Last updated: September 11th at 7:20pm ET
Team Totals: Steelers 25, Seahawks 21
Seahawks-Steelers is my favorite Week 2 “over” bet with Pittsburgh returning home in prime bounce-back position following last Sunday night’s embarrassing 33-3 shellacking by the Patriots. As Pittsburgh shouldn’t have trouble flaming a Seattle secondary that yielded Andy Dalton’s career-high 418 passing yards in Week 1, Russell Wilson projects to respond with heightened pass attempts and subsequent scrambles. Steelers 2018 sack leader T.J. Watt (hip) and top CB Joe Haden (shoulder) both emerged beaten up after Pittsburgh allowed Week 1’s QB7 result to Tom Brady. As the Steelers lean heavily on man coverage where defenders turn their backs to the offense, Wilson should also see more rushing opportunities. Wilson’s 46 touchdown passes against man-coverage looks lead the NFL since 2017 (Sports Info Solutions) despite more attempts versus zone (465) than man (433) during that stretch. … As expected based on preseason signs, Chris Carson dominated snaps (76%) and touches (21) over Rashaad Penny (27%, 6) in last week’s win over the Bengals. Seattle’s coaches promised all offseason to increase Carson’s receiving usage and delivered; Carson’s 35% target share led the team, and his six catches were a career high. Carson ran 17 routes after averaging 9.0 per game last year. Carson’s RB1-caliber usage should keep him matchup proof, even as a road dog in this spot. Penny is a handcuff only.
Wilson’s Week 1 target distribution: Carson 7; D.K. Metcalf 6; Tyler Lockett, Nick Vannett, and Will Dissly 2; Jaron Brown 0. … Lockett is a screaming buy-low target in season-long leagues after Cincinnati double teamed him for nearly the entirety of Week 1. Metcalf made the Bengals pay, and Lockett now catches a gorgeous bounce-back spot facing a Steelers defense that perennially insists on covering slot receivers with linebackers. Pittsburgh gave up the NFL’s second-most completions and fifth-most yards in the slot last year, then hemorrhaged 15 catches for 270 yards and three TDs on slot routes versus New England last Sunday night. Lockett ran 82% of his Week 1 routes in the slot (Sports Info Solutions). Wilson-to-Lockett is one of my favorite Week 2 DFS-tournament stacks. … Metcalf benefited from all the Bengals’ attention paid to Lockett but also flashed his big-play chops on a pair of deep-ball receptions and will remain a tough cover all season long when Wilson improvises outside the pocket with 4.33 jets at 6-foot-3, 228. A boom-bust WR4/flex option, Metcalf is worth consideration in Seahawks-Steelers game stacks as Seattle’s clear-cut No. 3 pass option behind Lockett and Carson. … Brown didn’t see a single Week 1 target despite playing 78% of Seattle’s offensive snaps. … Dissly’s health remains untrustworthy after tearing his patellar tendon in 2018, then re-tweaking the knee versus Cincinnati.
Severely outclassed by the Patriots in primetime, the proud and still-ultra-talented Steelers return home in rebound position to face a Seahawks defense that got blowtorched by the Bengals’ A.J. Green-less passing game, yielding Week 1’s QB11 fantasy result to Andy Dalton in a game where ex-confirmed-draft bust John Ross went nuclear (7/158/2) despite leaving gobs of yardage on the field via drops and miscommunications after barely practicing throughout camp. Although it feels uncomfortable, Ben Roethlisberger is a green-light DFS-tournament play at what figures to be minimal ownership based on recency bias. … James Conner joined Big Ben as a Week 1 fantasy bust in brutal game script but still handled 82% of Pittsburgh’s backfield touches and is in much better Week 2 fantasy position as a home-favorite bellcow facing a Seattle team coming off an emotional, comeback home-game win now traveling cross country for a 1pm ET start. Preseason and Week 1 usage show Jaylen Samuels remains purely a handcuff. Over-drafted fourth-rounder Benny Snell only played on special teams in the opener.
Roethlisberger’s Week 1 target distribution: Donte Moncrief 10; JuJu Smith-Schuster 8; Ryan Switzer and James Washington 6; Diontae Johnson 5; Conner and Vance McDonald 4; Samuels and Johnny Holton 2. … With four drops and a pathetic seven yards on his team-high ten targets, no NFL receiver had a worse Week 1 than “Chief Crief.” But Moncrief played 90% of Pittsburgh’s offensive snaps, is popping in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Buy Low Air Yards Model, and coach Mike Tomlin indicated Tuesday Moncrief’s snaps aren’t in danger. … JuJu is another buy-low Steeler after a humdrum opener where he missed snaps due to a toe injury but still led Pittsburgh in receiving (6/78/0) and gets a far softer Week 2 draw. Smith-Schuster ran 69% of his Week 1 routes in the slot, where the Seahawks lost stud CB Justin Coleman in the offseason and Ross recorded 68 yards with a score in Week 1. … Aligning with preseason trends, Switzer operated as Pittsburgh’s No. 3 receiver, Washington as the No. 4, and Johnson as the No. 5 against the Patriots. Switzer is worth rostering as a WR5/6 in deeper PPR leagues. Washington popped in Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model but looks like a trap after benefiting from Big Ben enlisting four- and five-receiver sets late in desperation comeback mode at Foxboro. … Containing McDonald was clearly a priority for the Patriots, who used SS Pat Chung to chase him in man coverage and checked McDonald until garbage time. I’m not going into panic mode; the Seahawks’ zone poses a much friendlier Week 2 matchup, and McDonald’s 32 routes run were seventh most among Week 1 tight ends. Bengals TEs efficiently combined to catch 9-of-11 targets for 93 yards against Pete Carroll’s defense last week.
Score Prediction: Steelers 31, Seahawks 30