The Week 11 edition of “Thursday Night Football” is a bit of an enigma for fantasy football players.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will host the Tennessee Titans in a matchup of two AFC division leaders that, despite being highly talented, are maddeningly inconsistent for fantasy purposes.
At 7-2, the Steelers are legitimate contenders in the AFC, but you still don’t know what you’re going to get from them on a weekly basis. Likewise, the 6-3 Titans boast plenty of potential and star power, but it’s difficult to trust any of their players in fantasy.
Still, if you pick your spots, there could be some points up for grabs at Heniz Field.
Whether you’re playing a daily fantasy sports contest or making a last-minute roster move in your season-long league, here’s who we think you should start and sit Thursday night:
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers. The rookie sensation is on fire and even might be a better fantasy play than teammate Antonio Brown. Smith-Schuster leads the Steelers in touchdowns and has more catches and receiving yards than Brown the last two weeks. Furthermore, he has the same amount of targets as Brown since Week 8. Thursday night games always have the potential to disappoint, but Smith-Schuster is a must-start nonetheless.
Delanie Walker, TE, Titans. The fact that Walker has no touchdowns this season obviously is concerning. But this is a down year for fantasy tight ends, and players who get as many targets, catches and yards as Walker need to be in your lineups, regardless of scores. Walker has three straight games of at least five catches and 60 yards, and we think he has a great chance to replicate that performance Thursday night.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers. This is a risky call, we know. But something about a primetime game at Heinz Field just screams big plays for Big Ben. It’s been an uneven year for Roethlisberger, to say the least, but the number of weapons he has at his disposal should lead to QB1 numbers against the Titans.
Titans running backs. DeMarco Murray is coming off a three-score game against the Cincinnati Bengals, but our outlook on him and the Titans backfield hasn’t changed. Neither Murray nor Derrick Henry has been consistent enough to justify trusting either of them on a weekly basis. Both players’ values at this point largely are tied to red-zone production, and the Titans still haven’t shown who they prefer on the goal line. We’d advise staying clear of both backs until performance — or injury — clarifies the situation.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans. Mariota has the talent and dual-threat abilities to put up huge fantasy numbers, but it just hasn’t panned out to this point. He’s averaging just 222 passing yards per game, and his rushing production has taken a dip this season. Keep Mariota on your bench until further notice.
Martavis Bryant, WR, Steelers. This malcontent has been passed on the depth chart by Smith-Schuster and likely won’t get the number of targets going forward to justify being in your fantasy lineups. Sure, Bryant always has the potential to bust off a big play, but he’s too boom-or-bust to trust on a weekly basis.