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FFL: Week 7 | NFL: Week 7

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
Geoff Swaim Oct 18 2:30pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Marqise Lee (ankle) and tight end Geoff Swaim (ankle, concussion) have both been ruled out for Week 7 against the Bengals. Neither Lee nor Swaim have moved the fantasy needle this year for the Jaguars offense. If Dede Westbrook can't give it a go, it'll be either C.J. Board or Keelan Cole as the team's No. 3 wideout behind D.J. Chark and Chris Conley on Sunday. With James O'Shaughnessy on Injured Reserve, rookie Josh Oliver will become the team's primary tight end if he can make his season debut. Stay away from the tight end position in Jacksonville, however.

From RotoBaller

Wil Lutz Oct 18 2:30pm ET

New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz could be in for a tough game against the Chicago Bears in Week 7. Lutz has been excellent, ranking eighth in the league among kickers with 54 fantasy points this season. Unfortunately, the Bears Defense ranks third in the NFL in fantasy points against kickers. In what could end up being a low-scoring game, Lutz may not see enough red-zone chances to put up fantasy points. Given how good he's been, he's still a start in this one, albeit a risky one.

From RotoBaller

Joe Flacco Oct 18 2:30pm ET

Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio said he's considering major changes on offense after the blowout loss to the Chiefs on Thursday night, but moving away from quarterback Joe Flacco is not one of them. The main reason is that current backup Brandon Allen wouldn't be a realistic solution. However, rookie Drew Lock is nearing a return from his injury and will be a viable alternative later in the year if Flacco continues to look terrible under center. The 34-year-old has shown that he has basically nothing left. He's gone over 300 yards passing in a game just once this year and has six touchdowns and five interceptions in seven games. Flacco is a low-end QB2 with pretty much no upside.

From RotoBaller

Dede Westbrook Oct 18 2:20pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook (shoulder) is listed as questionable for Week 7 against the Bengals. We still expect Westbrook to play, but you'll need to check the Sunday morning inactives just to be sure. Against a Cincinnati team missing their starting cornerbacks, Westbrook will be a high-end WR3 if he's active. If he's ruled out, D.J. Chark and Chris Conley will operate as quarterback Gardner Minshew's top two wideouts.

From RotoBaller

Delanie Walker Oct 18 2:10pm ET

Despite missing practice on Friday, Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker (ankle) is likely to play in Week 7 against the Chargers. Walker has been playing through an ankle injury and should do so again this weekend. He's been extremely unproductive lately, though, and it may be a combination of his injury and the team's inept offense under quarterback Marcus Mariota. The good news is it'll be Ryan Tannehill under center this Sunday, but that may not be much of an upgrade. Treat Walker as a TE1/2 in this run-first offense. He has more volatility as long as he continues to play injured.

From RotoBaller

Parris Campbell Oct 18 2:10pm ET

Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich has ruled out rookie wide receiver Parris Campbell (abdomen) for Week 7 against the Texans. It'll be Campbell's second straight missed game. The rookie is strictly a stash in dynasty/keeper leagues at this point. In his absence, it'll be Zach Pascal, Deon Cain and Chester Rogers fighting for more playing time behind T.Y. Hilton. All three are merely dart throws in DFS in deeper leagues in this run-first offense, although Houston's secondary is known to give up big plays through the air.

From RotoBaller

Jared Cook Oct 18 2:10pm ET

New Orleans Saints tight end Jared Cook (ankle) is currently questionable to suit up for Week 7 against the Chicago Bears after missing two consecutive days of practice. If he does play, Cook gets a stingy Chicago Bears Defense that is surprisingly susceptible to opposing tight ends, ranking 23rd in the league in points allowed to the position. Cook has yet to go over 50 receiving yards in a game but has found the end zone in back-to-back games. He's a risky TE1/2 because of the injury tag and the fact that quarterback Teddy Bridgewater may struggle with accuracy against the Bears defense.

From RotoBaller

Chad Henne Oct 18 2:00pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Chad Henne (ankle), who broke his ankle in training camp, is "getting close," according to head coach Andy Reid. "Hes getting there. Hes been working his tail off. I havent taken him out there and thrown with him and done all that so I cant tell you how all that is gone," Reid said. Patrick Mahomes (knee) is expected to miss at least three weeks with a dislocated kneecap, so Henne could become an option to start games in the near future if Matt Moore isn't getting the job done. Even with options around them in the offense, neither Moore nor Henne would be much more than desperation options in two-QB leagues.

From RotoBaller

Marquez Valdes-Scantling Oct 18 2:00pm ET

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said wide receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle, knee) and Geronimo Allison (chest, concussion) have 48 hours to "see if they come around" for Week 7 against the Raiders. The Packers are holding out hope, but MVS and Allison are extremely risky flex options in deeper leagues. MVS hasn't really taken advantage of Davante Adams (toe) being out the last couple weeks. If MVS and Allison are out on top of Adams, it'll be Jake Kumerow and Allen Lazard as quarterback Aaron Rodgers' top two receiving options. Kumerow and Lazard will be DFS sleepers and flex plays in deeper leagues, but the Packers will likely continue to lean heavily on the run.

From RotoBaller

Cincinnati Bengals Oct 18 2:00pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals cornerback William Jackson (shoulder), cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (knee) and defensive end Carl Lawson (hamstring) have all been ruled out for Week 7 against the Jaguars. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap (knee) is also doubtful. The bad news continues for the 0-6 Bengals. Cincy actually hasn't been that bad against opposing wideouts this year, but not having their top corners for this one will make Jaguars receivers D.J. Chark and Dede Westbrook pretty appealing for fantasy purposes. Stay far away from Cincinnati's defense/special teams.

From RotoBaller

Philip Rivers Oct 18 1:50pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers left tackle Russell Okung (heart) said that he could return as early as Week 7 against the Titans. Currently on the Physically Unable to Perform list, Okung has yet to play this year. It's great news for a Chargers offensive line that hasn't been giving quarterback Philip Rivers much time to stay in the pocket and deliver accurate passes. It still seems unlikely that Okung returns this quickly, but it's certainly something for Rivers and the Chargers offense to look forward to.

From RotoBaller

Davante Adams Oct 18 1:50pm ET

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur has ruled out wide receiver Davante Adams (toe) for Week 7 against the Raiders. It'll be Adams' third straight missed game while dealing with turf toe, and he'll be questionable for Week 8, at best. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers' fantasy luster hasn't been as strong without Adams in the lineup, and he could also be missing Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison this Sunday as well. Consider Rodgers more of a high-end QB2 this weekend with all the injuries to his receiving corps.

From RotoBaller

Arizona Cardinals Oct 18 1:40pm ET

Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said that the team won't trade cornerback Patrick Peterson. "Why trade a player in his prime at one of the hardest positions to find for a maybe or a couple maybes? Love what Pat brings to the locker room, love what he brings to the field," Keim said. Peterson is returning from a six-game suspension to face the Giants in Week 7. The Cardinals have been one of the worst at defending opposing wideouts so far this year, so his return should help them in that department. However, the Cardinals Defense/special teams still can't be trusted in fantasy.

From RotoBaller

Andy Dalton Oct 18 1:40pm ET

The Cincinnati Bengals suspended left tackle Cordy Glenn for one game on Friday for internal disciplinary reasons. Glenn and the Bengals are at odds over the handling of his concussion, and he got into a heated argument with team officials on Wednesday. Glenn has yet to play this year and won't return until at least Week 8. It's more bad news for an offensive line that's been one of the worst in the NFL through the first six weeks. It's part of the reason they're 0-6. Quarterback Andy Dalton will face a Jaguars Defense without cornerback Jalen Ramsey this Sunday, but he's still a mostly unappealing QB2 for however long A.J. Green (ankle) is out.

From RotoBaller

DeSean Jackson Oct 18 1:30pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (abdomen) isn't expected to play on Sunday night against the Cowboys. Jackson is improving, but it looks like the Eagles aren't ready to throw him out there just yet despite the important divisional battle against Dallas. D-Jax hasn't played since Week 2, and his absence as the team's deep threat has affected the offense. Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Mack Hollins will continue to work in three-wide sets, with Jeffery being the only real fantasy asset for starting lineups. There's a better chance that Jackson will return in Week 8, but it's not a guarantee.

From RotoBaller

Devin Singletary Oct 18 1:30pm ET

Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott said that rookie running back Devin Singletary (hamstring) is trending in the right direction to play in Week 7 against the Dolphins. Miami's defense is as good of a matchup you'll find in the NFL, but Singletary will likely play second fiddle to veteran Frank Gore if he returns to action this Sunday. Still, with a matchup this nice, Singletary will have RB3/flex appeal in deeper leagues if he's active. Running back T.J. Yeldon will move back to the bench if Singletary returns.

From RotoBaller

Sterling Shepard Oct 18 1:20pm ET

New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (concussion) will not be cleared to play in Week 7 against the Cardinals, according to sources. Week 8 is also an uncertainty for Shepard as the Giants take caution with his head injury, the second concussion he's suffered in a four-week span. You can remove Shepard from your fantasy lineups now, and he'll be questionable, at best, for next weekend. With Shepard out another game, it's good news for Golden Tate as a high-end WR3 out of the slot. The Cardinals will be getting cornerback Patrick Peterson back, but he's unlikely to work the slot. Tate's upside won't be as high with tight end Evan Engram and running back Saquon Barkley returning, but he should still be able to put up decent fantasy numbers in a great matchup.

From RotoBaller

Saquon Barkley Oct 18 1:10pm ET

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley and tight end Evan Engram have been cleared for Sunday's contest against the Cardinals and appear to be set to return to their full workloads. Both should immediately be inserted back into lineups with elite matchups against an over-matched Cardinals Defense. Engram's return does knock Golden Tate's value a bit for this week, and Barkley's return means Daniel Jones will be asked to throw the ball much less; however, this is great news overall for the Giants offense and perhaps the defense as well since the Giants will be able to sustain drives and give their defense a rest.

From RotoBaller

Patrick Mahomes Oct 18 1:10pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (knee) suffered a right patellar dislocation in the second quarter during a QB sneak on Thursday night against the Denver Broncos, according to a source. He is undergoing an MRI exam on Friday to determine if there is any ligament damage, but the best-case timeline for Mahomes "would be around three weeks." Mahomes has been in good spirits about the injury, but he's definitely expected to miss some time. He had also been playing through an ankle injury he suffered in Week 1. Backup Matt Moore took over and went 10-for-19 for 117 yards and a touchdown. He has weapons around him but will be a low-end QB2 for however long Mahomes is out. You'll obviously need to stash last year's MVP on your bench and hope for a quick return.

From RotoBaller

Amari Cooper Oct 18 1:10pm ET

Dallas Cowboys wide receivers Amari Cooper (ankle, quadriceps) and Randall Cobb (back) are both expected to return to practice on Friday and play against the Eagles in Week 7 on Sunday night, according to sources. The same can be said for offensive tackles Tyron Smith (ankle) and La'el Collins (knee). Cooper and Cobb were trending towards not playing, but it looks like both receivers will give it a go. With that said, both could be extremely limited, making them both risky fantasy plays this weekend despite the excellent matchup. Expect them both to be listed as questionable for this divisional tilt. Either way, Michael Gallup has an opportunity for a big game this Sunday.

From RotoBaller