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FFL: Week 14 | NFL: Week 14

Steelers-Bengals Preview

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Players: Ben Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton, Antonio Brown, A.J. Green, Ryan Finley, John Ross, Joe Mixon, Mason Rudolph, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Benny Snell Jr.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ryan Finley, front, is sacked by Oakland Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby during the second half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)


Cincinnati Bengals fans wears paper bags on their heads during the second half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)


Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin watches during the first half of the team's NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Fans jeer in the stands during the first half of NFL football game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)


Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor reacts during the second half of NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)


CINCINNATI (AP) Andy Dalton could barely protect himself as the Steelers poured through the line, sacking him eight times at Heinz Field in September - one of the quarterback’s worst moments in a nine-year career.

Now it’s rookie Ryan Finley’s turn to feel the heat.

The winless Bengals will see how their fourth-round pick fares against the Steelers’ hard-charging defense Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, where thousands of Pittsburgh fans are expected to make it a challenging atmosphere for the home team. The psychological bruises from that 27-3 drubbing on a Monday night two months ago are still fresh.

“As the game went, we were throwing the ball a lot and they were just teeing off,” first-year coach Zac Taylor said. “It turned into a bit of a horror show there and we’ve got to learn from that.”

Both Ohio River rivals are trying to get beyond a little horror.

The Steelers (5-5) lost Ben Roethlisberger in the season opener and dropped four of their first five, but stabilized behind fill-in Mason Rudolph and a defense that’s been among the league’s best at getting the ball. The momentum was broken last week in Cleveland with a costly 21-7 loss.

Top receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster sustained a concussion and a knee injury. Running back James Connor aggravated an injured shoulder. Rudolph had his helmet ripped off by Cleveland’s Myles Garrett, who then clubbed the quarterback with it, drawing an indefinite suspension. Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey punched and kicked Garrett and got a three-game suspension that was later reduced to two games after an appeal.

It’s quite a challenge for a team that can’t afford to lose this one if it wants to make a playoff run.

“We can’t let off the gas pedal at all,” linebacker T.J. Watt said. “We’re learning that this year.”

They’re heading to a place where they’ve had many season-saving moments. And things have never been more miserable at this side of the river.

At 0-10, the Bengals have matched the worst start in their history and the longest losing streak overall - only the third to drop 10 in a row. In the bigger picture, they’ve lost 12 straight from last season, a club record.

They’re starting a rookie quarterback who has completed only 47.5 percent of his throws and could find himself back on the bench with another bad showing.

“It’s a new week to reinvent ourselves,” Finley said.

LOPSIDED RIVALRY

No matter how much it’s struggling, Pittsburgh usually get things straightened out against the Bengals. In addition to nine straight wins in the series, the Steelers have taken 12 of 13 and 17 of 20. They’ve won six in a row at Paul Brown Stadium, including an 18-16 victory in a first-round playoff game in the 2015 season when Vontaze Burfict’s hit to Antonio Brown’s head set up the winning field goal. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is 20-5 all-time against Cincinnati.

WHERE’S THE BEEF?

The Steelers have one of the NFL’s most experienced offensive lines and have done an excellent job of keeping whoever is at quarterback upright. Pittsburgh has allowed 15 sacks on the season, the second-fewest in the league. The line, however, has struggled to generate much push in the running game. The Steelers are 28th in yards rushing and have had trouble all season converting short-yardage situations. The running game could get some reinforcement if rookie Benny Snell Jr. returns after missing three games because of a knee injury.

“There is a certain meat-on-meat or bone-on-bone element of football that you can’t run away from and short yardage is one of them,” Tomlin said.

FINLEY’S FATE

The Bengals benched Dalton after an 0-8 start so they could see whether Finley fits in their long-term plans. Taylor has left the door open for a return to Dalton if the rookie continues to struggle. The fourth-round pick is having a tough time in an offense with an undependable line and a group of receivers that lacks a deep threat with A.J. Green and John Ross injured. The Bengals have centered the offense on running back Joe Mixon the past two games, but the passing game has been ineffective all-around.

Sometimes in the passing game when we've missed, we haven't been right on a route, we haven’t been great in the protection part, or the throw hasn’t been good,” offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said. “So there’s all these different things where we're just off there. We're kind of going round and round.”

OH! LINE

The Bengals will have a different left side of their offensive line for the rematch. Cordy Glenn is expected back at left tackle after missing 10 games with a concussion and team-imposed suspension. Billy Price has started at left guard for the past five games, replacing rookie Michael Jordan.

Player Notes
Green Bay Packers Dec 7 12:10am ET

The Green Bay Packers Defense gets a juicy Week 14 matchup against rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins and the Washington Redskins. For the season, Washington ranks in the bottom-10 of the league in points scored, sacks allowed, and interceptions thrown. Haskins has been sacked 14 times in the last three games combined. Green Bay ranks in the bottom-10 of the league in QB pressures but should have no trouble against Washington's offensive line.

From RotoBaller

Mason Crosby Dec 6 11:50pm ET

Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby will face the Washington Redskins in Week 14. The 35-year-old ranks 17th in fantasy points scored by kickers and only 26th in field goal attempts. Crosby has been money on extra points this year, sporting a 33 of 33 mark. He should have a chance to bolster these numbers against a Redskins team that allows 24.2 points per game, 21st in the NFL. Crosby should be able to nail at least a field goal and three extra points against Washington.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Garoppolo Dec 6 11:40pm ET

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is a middling QB2 in Week 14 against the New Orleans Saints. With a 101.2 quarterback rating, Garoppolos season-long body of work looks great but hes surpassed 300 yards just twice and committed 14 total turnovers. Facing a challenging Saints Defense on the road, Garoppolo will likely be tasked to pace with the Saints but will have his healthiest receiving corps in weeks. In a potential shootout, Jimmy G may have upside, but his volatile results dont render him a trustworthy fantasy quarterback in the vital playoff weeks.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Graham Dec 6 11:30pm ET

Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham gets a good matchup against the Washington Redskins. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter because the 32-year-old has seen a steady decline in snaps over the last three weeks. Graham even had a touchdown snatched away from him by backup tight end Mercedes Lewis. There's also the fact that he's registered only one catch in back-to-back games. Even the neediest of tight end needy fantasy owners should stay away from Graham this week.

From RotoBaller

Allen Lazard Dec 6 11:10pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard will take on the Washington Redskins in Week 14. The rookie had a career-high 103 receiving yards against the Giants last week. Lazard has out-snapped fellow receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling in three consecutive games. Unfortunately, that role hasn't lent a ton of volume, as his season-high for targets is six. Still, Aaron Rodgers seems to trust him- and he doesn't throw trust around lightly. It's worth noting that each of his three catches from last week went for 20-plus yards, giving him a boom-or-bust outlook. It's best to avoid Lazard this week.

From RotoBaller

Davante Adams Dec 6 10:40pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams gets a Week 14 matchup with the Washington Redskins. Adams is on a hot streak, with at least seven catches in four straight games and three touchdowns in his last two contests combined. He's been the Packers' undisputed number-one pass catcher this year, with 79 targets in eight games- the next closest is Aaron Jones with 52 in 12 games. That kind of volume makes him a must-start every week and especially against Washington. Like the Giants, the Redskins don't have anyone who can slow Adams down. Start him as a high-end WR1 this week.

From RotoBaller

George Kittle Dec 6 10:30pm ET

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (ankle) needs no introduction for Week 14s matchup against the New Orleans Saints. Pro Football Focus highest-graded tight end since 2006 will be a premium TE1 against a battered Saints linebacking corps on Sunday. Kittle was muted in Week 13s rainy contest but should reemerge as the focal point in the Niners aerial attack in the dome. Despite missing two games and hobbled by a lingering ankle injury, Kittle leads Niners pass-catchers in all relevant metrics and should be treated accordingly this weekend.

From RotoBaller

Tevin Coleman Dec 6 10:20pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman needs to prove his worth in Week 14 against the New Orleans Saints. Coleman helplessly watched backup Raheem Mostert notch 154 yards and a score in Week 13 as he managed just six touches for 15 yards. The de facto starter has struggled for six straight games, opening the door for a surging Mostert. With Matt Breida (ankle) also expected back in the mix, Coleman is a volatile RB3 against a tough Saints rush defense. Ideally, Coleman is positioned for double-digit touches this Sunday but with the Niners not shy to leverage the hot hand, fantasy managers will hope he capitalizes on his shrinking opportunities.

From RotoBaller

Jamaal Williams Dec 6 9:50pm ET

Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams (knee) draws a great matchup against the Washington Redskins in Week 14. Williams was limited in practice this week but will play on Sunday against the Redskins' 27th-ranked run defense. The 24-year-old has been on a roll, with at least 13 touches and 50 scrimmage yards in each of the last three games. Fellow back Aaron Jones is still "the guy" in Green Bay, though Williams' recent production guarantees him a role. The Redskins have allowed two backs to exceed 50 scrimmage yards five times this year. Jones and Williams are a good bet to make this the sixth time. Start Williams in the flex spot this week.

From RotoBaller

Brandin Cooks Dec 6 8:50pm ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks has caught four passes for 56 yards in two games since returning from a concussion. He's still worth holding onto, but he can't be played against the Seattle Seahawks this week.

From RotoBaller

Greg Zuerlein Dec 6 8:50pm ET

Los Angeles Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein hasn't had a lot of opportunities lately. He's 6-for-8 in field goals and 7-for-7 in extra points the last four games. The Seattle Seahawks are a midrange matchup, and he's a sketchy low-end kicker this week.

From RotoBaller

Los Angeles Rams Dec 6 8:50pm ET

The Los Angeles Rams Defense has been stout of late with 15 sacks, two fumble recoveries, two picks, a safety and two touchdowns in the last four games. The Seattle Seahawks have allowed opposing defenses the most fantasy points over the last five weeks. They've surrendered two touchdowns, 16 sacks, six fumble recoveries and three picks in the last four games. The Rams Defense is a midrange option to start this week.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Donald Dec 6 8:50pm ET

Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald broke free for 1.5 sacks against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13. He now has sacks in six of the last seven games, and the Seattle Seahawks have allowed 16 in the last four. Donald won't offer much outside of that category, but he is a low-end DL1 option this week.

From RotoBaller

Jared Goff Dec 6 8:40pm ET

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff ended a three-game touchdown drought with 424 yards and two scores last week against the Arizona Cardinals. He'll have a tougher matchup against the Seattle Seahawks, but it's within reason to start him. He had 395 passing yards, one score and one pick against them earlier in the season. Goff is a feast-or-famine QB1 in Week 14.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Jones Dec 6 8:40pm ET

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones will face the Washington Redskins in Week 14. The 24-year-old has been hard to trust lately, as he's failed to score a touchdown or eclipse 50 scrimmage yards in three of his last four games. Jones may have been battling through a sore ankle against the New York Giants last week, which helps explain the poor performance. The good news for Jones is, he's healthy coming into a game against the league's 27th-ranked rushing defense. Add in the fact that last week, he saw the highest number of targets since his Week 8 explosion against Kansas City- and it's easy to see him breaking out this week. Keep the faith in Jones as an RB1 against Washington.

From RotoBaller

Todd Gurley Dec 6 8:40pm ET

Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley has turned a corner the last few weeks since the Rams started using him more. He's averaging 4.2 yards per carry after his average was under four for most of the season. He has a midrange matchup against the Seattle Seahawks this week. Gurley rushed 15 times for 51 yards and two scores against the division rival earlier this year. He's a high-end RB2 in Week 14.

From RotoBaller

Cooper Kupp Dec 6 8:40pm ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp got back on track against the Arizona Cardinals after two clunker weeks. Kupp's problem is that he has had a few massive games and a few invisible games. Which Kupp you'll get on a weekly basis is unknown. Quarterback Jared Goff has really connected with Robert Woods and targeted him an absurd 18 times last week. Kupp has suffered due to this. He has a midrange matchup against the Seattle Seahawks, and he had nine catches for 117 yards and a score against them earlier this season. Look at him as a high-end WR2.

From RotoBaller

Robert Woods Dec 6 8:40pm ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods had his second 13-catch game of the season last week. In those two games, he has 26 grabs for 336 yards. In the other nine games, he has just 38 catches for 499 yards, and he hasn't scored a touchdown all season. The Seattle Seahawks provide a midrange matchup this week, but don't fall head over heels for Woods because of last week's binge. He had five grabs for 48 yards against the Seahawks earlier this season, and he's a midrange WR3.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Rodgers Dec 6 8:20pm ET

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will get a favorable matchup against the Washington Redskins in Week 14. Rodgers is coming off a 243-yard, four-touchdown performance against the New York Giants. Like their NFC East counterpart, the Redskins struggle to defend opposing quarterbacks, as they rank 20th in fantasy points allowed to the position. Look for the veteran signal-caller to air it out a couple times against Washington's suspect secondary. The only downside is game script- the Packers are nearly two-touchdown favorites and could jump out to a lead, limiting the pass attempts for the 36-year-old. Even in that scenario, Rodgers likely still ends up with at least 250 passing yards and two touchdowns, making him a solid QB1.

From RotoBaller

Jamaal Williams Dec 6 8:00pm ET

Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams (knee) and tight end Jimmy Graham (calf, wrist) have no injury designations and will suit up on Sunday against the Washington Redskins. Both players logged two limited practice sessions, though both are healthy enough to play. Williams has flex appeal against the Redskins' 27th-ranked run defense while Graham is a touchdown-dependent TE2, despite his favorable matchup.

From RotoBaller