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FFL: Week 6 | NFL: Week 6

Steelers-49ers Preview

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Players: Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Raheem Mostert, Donte Moncrief, Joshua Dobbs, Matt Breida, Mason Rudolph, Jeff Wilson

Pittsburgh Steelers newly acquired safety Minkah Fitzpatrick smiles as he warms up during an NFL football practice, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)


Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) passes over Seattle Seahawks nose tackle Bryan Mone (79) in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)


Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger looks at the scoreboard as he walks off the field as time runs out in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks in an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. Roethlisberger did not play the second half of the game. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)


San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida (22) runs the ball during the first half an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)


San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert (31) celebrates his touchdown during the first half an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)


SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Two straight losses to open the year, a season-ending injury to the franchise quarterback, and a West Coast trip to face an undefeated team all add up to many people writing off the Pittsburgh Steelers before the end of September.

That's just the way coach Mike Tomlin likes it.

''I don't care about many people's eyes and things of that nature, man,'' he said. ''We're used to living in the eye of the storm in this business at this level. I do enjoy the challenges and the adversity that the game presents, so from that standpoint it does create a sense of urgency that's a good fuel. But in terms of perceptions and what people are saying outside our organization, it would be tough for me to care less.''

The Steelers (0-2) are counting on that urgency to make up for the loss of Ben Roethlisberger to an elbow injury and help Mason Rudolph succeed in his first career start when Pittsburgh takes on San Francisco (2-0) in the 49ers' home opener on Sunday.

Rudolph, a third-round pick out of Oklahoma State in 2018, beat out Josh Dobbs during training camp to be the primary backup. He played well last week during a half of work against Seattle, completing 12 of 19 passes for 112 yards with two touchdowns and an interception that came off a tipped pass.

Rudolph said he was ready for his moment even if he hadn't even gotten on the field in his first 17 games as a pro.

''There have been plenty of quarterbacks who hadn't played immediately. I was encouraged by that,'' he said. ''I tried to have a long-term mentality and understand that hopefully we play in this game a long time. And as long as I am ready for my opportunity, that's kind of all that matters.''

While the message for the Steelers is hope isn't lost despite the rough start to the season, the 49ers are trying to avoid complacency after opening the season with double-digit wins at Tampa Bay and Cincinnati.

It has been rare success for a team that took until December to win its second game in coach Kyle Shanahan's first season in 2017 and until November last year.

''I think our team is smart enough and knows the deal. There's not one person in our building, at least that I've noticed, that feels like we've arrived by any means,'' Shanahan said.

Here are some other things to watch:

SKULE TIME

The Niners are dealing with their own significant injury with star left tackle Joe Staley out for at least six weeks with a broken leg. Sixth-round rookie Justin Skule will get his first career start in place of Staley, who has started all but four games since 2011.

''It's still the game of football,'' Skule said. ''Just take a deep breath, and don't let anything get too big for myself.''

IF THE SAFETY FITZ

Pittsburgh expects to start newly acquired safety Minkah Fitzpatrick just days after acquiring him from Miami. The Steelers parted with three picks, including a first-rounder in 2020, for the opportunity to bring in the versatile 22-year-old Fitzpatrick. Though Fitzpatrick played multiple positions with the Dolphins, Tomlin expects to ''anchor'' Fitzpatrick at free safety until he gets acclimated.

RUN TO DAYLIGHT

The Niners had a big day on the ground last week, rushing for 259 yards in the team's' sixth-most productive rushing day of the past decade. Making that even more impressive was that the three halfbacks in the game - Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. - all entered the league as undrafted players. That trio combined for 238 yards, the third most by undrafted players in a game since the merger.

MEH MONCRIEF

Steelers wide receiver Donte Moncrief could be out of a starting job just two games into his time with Pittsburgh. Moncrief struggled with drops in the opener against New England and was targeted just once last week against Seattle, a third-quarter pass from Rudolph that smacked off Moncrief's hands and helmet and led directly to an interception. Moncrief, signed as a free agent shortly after the Steelers traded Antonio Brown to Oakland, said he has been pressing.

''I know that we haven't been able to depend on him to this point, so he's got some challenges, and we have some challenges moving forward,'' Tomlin said.

COMING HOME

The Niners won back-to-back road games to open the season for the first time in 30 years. Now they come home for their first game at Levi's Stadium with a winning record since losing to Seattle on Thanksgiving night in 2014. The 49ers haven't had a great home-field advantage since moving into Levi's Stadium five years ago, with empty seats a regular occurrence for a team that has won only 17 games the previous four seasons.

''I don't think we've given our fans a lot to be excited about in the two years I've been here at home or the years prior,'' Shanahan said. ''But, when we have, I think our stadium has been loud.

WEST COAST WOES

Pittsburgh has struggled in recent years when the team plane has pointed toward the Pacific. The Steelers have lost each of their last four games in the Mountain and Pacific time zones dating back to 2015, including road losses to Denver and Oakland in 2018, teams that combined to go 8-22 against the rest of the league.

Player Notes
Tyreek Hill Oct 14 5:23pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill (shoulder) fully participated in practice Monday, Oct. 14. The Chiefs did not practice Monday, so this is an estimation.

Fantasy Spin: Hill returned from injury last week and posted two touchdowns. He is the main option in the passing game for the Chiefs and is a weekly starting option in all fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Patrick Mahomes Oct 14 5:23pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (ankle) fully participated in practice Monday, Oct. 14. The Chiefs did not practice Monday, so this is an estimation.

Fantasy Spin: Mahomes was held under 300 yards for the first time this season in Week 6 but still threw for three touchdowns. He has been completing less than 60 percent of his passes over the last three weeks but is still a must-start option in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Sammy Watkins Oct 14 5:13pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins (hamstring) was limited during practice Monday, Oct. 14. The Chiefs did not practice Monday, so this is an estimation.

Fantasy Spin: Watkins was not able to play in Week 6 but may have a chance to play this week. He would be facing a solid Denver Broncos defense but could still be at least a No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Steve McLendon Oct 14 5:03pm ET

New York Jets DT Steve McLendon (hamstring) and LB Neville Hewitt (stinger) are considered day-to-day because of injuries.

From TheHuddle

Patrick Onwuasor Oct 14 5:03pm ET

Baltimore Ravens LB Patrick Onwuasor (ankle) is considered day-to-day because of his ankle injury. Head coach John Harbaugh said Onwuasor likely will play in Week 7 if he is able to practice this week.

From TheHuddle

Christopher Herndon IV Oct 14 4:53pm ET

New York Jets TE Chris Herndon was activated from the Reserve/Suspended list Monday, Oct. 14. The team also waived LB Frankie Luvu.

Fantasy Spin: Herndon is currently dealing with an injury but should have a role in the passing game when he is healthy. He should be owned in most fantasy leagues and can become a starter at some point this season.

From TheHuddle

C.J. Mosley Oct 14 4:53pm ET

New York Jets LB C.J. Mosley (groin) may be able to participate in practice this week, according to head coach Adam Gase.

From TheHuddle

Trent Murphy Oct 14 4:13pm ET

Buffalo Bills OT Cody Ford (concussion) and DE Trent Murphy (concussion) participated in practice Monday, Oct. 14.

From TheHuddle

A.J. Green Oct 14 3:53pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (ankle) continues to make progress from his preseason ankle injury, but head coach Zac Taylor offered only a 'we'll see' when asked about Green's potential availability for Week 7 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Fantasy Spin: While there is always a chance the Bengals could hold him out until after the Week 9 bye in what is quickly becoming a lost season, there is definitely some incentive for him to give him some time to knock off the rust. There is also no question Cincinnati's offense needs Green, if only because Tyler Boyd has been held in check in three of the last four games. Although the second-half schedule is not particularly favorable for Green, he remains a nice buy-low candidate - albeit with obvious injury risk.

From TheHuddle

Chris Thompson Oct 14 3:33pm ET

Updating a previous report, Washington Redskins RB Chris Thompson (foot) underwent an MRI on his injured foot Monday, Oct. 14. The team is reportedly still awaiting the results.

From TheHuddle

Hayden Hurst Oct 14 3:30pm ET

Baltimore Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst had just one catch for four yards during the win over the Bengals on Sunday. Even with Marquise Brown (ankle) out of the lineup, Hurst continued to be a non-factor in the team's offensive attack. He likely won't have a consistent role moving ahead, especially with Mark Andrews in the mix, but he will be good for an occasional touchdown from time-to-time.

From RotoBaller

Justice Hill Oct 14 3:20pm ET

Baltimore Ravens running back Justice Hill had 31 yards on five carries in the win over Cincinnati on Sunday. With Lamar Jackson going crazy on the Bengals Defense by rushing for 152 yards and a touchdown on 19 attempts, Hill continued to play second fiddle to Gus Edwards, who had just three more yards than the former. Nonetheless, outside of dynasty formats, Hill has relatively no fantasy value at the moment, with that likely to continue until either Mark Ingram or Edwards goes down with an injury.

From RotoBaller

Gus Edwards Oct 14 3:10pm ET

Baltimore Ravens running back Gus Edwards finished with 34 yards on six carries during the win over the Bengals on Sunday. Averaging just over seven touches per game, this type of performance has been the norm for the 24-year-old this season. He should continue to outpace Justice Hill but don't expect much of anything from a fantasy standpoint unless Mark Ingram goes down with an injury.

From RotoBaller

Seth Roberts Oct 14 3:00pm ET

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Seth Roberts pulled in both of his targets against the Bengals on Sunday, finishing with just 23 yards in a game that was highlighted by the play of quarterback Lamar Jackson, who rushed for 152 yards on 19 carries. While Marquise Brown (ankle) wasn't in the lineup, Roberts wasn't able to get anything going. Continue to not expect much from 28-year-old, however, even if Hollywood misses more time in the weeks ahead.

From RotoBaller

Miles Boykin Oct 14 3:00pm ET

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Miles Boykin had two catches (three targets) for 28 yards against the Bengals in Week 6. Though Marquise Brown (ankle) wasn't in the lineup, quarterback Lamar Jackson virtually monopolized the team's offensive attack by rushing for 152 yards on 19 carries. Don't expect much from Boykin moving forward in all formats, even if Hollywood misses some more time.

From RotoBaller

Maurice Canady Oct 14 2:53pm ET

Baltimore Ravens CB Maurice Canady (hamstring) reportedly suffered a hamstring injury of unknown severity in Week 6 versus the Cincinnati Bengals.

From TheHuddle

Willie Snead Oct 14 2:40pm ET

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Willie Snead had three catches for 18 yards on Sunday. With Lamar Jackson and company running all over the Bengals Defense, Snead was unable to get involved despite the absence of Marquise Brown (ankle), who was ruled out for the week. The 26-year-old continues to be included as the No. 3 receiving option outside of Brown and tight end Mark Andrews, often picking up the duo's leftovers from week-to-week. He still has value in deeper PPR formats, with his stock rising if Hollywood misses more time.

From RotoBaller

Jarius Wright Oct 14 2:30pm ET

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Jarius Wright pulled in just one catch for six yards against the Buccaneers in London. With Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, and Curtis Samuel gobbling up most of the targets from week-to-week, Wright has relatively no fantasy value at the moment. If one of those guys gets injured, his stock may rise, but not enough to make a difference from a fantasy standpoint.

From RotoBaller

Antonio Callaway Oct 14 2:20pm ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Antonio Callaway caught two of his four passes for 22 yards in a 32-28 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 6. A week after dropping a would-be touchdown in the end zone, Callaway again struggled to hold onto the ball. He dropped two catchable passes, including one that would have gone for a long gain in the first quarter. The second-year receiver was suspended for the first four games of the season, so it is possible that he is still shaking off the rust. Even so, he will have a tough time making an impact in fantasy as long as Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry are healthy. Callaway has his bye in Week 7 before a tough road matchup against the New England Patriots in Week 8.

From RotoBaller

Jordan Akins Oct 14 2:10pm ET

Houston Texans tight end Jordan Akins pulled in three receptions for 39 yards on Sunday against the Chiefs. With DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller getting the majority of looks from quarterback Deshaun Watson throughout the season, Akins continues to be virtually an afterthought as he received fewer targets than fellow tight end Darren Fells, who finished with seven on the day. Akins still has value in deeper formats, but his success is dependent on whether he can find the end zone, while also hinging on the health of Fells moving ahead.

From RotoBaller