (26th).

That is a smaller sample like the one mentioned earlier with Watt, but it does include Week 1 when the Bengals allowed just 23 rushing yards to Harris on 10 carries. 

Harris is only a FLEX play.

Jaylen Warren: Warren did continue to have a role in the offense last week, but it was still not enough for much standalone value. Warren had 12 touches for 77 yards after posting 75 yards in Week 8 prior to the bye. 

Despite running hot on his touches, Warren still only had 35.3% of the backfield touches. He is getting enough touches to compromise Harris, but not quite enough on his own to be more than a floor-based FLEX play. His fantasy value is still tied to being a contingency bet. 

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Wide Receiver

Tee Higgins (TRUST): Higgins caught 7-of-8 targets for 60 yards prior to the bye. Collecting 26.7% of the team targets, Higgins has been a WR2 or better in each of his past three games played. 

We are still not expecting Ja’Marr Chase to be back this week, so Higgins gets another week as the lead wideout. He leads the Bengals this season in yards per route run (1.99). 

Higgins plays 78% of his snaps out wide, where Pittsburgh is allowing 8.9 yards per target (22nd) and a 7.5% touchdown rate (30th). The Steelers are allowing 26.1 points per game to boundary receivers, 30th in the league.

Tyler Boyd: Boyd has games of 3-38-1 (five targets) and 5-44-0 (six targets) in his two games since the Bengals lost Chase. The good news is that this is still a thin target tree since no depth at the position has stepped up. 

The Steelers have also been slashed by opposing slot receivers this season, allowing 15.4 points per game to opposing interior wideouts (29th), surrendering 10.2 yards per target (28th) and a 5.8% touchdown rate (23rd) to those receivers. 

Boyd has been a WR3 or better in four straight games paired with a strong matchup and target opportunity, making him a solid play on the WR2/WR3 in full-PPR formats and WR3 in non-PPR leagues.

Diontae Johnson: Catching 4-of-5 targets for 63 yards Sunday against the Saints, Johnson has now finished as the WR40 or lower in five of his past six games with a high of WR36 over that span. Johnson is still chasing his first touchdown of the season while he currently is averaging a career-low 9.3 yards per catch and a career-low 58.0% catch rate. 

The Bengals have allowed a 58.8% catch rate to opposing wideouts (third) and a 3.3% touchdown rate (seventh) to opposing wideouts, but they are allowing 8.2 yards per target to the position (19th). 

Johnson gets boosted this week with a heavy bye week and injuries across the wide receiver landscape, but he is still a WR3/FLEX with added appeal in full-PPR formats.

George Pickens: Pickens only saw four targets (3-32-0) come his way last week with the Steelers playing out in front for once, but he made up for some things by rushing for 23 yards and a touchdown. 

Pickens has hit 40 yards in just three games this season and once over his past four games. The silver lining is that he was in route for a season-high 95.0% of the dropbacks in his first game since the trade of Chase Claypool.

Pickens has a lower floor than Johnson as a WR3/FLEX, but also has a team-high 255 yards receiving with Pickett under center this season.

Tight End

Pat Freiermuth: Freiermuth pulled in 4-of-7 targets for 36 yards Sunday. While the yardage was limited by the context of this passing game, his 26.9% target share was third among all tight ends in Week 10. 

On the season, Freirmuth now is seventh among tight ends in yards per route run (1.71), and fifth in target rate per route run (23.3%). He has at least seven targets in 6-of-8 games this season. 

He has ceiling limitations due to this passing game as a whole since he has just one touchdown, but Freiermuth has TE1 usage. He caught 5-of-10 targets for 75 yards when these teams played in Week 1 with Mitchell Trubisky under center.

Hayden Hurst: Hurst had five catches for 35 yards prior to the bye and still has not seen a target bump since the loss of Chase. Hurst has three TE1 scoring weeks this season, with two of those coming in weeks in which he reached the end zone. Hurst is averaging just 8.0 yards per catch and 6.3 yards per target, so he needs target volume to spike to carry those totals or he needs to get into the end zone.

That leaves him as a higher-end TE2 rather than a TE1

The Steelers are allowing 6.6 yards per target (10th) and a 3.1% touchdown rate (10th) to tight ends.


Bengals vs Steelers Prediction for Week 11:

Based on the Sharp Football moneyline outcome model, recent trends & key matchups, we predict the Bengals will win this Week 11 game.

More Week 11 Fantasy breakdowns from The Worksheet:

TEN at GB | CAR at BAL | CHI at ATL | CLE at BUF | DET at NYG | NYJ at NE | PHI at IND | LAR at NO | WAS at HOU | LVR at DEN | DAL at MIN | CIN at PIT | KC at LAC | SF at ARI

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