Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:


Already have an account? Log in here.


Forgot Password


Week 3 Start/Sit - Monday Night Football Matchup Analysis

Two of the league's top offenses will take the field Monday night as the Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1-1) make the trip to Tampa to take on the surprisingly prolific Buccaneers (2-0); a statement which I did not see myself making heading into the season. Sure, most people figured this Steelers offense would be high-powered yet again -- even sans Le'Veon Bell -- but the Bucs haven't finished higher than 18th in points scored since 2012 making the 75 points they've put up through the season's first two weeks (second most) -- with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm, mind you -- one of the league's biggest surprises thus far.

Spoiler alert: the Steelers defense doesn't exactly appear primed to slow them down either.

Now, let's check out this Monday Night's matchup to see which players you should have in your lineups and who to fade. While you're at it, read our full rundown of the Sunday early slate.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!


Pittsburgh Steelers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Date and Start Time: Monday, September 24th at 8:15 p.m. EST
Game Spread: PIT -1.5
Over/Under: 53.5
Notable Injuries and Status:

Offensive and Defensive Rankings:

Steelers Buccaneers
Passing Yards 2nd 1st
Rushing Yards 20th 27th
Pass Defense 13th 31st
Run Defense 28th 2nd


Must Starts

Top Players That You Should Have In Your Lineup

Ben Roethlisberger (QB, PIT)

Matthew Stafford kicked off the must-starts in Week 1. That went well. Week 2 saw Russell Wilson get things started, and while he finished the night with an okay-ish fantasy performance (14.74 points), I still consider that a miss. I'm telling you right now, if Big Ben doesn't drop at least 18 fantasy points Monday night, I'm done. Never again will you see a QB listed as a must-start in this weekly Monday night preview -- regardless of the matchup -- for as long as I have fingers functional enough to type this weekly Monday night preview. (I'm lying. I probably still will.) Here's to the third time being the charm.

If there's reason for concern here, it comes to us in the form of Roethlisberger's home/away splits over the past three seasons. Over 22 road games from 2015-2017, Ben averaged 263 passing yards per game with 26 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. In 19 home games over that same stretch, those numbers jump to 327 yards per game with 52 TDs and 20 INTs. He's been noticeably better at home, but unfortunately, this one isn't taking place in Pittsburgh. However, it's hard to imagine the Steelers win-less through three weeks, Antonio Brown hasn't shied away from voicing his frustrations, and the Chiefs are the only team to allow more passing yards than the Bucs through two weeks (with just four teams allowing more fantasy points per game to the QB position).

Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB, TB)

I'm old enough to remember the "Pickspatrick" days, so this whole "Fitzmagic" thing is still beyond belief. I'm torn here. On one hand, in allowing 236 passing yards per game (14th) the Steelers aren't dreadful when it comes to defending the pass - it seems highly likely that his back-to-back 400+ yard passing game streak will come to an end here Monday night. On the other, no team has allowed more passing TDs than Pittsburgh and they have just one INT to their name... I'm riding the Fitzpatrick wave until the storm hits.

James Conner (RB, PIT)

The Steelers faced an early 21-0 deficit in Week 2 against Kansas City resulting in fantasy GMs simultaneously cringing as Mr. Conner saw just eight carries... He still finished the week tied for 5th at the RB position with 14.5 fantasy points.

The Bucs run D has been stout through their first two games -- limiting the Saints/Eagles running backs to 3.72 yards per carry and an average of 59.5 rushing yards -- but they've generously donated opposing backs an additional 86.5 yards per game through the air (third most) to go with two rushing TDs in each of those contests. Conner's 105 receiving yards put him 8th among RBs, and his three rushing TDs have him tied for first, so unless you have Alvin Kamara and Todd Gurley on your squad you're simply not benching Conner this week. (And if you do have all three, well, you've got a tough decision on your hands.)

Antonio Brown, Juju Smith-Schuster (WR, PIT)

36 receptions, 400 yards, two touchdowns, and 52 fantasy points between these two over the first two weeks. Do we really need to go into this?

Mike EvansDeSean Jackson (WR, TB)

26 receptions, 505 yards, five touchdowns, and 80.5 fantasy points between these two over the first two weeks. I'll assume the answer to the hypothetical question above applies here as well.

OJ Howard (TE, TB)

Howard's 9.8% target share ranks 26th among tight ends. That's not a good look. However, with Cameron Brate all but removed from the equation at this point (zero targets through two games), the juice looks to be in line to put up huge numbers this season. Factor in that the Steelers have allowed 67 yards per game to opposing TEs (10th most) and 12.7 fantasy points per game to the position (third highest), then sprinkle in that Chris Godwin is questionable -- potentially leading to a few more targets heading Howard's way -- and you have the recipe for a third-straight, Top10 fantasy performance.


Must Sits

Players To Avoid Putting In Your Lineup

Steelers DST/Buccaneers DST

Just don't do it.

Peyton Barber (RB, TB)

If you still find yourself aboard the Barber train despite 35 carries, 91 yards, and zero touchdowns through two weeks, you might want to find yourself getting off on the next stop. Yes, opportunity is valuable when it comes to fantasy football -- Barber is the guy in Tampa -- but he's averaging a mere 2.6 yards per carry (71st among RBs), the Steelers have yet to allow a back eclipse 75 yards (they've also allowed just 3.6 yards per carry - ninth lowest), and Barber has provided next to no value to the Bucs passing game.


Solid Options/Sleepers

Which Players Will Have Solid Games and Which Could Surprise?

Solid Option – Jesse James (TE, PIT)

Should you be wondering "How the hell can a guy who just grabbed five passes for 138 yards and a touchdown not be a must-start against a team which has allowed an average of 105 receiving yards per game to opposing tight ends?!" Well, Vance McDonald saw five targets in his triumphant return in Week 2, and despite James' monster game, I still believe McDonald's presence puts a cap on James' fantasy value this season. Starting this week.

Through two weeks, James has the second most fantasy points at the TE position and Roethlisberger has attempted more passes than any other QB -- there's plenty to go around -- so it wouldn't be wise to consider James benchable at this point. However, don't be surprised to see more lines like the one he put up in Week 1 (3 catches for 60 yards).

Sleeper – Vance McDonald (TE, PIT)

McDonald saw five targets in his return, and as long as Big Ben is throwing the ball 40+ times, there's no reason why both of these tight ends can't be productive in this offense. Both figure to have relatively high floors this week against this Bucs D which has allowed the third most receiving yards to opposing TEs thus far.

More Start/Sit Advice