Things aren’t looking good for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They lost their third straight game to the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday and will host an Indianapolis Colts team that’s riding a three-game winning streak in Week 16. Can Pittsburgh pull things together down the stretch, or will its downward slide continue?
Ben Roethlisberger played arguably his worst game of the season and threw for just 170 yards and one touchdown on 20-of-38 passing in his last outing. He was missed tons of throws and couldn't depend on James Conner, who was ruled out with a quad injury. Conner could return against the Colts but Indianapolis has given up the fifth-fewest rushing yards in the NFL this season.
Philip Rivers is on a roll and has tallied 757 passing yards with six touchdowns and zero interceptions over the past three weeks. Jonathan Taylor’s improvement and the resurgence of T.Y. Hilton has helped the Colts make up for their recent defensive struggles. They’ll need a win for a chance to take the top spot in the AFC South from the Tennessee Titans.
Date: Sunday, Dec. 27
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Notable Statistical rankings (Football Outsiders)
Colts: #8 Overall — #12 offense, #6 defense, #7 special teams
Steelers: #5 Overall — #22 offense, #1 defense, #12 special teams
Fantasy football start/sit advice
Jonathan Taylor, RB, $7,300
Taylor has accounted for more than 90 total yards in four straight games. The rookie is trending in the right direction and logged a season-high 38 snaps in Week 15. The Steelers have the third-best defense against running backs on DraftKings but I’m willing to roll with Taylor after seeing Giovani Bernard score two touchdowns against Pittsburgh on Monday.
Philip Rivers, QB, $5,900
Five straight multi-touchdown games are enough to make me believe in Rivers. I don’t expect huge numbers but having a legitimate WR1 has raised his upside. Rivers’ versatile group of pass-catching running backs can help him avoid the Steelers’ sturdy secondary.
Diontae Johnson, WR, $6,300
Johnson has caught at least eight passes in four of his last five games. He’s been targeted more than any other Steelers wideout by at least a significant margin. Johnson’s PPR upside makes him more valuable than other wideouts while Big Ben is struggling.
Benny Snell, RB, $5,300
Snell tallied a season-high 19.7 DKFP on 18 carries with Conner out of the picture and could serve as the lead back again if the usual starter isn’t back by Sunday. Roethlisberger has thrown for under 200 yards against two below-average defenses in a row, so I expect Pittsburgh could be forced to lean on the ground game against the Colts.