Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 1:00pm
Line: Steelers -4

Deshaun Watson – Man, the Texans pissed someone off in the NFL scheduling office to have them go against the Chiefs, Ravens, and Steelers in the first three weeks of the year. Not only are they the three top contenders for the AFC title, they all have pretty solid defenses. Watson struggled on Sunday with just one touchdown pass, and the sledding certainly won’t get easier against the Steelers who are allowing about 18 points a game. Watson is a dynamic player and can pull a rabbit out of a hat in any game, but if you do carry a second solid quarterback you might want to have Watson sit this one out for your fantasy team. 

David JohnsonMelvin Gordon fared much better against the Steelers than Saquon Barkley did, but it still wasn’t a great game. David Johnson was also decent against the Ravens, but those that started him likely came away unhappy. That is likely the scenario again this week for those who have Johnson. You can start him if you are in a pinch after the rash of Week 2 injuries, but if he finished with more than 100 total yards you should be surprised. Houston will likely be playing from behind and might have to abandon the run some in the second half. 

Will Fuller – He wasn’t even targeted in Week 2 and spent a lot of time on the sidelines. Raise your hand if you are shocked that something might be wrong with Fuller! It is now Wednesday, and we have not heard of any injury, so you head into Week 3 figuring that Fuller is ready to go. Unfortunately for him, he will face one of the better, and more physical secondaries in the league in Pittsburgh. He is tough to sit when he is healthy considering his injury history, but I can’t say I have the warm and fuzzies in this one for Fuller’s potential output. 

Brandin Cooks – He was widely kicked to the fantasy curb after the very disappointing opening game, but Cooks came back to lead the team in targets and had five catches for 95 yards on Sunday. However, what to expect from him this week against Joe Haden , Minkah Fitzpatrick , and the rest of the Steelers secondary is anyone’s guess. He will still warrant some flex consideration because he only needs a play or two to give you seven or eight fantasy points, but you should keep your expectations under wraps for Cook for Week 3. 

Randall Cobb – As expected, the Texans wide receiver group has been a headache to start the year. Cooks was awful in Week 1 and then followed up with a better game, and Will Fuller disappeared last week. He ended up with a better showing last week with five catches for 59 yards, but barring one of the top two guys being out against such a good defense, Cobb will belong on your bench in this one. 

Ben Roethlisberger – If you had any concerns about Roethlisberger’s elbow coming into the season, hopefully they are now all dashed. He threw the ball 41 times on Sunday for 311 yards and two touchdowns. He now has five scoring throws on the season. He hasn’t exactly played the toughest defenses, but it doesn’t get any harder in Week 3 as they face the Texans who have given up 67 points in the first two weeks. Big Ben is a great start in seasonal leagues, and in GPPs could be a nice difference maker on your roster.  

James Conner – Head Coach Mike Tomlin has told you, when Conner is healthy, he is the guy. He proved that on Sunday when Conner had 16 carries, and waiver wire darling Benny Snell had just three. The issue with Conner is the chance of getting injured again and being pulled from a game. However, when he is healthy, Conner is a difference maker. He comes into Week 3 against a Texans defense that was gashed by Clyde-Edwards Helaire in the opener, and then run through for 230 yards by four Ravens players. Conner is a great start again in Week 3. 

JuJu Smith-Schuster – After a great first game, Smith-Schuster had a healthy eight targets last Sunday which he turned into seven catches for 48 yards. In standard leagues that isn’t a great day, but why the heck are you using standard scoring anyway? The point of this is that the volume is there for Smith-Schuster and it is just a matter of when he will pop off in a week. This game certainly seems like it could be one of those as the Texans secondary has really had their struggles to start the year. Start Juju confidently on Sunday. 

Diontae Johnson – We might see a budding star forming in Pittsburgh. Johnson is becoming a larger focus of the pass game, and led the team in targets with 13, with the next closest receiver having eight. He also scored his first touchdown of the season, and it is becoming very obvious who the number two receiver for the Steelers is. He has had double digit targets in each of the first two games, and Johnson looks like a guy you just plug into your lineups and leave him there, especially against the Texans. 

James Washington – I am starting to view Washington as a touchdown dependent receiver, as the targets just haven’t been there for him in the first two weeks. He had just three catches for 22 yards, and right now appears to only have value if you have suffered a rash of injuries (which is possible) or when bye weeks come along. It isn’t a terrible idea to start him against the Texans, but you likely have better options. 

Chase Claypool – This exciting rookie had an 84-yard bomb of a touchdown reception, but then finished the game with 88 yards. If you want to stash him on your bench you can, but he will need at least one injury to become a bigger part of the game plan. He has not entered fantasy relevance as of yet. 

Summary: The Texans just don’t seem ready to beat good defenses yet. The addition of David Johnson has helped the running game, but they have just had a nightmare run of opposing defenses to start the year. On the other side, Big Ben looks totally back and is throwing like the old days and James Conner looks like 2018 Conner when he is healthy. Houston will get on track this season, but it won’t be this week. 

Pick: Steelers 27, Texans 20