January 5, 2023, 4:15 pm
Steelers 16, Ravens 13 (Steelers covered +2.5, U35)
Pregame: These two squads met back in Week 14 in a classic defensive battle, resulting in a 16-14 victory for the Ravens. The game on Sunday night should likely play out in a very similar fashion, as both teams have heavily relied on their strong defense this season. The Ravens (10-5) are one game back from the division lead, but have already clinched a playoff spot. As for the Steelers, they are hanging onto their playoff hopes at 7-8 and need to win out, plus get some help, to have a shot of making the postseason. In their first matchup, only a trio of players had relatively strong fantasy performances while the two DSTs put together quality performances. Both teams are looking to potentially make a move in the playoff hunt, so fantasy GMs will be hopeful that these offenses will open up their playbooks early and often.
Postgame: The Steelers were able to pull off a magical fourth-quarter comeback to keep their playoff hopes alive on Sunday night, advancing to 8-8 on the season. They were trailing 13-3 in the second half and 13-6 entering the fourth quarter, but put together a game-winning touchdown drive with 66 seconds remaining. As for the Ravens, they slid to 10-6 and have set themselves up poorly heading into the playoffs, with a potential trip to either Buffalo or Cincinnati in the first round. There was only one fantasy relevant player on each side of the ball in this low-scoring battle, with a handful of heartbreaking performances thanks to a pair of stout defenses.
Pregame: Harris has finally woken up from his early-season slumber and has been turning it on just in time for the fantasy playoffs. Since Week 11, he ranks as the RB10 and has been averaging 15.3 fantasy points per game. He has 22 and 26 touches in the two weeks of the fantasy playoffs and seems to finally be featured properly on this Steelers offense. He is a mid-range RB2 in a tougher matchup against the Ravens, who just held him to 33 yards on 12 rushes (and a touchdown) just three weeks ago.
Postgame: Harris had his second best performance of the season and timed it out beautifully with the fantasy championship. The second-year back turned in a RB9 in Week 17, rushing for 111 yards on 22 attempts. He also hauled in two of three receptions for 12 yards and a touchdown. It was his fourth straight game with at least 13.0 fantasy points and only the second time this year that he had at least 20.0 points in PPR formats.
Diontae Johnson & George Pickens:
Pregame: Is this the week that DJ finally scores a touchdown?! Both receivers have done well this season and currently sit inside the top-41 at the position, which is rather impressive with a combined three touchdowns on a run-first offense. Johnson is a much safer option as he has at least five receptions, seven targets and 49 yards in each of his past five outings and should continue to finish in the WR2 range, even with the lack of scores. As for Pickens, he is a much riskier play, but has a slightly higher touchdown upside, making him a boom-or-bust WR4 option.
Postgame: The Steelers passing attack was putrid on Sunday night, resulting in tragic performances from Johnson and Pickens. DJ was only able to haul in 2-of-7 targets for 35 yards, while the rookie only managed 29 yards on two receptions. The two combined for a 41% target share and 38% of the passing yards, but when Kenny Pickett only throws for 15 completions and 168 yards, the potential for his WRs is slim.
Pregame: Freiermuth has been playing well recently, ranking as the TE6 since Week 11. He has at least 6.9 fantasy points in every game since Week 5 and has been a fairly safe producer in fantasy. Over the past two games, he has racked up 10 receptions and 14 targets, totalling 99 yards and one score. In Week 14 against these very Ravens, he finished as the TE6 with a 3-33-1 line.
Postgame: After several weeks of continued success for Freiermuth, he had his worst fantasy finish of the season, ranking as the TE29 on championship week. He only managed to grab half of his six targets, finishing with 36 yards. Tough break for the fantasy GMS that were rolling with the second-year product, who had four top-9 fantasy finishes over his past five games.
J.K Dobbins & Gus Edwards:
Pregame: Since Dobbins returned to action three weeks ago, these two backs have both shown signs of promise. Dobbins has looked solid twice, while Edwards has done so once, but they have also faced two of the weakest run defenses in the NFL. In his return against the Steelers, Dobbins rattled off 120 yards and a score on 15 attempts, including another 66 yards from Edwards. Both backs are fairly reliant on touchdowns due to the split workload, making them both in the RB2/3 range in championship week.
Postgame: Although he was unable to find the endzone, Dobbins had a fairly productive game on the ground. Unfortunately for his fantasy GMs, that only resulted in a RB28 finish due to his complete lack of usage in the passing game. He has had at least 93 yards rushing in three of his four games since returning from injury, but only found the endzone once in that span. Meanwhile for Edwards, he absolutely ruined championship aspirations while only getting three opportunities on the ground, finishing with two rushing yards.
Pregame: Unfortunately, the majority of fantasy GMs that rostered Andrews this season are likely no longer in the hunt for a title this year. He has not scored since mid-October and has been held to under three receptions in each of his past three games, cracking the four-catch threshold once since Week 6. With that being said, miraculously, Andrews is still the TE3 this year. He has shown a solid rapport with Huntley, who will start again in Week 17, over the past two seasons, but fantasy GMs will pray for Andrews to find the endzone to unlock his fantasy scoring ceiling.
Postgame: It was about time that Andrews saw a featured role in this offense. The stud TE hauled in all nine of his targets for 100 yards. It was the first time since Week 6 that he was able to crack the triple-digit receiving mark, earning a beautiful TE3 finish on the week. Unfortunately, it was his counterpart Isaiah Likely that hauled in the Ravens’ lone touchdown on Sunday. The rookie finished with three receptions on five targets for 12 yards and one score.