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What to do with Benny Snell, Jaylen Samuels in Week 13 fantasy football

The Steelers are trying to keep up in the W column, but injuries and bad performances are hitting them big-time. We take a look at their backfield to assess its value entering Week 13.

Indianapolis Colts v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

You have to feel at least a little bit bad for these Steelers. They lost two key pieces in Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell this past summer. They saw Ben Roethlisberger hit the IR with the season barely started. As if that wasn’t enough, Juju Smith-Schuster and James Conner turned into pumpkins and played their worst football ever since showing great performance levels last year. So here we are, with Pittsburgh hoping any of Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels—along with Duck Hodges, no less...—help the team during the home stretch.

Both rushers have played at least a few snaps every game this season, but it’s been Samuels who has gotten the most attention as he’s been clearly the no. 1 rusher other than Conner in this attack. The problem with Samuels is that he’s been totally volatile in the games he’s played. Samuels has had three games of 15-plus fantasy points since Week 4—including two besting the 20-point mark—but his production has come down basically to his receiving prowess more than his work on the ground. Those good games, though, were always followed by duds of 4.5, 7, and 6.2 fantasy points and no more than 50 yards from scrimmage in any of them. Just take last week’s supposedly great matchup against Cincinnati (28th-best defense against RBs), in which he rushed the ball two times and received three passes for 32 combined yards and you get an idea of the risk Samuels carries with him.

Snell, on the other hand, has only been heavily featured in two games this season: Week 6 against the Chargers and last weekend facing the Bengals. He logged 29 and 36 snaps and finished both games with 75-plus yards on the ground. He’s the rushing tailback of these two, and his receiving game is null. That is why he’s a little bit touchdown-dependent and why even reaching 98 yards this past Sunday he couldn’t top 11 fantasy points.

Fantasy football analysis: Pittsburgh Steelers RBs Benny Snell, Jaylen Samuels

The Steelers are ravaged in offense and are banking on good defensive play to keep winning games this season. Betting on this attack is a madman’s proposition at this point. Neither Samuels or Snell could amount to much one week ago against a cupcake like Cincinnati, so the Browns (11th-best defense against RBs) shouldn’t make things easier this Sunday.

Cleveland has conceded just 146 yards on the ground and 86 receiving to running backs in their last three games combined. Coincidentally, the Steelers were the only team to score a touchdown on them in that span. Even with that, I wouldn’t recommend starting any of Snell or Samuels this week. If you’re desperate or have a lack of options, Samuels should be the go-to play thanks to his pass-catching ability as a Flex play. Forget about any bounty if he doesn’t score, though, which makes me believe you must have someone in your roster able to provide more points than he will.

Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation

Sit Snell and Samuels.