Steelers vs. Buccaneers: Fantasy Players to Watch


Last week, the Steelers surprised many by dominating the Carolina Panthers in NFC South territory. The theme of the season continued: Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown are in midseason/all-pro form.

In their two wins prior to playing the Steelers, the Panthers had allowed a total of one hundred sixty-four rushing yards. Then the Steelers exploded for two hundred sixty-four in Sunday night’s matchup.

This week’s match up is much more favorable for the Steelers heading in. Tampa Bay was embarrassed against the Atlanta Falcons last week, and the Steelers should be returning home with some confidence in an aggressive run game.

The Steelers should look to run behind the right side of the offensive line all day on Sunday. David Decastro and Marcus Gilbert were road graders on Sunday night in Charlotte, with LeGarrete Blount and Bell eclipsing the century mark in rushing.

Look for Bell to continue to produce. He has shown a great combination of patience and decisiveness. He also displayed his conditioning as he cut through the defense for an eighty-one yard run late in the third quarter. Tampa’s woes haven’t really been due to a poor run defense, but look for Bell to do well regardless.

The Steelers showed their backfield strategy against Carolina. LeGarrette Blount was brought in to be a closer. With a sizeable lead, the Steelers let Blount work the fourth quarter. With a fifty-one yard run and a late score, Blount finished off the victory.

Look for this to be the recipe for the rest of the season. If the Steelers can build a late lead, they’re happy to bring in Blount to wear down the defense in the latter part of the game. Blount will be a good fantasy option for games in which the Steelers can develop a lead, but that is about it.

Brown could be the one to shine on Sunday. The Bucs have been allowing a considerable amount of yards through the air. They should have trouble with Ben Roethlisberger and Brown—especially since quarterbacks Derek Anderson and Austin Davis each passed for two hundred thirty yards or more.

This also bodes well for Markus Wheaton. The second year wideout has looked good so far this season. Last week, he just missed bringing in his first NFL touchdown. He still has a lot to show to be a week-in and week-out contributor in fantasy, but he has potential.

There isn’t much to hope for if you own Tampa Bay receivers and running backs. Doug Martin will return and the Steelers have been poor against the run, but injury and conditioning concerns will temper any lofty expectations. Bobby Rainey has been fumble prone and will likely see Martin cut into his production.

Either one of them could put up some points, especially if they can get into the endzone. However, with questions at quarterback and either injury or fumble history, fantasy owners will have to wait and see what these backs will offer as fantasy options.

Neither of the Bucs’ leading receivers has found the endzone yet, and the starting quarterback will either be an injured Josh McCown or backup Mike Glennon. In short, there isn’t a lot to like for the Bucs’ offense.

Neither defense is very exciting either. The Steelers do have a favorable matchup, but with three starters out for the contest and an inconsistent track record this far into the season, you can likely find better options.

The Steelers should be able to put up some numbers offensively, and they have a few players that are shaping up to be fantasy studs early in the season.