Week 2 of the NFL season wrapped up with an AFC North matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals. This game was a battle of defenses as the game was tied at 10 at halftime. Each team punted the ball seven times. The Bengals looked a lot better than the Steelers on both sides of the ball. The Bengals sit atop the division tied with the Baltimore Ravens at 1-1. The Steelers are at the bottom with an 0-2 record.
From a fantasy standpoint, there was a lot that stood out from this game. Here’s what we learned on Monday night:
The Steelers are a struggling team right now. Ben Roethlisberger finished the game 20-for-37 with 251 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Looking back, he’s had problems with the Bengals’ defense. In the two games last year, he had 498 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.
With the injury to Maurkice Pouncey, the offensive line has had problems protecting Roethlisberger. The two main receiving options for the Steelers — Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders — had 11 catches for 135 yards and no scores. The Steelers’ only touchdown came from a one-yard pass to Derek Moye. Who? Exactly.
The running game looked even worse for Pittsburgh. Felix Jones started the game and rushed 10 times for 37 yards. The team combined for 44 yards on 16 carries. With an ineffective passing game, the running game will not succeed. Jones may start games, but this is a clear running back-by-committee situation as Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman also carry the ball. There are no Pittsburgh running backs I would want to own.
Andy Dalton had a pretty good first half, going 16-of-32 for 165 yards and a touchdown to Giovani Bernard. A.J. Green had four receptions, while Mohamed Sanu, Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert had three receptions each. Dalton spread the ball around to his three wide receivers and two tight ends.
Green is the only receiver to own for the Bengals. Sanu is a player to keep an eye on, but not worth starting. Gresham and Eifert were tied for the team lead with 66 yards. Gresham is still the No. 1 tight end, but Eifert is playing more and more. Look for the Bengals to use more two-tight end sets a la the New England Patriots.
BenJarvis Green-Ellis is listed as the No. 1 running back on the depth charts. However, his fantasy value is slowly dropping with the emergence of Giovani Bernard. He had eight carries for 38 yards (4.75 YPC) and a touchdown. He also had a 27-yard reception and another touchdown. Green-Ellis had 75 yards on 22 carries (3.41 YPC).
If he wasn’t drafted, grab Bernard as soon as possible, because it won’t be much longer before he is the Bengals’ starting running back.