We’ve heard all the rosy reports on the health of Ben Roethlisberger’s rebuilt elbow. Now it’s time to finally see that joint in action.
He’ll have an enhanced set of pass-catchers at his disposal. JuJu Smith-Schuster has healed from an injury-riddled 2019. Diontae Johnson is off the injury report after sitting out the week’s 1st practice with some sort of foot issue. (He put in full workouts Friday and Saturday.) James Washington returns after serving as the lead downfield threat last season. And Pittsburgh adds TE Eric Ebron and 2nd-round WR Chase Claypool.
RB James Conner has also garnered plenty of workhorse talk from HC Mike Tomlin while charging through a healthy training camp.
They’ll all go up against a Giants defense that has lost its 1st-round CB from a year ago (Deandre Baker) and its 2nd-round safety from this year (Xavier McKinney). Last year’s defense ranked just 22nd in sacks and sack rate, and will need to prove it’s better this time around.
The offense, meanwhile, comes under the tutelage of longtime Cowboys HC Jason Garrett, who hasn’t coordinated an offense since 2010. He gets QB Daniel Jones off a flashy but inconsistent rookie season. And Saquon Barkley should be good in any system. We’ll start to see how the Giants plan to spread targets, though a hamstring injury threatens to take Golden Tate out of the Week 1 mix.
Let’s check the values …
In many cases, we don’t even project the sub-$1,000 salary options in these showdowns. They rarely factor into weekly fantasy football lineups. So the takeaway from the top of this list: We have some low-dollar options in this game that could actually see some work. And any contribution we can get in that range is nice, because the salary helps us get more big-salary, big-projection players into the lineup.
I -- and we -- are much higher on the chances of Pittsburgh’s offensive pieces going of tonight than New York’s. Feel free to play around with your lineup to see what works.
Not a lot of big values on the FD side. Ebron and Boswell look like the best options for salary relief, and the Giants don’t look scary as a coverage matchup for anyone. According to Football Outsiders DVOA, #2 WR was the only position against which they ranked higher than 20th in coverage. Even that spot found them just 15th.
The Steelers, meanwhile, rated tough on both the pass (3rd in DVOA) and run (4th) last season. And I don’t see any reason that will change significantly.