The Pittsburgh Steelers backfield is one of the more confusing ones to figure out for bettors and fantasy owners through the first two weeks of the season.
While Najee Harris – a former first-round pick – is the more highly-touted back, the split between him and backup Jaylen Warren has been near even so far this season.
In Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns, Harris only out snapped Warren by three, and the two saw very similar chances to touch the ball.
Pittsburgh’s offense has struggled to start the season, and with Diontae Johnson on injured reserve, the team needs to get these backs going. Neither has really dominated in their touches, as Warren is averaging less than three yards per carry, while Harris’ numbers are inflated by a few big runs.
Still, there is an argument that Harris deserves some more looks given the fact that he has multiple runs of 15-plus yards on the season.
For bettors, touches are king when looking at the prop market. Whether you are betting an anytime touchdown scorer or a yardage prop over, you want your player to have as many chances with the ball as possible.
So far this season, there isn’t a clear winner in this Harris-Warren backfield battle:
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Najee Harris vs. Jaylen Warren stats in 2023
- Harris: 74
- Warren: 26
- Harris: 2
- Warren: 78
- Harris: 19 (16 carries, three catches)
- Warren: 18 (nine carries, nine catches)
- Harris: 0
- Warren: 0
How to bet on Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren in the prop market
Based on these numbers, there are a few ways bettors can play this.
First off, they should be targeting Warren in receiving yards props and even some catches props. He has 12 targets in two games (six per game), and he’s fifth in the NFL in yards after the catch.
For a back who likely won’t see a receiving prop much higher than 30 yards, Warren could be a steal at some of the lower numbers in the market.
As for rushing props, it appears Harris is still the leader in the clubhouse there.
Not only has he been more effective than Warren, but he’s also seen seven more carries through two games, and that’s even with a negative running game script in Week 1 against San Francisco.
Still, bettors have to beware of the numbers in the prop market for both of these players since they are splitting touches.
Asking either to reach props numbers above 50 yards is tough considering they’re pushing low double-digit touches per game at the moment.
As the season goes on, we’ll likely have a better view of this backfield split, but for now the safest bet is to look for Warren in the passing game and Harris on the ground.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.