September 9, 2022, 8:55 pm
Steelers (+6.5) @ Bengals (-280); Total of 44
Mitch Trubisky starts his second go-around as a starting QB after failing to latch on with the Bears, while the Bengals will get their first look at how their new-look offensive line will protect Joe Burrow. After a Superbowl loss to the Rams in 2021, will the Bengals be on a revenge tour or will they be complacent as we’ve seen in years past from other Superbowl losers. Plus, we’ll get out first regular season look at preseason rookie WR darling, George Pickens.
Mitch Trubisky has better targets here with the Steelers than he had with the Bears, and he’ll likely be playing from behind for the majority of this matchup. However, those are the only two factors that are in his favor. If possible, avoid Trubisky across all formats with the exception of a desperation play in superflex leagues.
Diontae Johnson has been limited in practice this week due to an ongoing shoulder issue, and that’s a bit of a concern heading into the opener. He’ll also draw the toughest CB matchup on a Bengals secondary that has some talent. Chidobe Awuzie was the 18th best cover corner in the league in 2021 and he has a 20-pound weight advantage over Johnson. Add in the fact that Johnson’s shoulder injury could flare up at any point during the contest and fantasy managers may just want to start Johnson and not watch the game.
Chase Claypool could end up benefiting from the defensive attention on Johnson, but he’s a low-end flex option at best after his growth stagnated in Year 2. Perhaps the removal of Big Ben will help Claypool and the rest of the receivers in Pittsburgh.
After a season in which Pat Freiermuth challenged phenom Kyle Pitts for the best rookie TE, the only reason why was because of Pitt’s one touchdown on the year. Freiermuth will likely enter the streaming conversation at times this season and the Bengals did rank in the bottom-10 against TEs in 2021, but there are tight ends with much greater upside than Freiermuth.
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