The Worksheet, a fantasy football overview by Rich Hribar, breaking down everything you need to know for the Week 2 Las Vegas Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday afternoon game.
- Under Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh is 27-12 (69.2%) with a rest advantage, the second-highest winning percentage over that span.
- Najee Harris was the first running back to play 100% of his team’s snaps since Christian McCaffrey in Week 15, 2019.
- Ben Roethlisberger used play-action on 34.3% of his dropbacks after just 9.6% of his dropbacks in 2020. Roethlisberger averaged 7.7 yards per pass attempt using play-action as opposed to 4.9 Y/A without.
- Steelers pass catchers had just a 58.1% catchable target rate, the lowest rate of Week 1.
Ben Roethlisberger: Entering the season with concerns, Roethlisberger did little of note to help alleviate any of those concerns as he was wildly inaccurate to open the season. Roethlisberger threw for just 3.8 yards per pass attempt under pressure, but also just 6.3 Y/A when kept clean.
Questioning if we would see the Steelers go downfield, Roethlisberger’s 6.2-yard average depth of target was 27th in the league Week 1 and he attempted just six passes over 15 yards downfield. Roethlisberger has now finished higher than QB15 in one of his past seven starts.
There was some wind in Buffalo, but Big Ben will look to bounce back at home against a Las Vegas defense that is on a short week and just allowed 7.8 yards per attempt (23rd) in Week 1. I want to buy into the talent of this offense taking over in a positive matchup, but Roethlisberger is still just a matchup-based QB2 until this offense plants some confidence in him.
Derek Carr: Carr closed as the QB10 (24 points) in Week 1 after a monster finish to the game versus the Ravens on Monday night. Carr was just 18-of-32 for 168 yards (5.3 Y/A) and zero touchdowns through three quarters, then connected on 16-of-24 passes for 267 yards (11.1 Y/A) and two scores in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Carr gets another tough draw on a short week against a Steelers defense that reminded us that they’re still among the elite units in the league in shutting down the Bills on the road to open the season. Pittsburgh was third in the league in pressure rate (34.5%) Week 1 while blitzing Josh Allen just once. The Steelers have allowed just three QB1 scoring weeks over the past two years. As good as Carr closed Monday, he is still only a 2QB option in Week 2.
Najee Harris (TRUST): Harris was a bit of a Rorschach Test for fantasy in his debut. On one hand, Harris played 100% of the snaps and no other Pittsburgh back received a touch in the game. Harris was also in pass protection for five snaps and did not allow a pressure. He has a complete grip on this backfield and better days will be coming if he does not come off the field.
On the other hand, we saw in Week 1 what made people cautious on him being potentially hollow volume as well due to this offensive line. Harris turned 17 touches into 49 yards. 35 of his 45 rushing yards came after contact despite having zero carries with eight or more defenders in the box.
We knew the offensive line was a potential issue, but the real down note came with Harris receiving just three targets on 30 pass routes. Putting all of it together, Harris had the lowest scoring game (RB46) for all 35 running backs to play 100% of his team’s snaps since 2012.
We know the usage is going to be here, however, so we have to keep the lights on things turning around. This matchup would be a good place to start as the Raiders are traveling cross country on a short week after allowing 4.7 yards per carry (24th) and two touchdowns rushing to Baltimore backs on Monday night.
Josh Jacobs: Jacobs found the end zone twice to open the season, but that touchdown output was deodorant for just 11 touches for 40 yards on Monday night. Jacobs entered the game with an illness and toe issue, but started off dominating snaps until the Raiders were in catchup mode. By the end of things, Jacobs played 45 snaps (52.3%) while Kenyan Drake played 41 (47.7%). On passing downs, each ran an equal 23 routes, with Drake posting a 5-59-0 line on five targets and Jacobs 1-6-0 on two targets.
As road dogs against a strong Steeler front seven, Jacobs is a touchdown-dependent RB2/FLEX while Drake is a floor-based FLEX in PPR formats.
Steelers WRs: We had questions on if the Steelers how the Pittsburgh wideouts would fit into this new offense and for at least one week, the answer was just the same as last year.
JuJu Smith-Schuster led the group with a pass route on 100% of the dropbacks, but he still largely functioned out of the slot (76%) with a 6.3-yard average depth of target. He closed with a 4-52-0 line on eight targets.
Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool each were in route on 82.9% of the team dropbacks. Johnson led the team with 10 targets, but was more of the same as what we had a year ago from a low yards per target magnet as he managed five catches for 36 yards, although he secured the lone touchdown grab from the group.
Despite flashing upside with downfield contested catches, Claypool received just five targets in his direction (3-45-0) but had the types of targets that offer upside (11.0 aDOT).
It is disappointing that so much of the Steelers’ usage and output carried over from a year ago, but the Raiders allowed 10.7 yards per target (25th) to Baltimore wideouts in Week 1. Until things change, however, we should not alter our approach here with Johnson as a target-based WR2 in PPR formats, Smith-Schuster as a floor-based WR3, and Claypool as a boom-or-bust WR3.
Bryan Edwards: Completely shut out for 59 minutes of action Monday night, the Raiders finally gave Edwards some work and he delivered in the clutch, catching 4-of-5 targets for 81 yards on the final drive of regulation and in overtime. Until the Raiders show that they are going to feed their wide receivers, however, Edwards remains a bench stash against this defense.
Henry Ruggs: Ruggs was third among the Las Vegas wideouts in routes run (35) Monday, trailing both Hunter Renfrow (37) and Edwards (39). Ruggs flashed his speed with a 37-yard grab that set up a late touchdown, but only received five total targets (2-46-0). Ruggs still has yet to clear five targets in any game in his early career. Like Edwards, Ruggs is still stuck as a stash at this time.
Hunter Renfrow: Renfrow ran more routes than Ruggs and had more targets (nine) than both Ruggs and Edwards in Week 1, catching six of those looks for 70 yards. Renfrow carries low touchdown upside, but with the Steelers’ long-running issues with covering slot receivers and Cole Beasley catching 8-of-13 targets for 60 yards against them to open the season, Renfrow has low-leverage FLEX appeal in PPR formats for those needing to go this deep in the well.
Darren Waller: A big reason the Las Vegas wideouts did not get anything in their direction was that Waller was an absolute target vacuum. Waller saw 19 targets come in his direction, catching 10 of them for 105 yards and a score. Even with all of the targets, there was room for more as Waller was running uncovered on a route for a long score that Carr did not see him on and Waller dropped another long target.
Going back to last season, Waller has double-digit targets in five of his past six games while hitting 100 yards receiving in five of those games. With this type of usage, Waller is a locked-in top tight end option regardless of opponent.
Steelers TEs: Both Pittsburgh tight ends found the field Sunday, with Eric Ebron running 17 pass routes (1-19-0 receiving) and Pat Freiermuth running 12 routes (1-24-0). With low volume, both Steeler tight ends are touchdown-dependent dart throws.
More Week 2 Fantasy breakdowns from The Worksheet: