Last season, the Steelers limped into the bye week with an injured defense, a rookie quarterback, and an incompetent offense, and they came out and finished the season 7-2. This year they went into their Week 6 bye at 3-2 with an injured defense, a second-year quarterback, and an incompetent offense. Let’s see what they can do coming out of it against the LA Rams in Week 7!
The Steelers are getting Diontate Johnson back to help the offense, but last season Pittsburgh found its identity by running the ball, so we can back the run-game with anytime TD bets this week.
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Steelers vs. Rams anytime TD picks
- Najee Harris (+140)
- Jaylen Warren (+250)
- Zach Evans (+160)
In 2022, Harris scored seven rushing touchdowns and three receiving. Three of those 10 touchdowns came in Weeks 1-8 and seven of those came from Week 10-17, after the Week 9 bye. The Steelers committed heavily to the run game and it’s likely that they will try to do the exact same thing this season. It’s not like Matt Canada is suddenly going to have a new idea.
Harris has not scored a touchdown this year and only has three red zone carries. That’s mostly because the Steelers haven’t spent a ton of time in the red zone. That could change this week and I expect Najee to still be involved, even though he’s the second-best running back on the team.
Now, the best running back on the team. The Steelers love to talk about how they use the bye week to “self-scout” and if they’re being honest in that evaluation, they’ll watch the first part of the season and realize pretty quickly that Jaylen Warren is the best running back on this football team.
Warren is only averaging 3.6 yards per carry and has 34 carries to Harris’s 63. However, Warren is second on the team in catches with 21 on 25 targets and is averaging 7.9 yards per carry. He has one catch on one target in the red zone. The Steelers' offense will be a lot better in the second half if he starts to take control of the backfield instead of Najee Harris.
We can’t just bet on Steelers. Frankly, with their offense, it’s unlikely that they’ll even score more than two touchdowns, so let’s look to the other side for some value.
Last week, after Kyren Williams went out with an injury, Zach Evans got four carries while Ronnie Rivers got just three. Williams is out for this game and Rivers and on IR, so Evans should get the lion’s share of the touches this week.
That’s good news against Pittsburgh because the Steelers are 27th in the league allowing 4.8 yards per carry. The LA run game will be effective and efficient no matter who is at running back. My bet is it will be Zach Evans.
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