WEDNESDAY’S DFS NEWS NUGGETS
1. Ben Roethlisberger tears into Martavis Bryant
Martavis has two catches over the last two weeks, playing just 14 snaps in a must-win Week 17 due to a minor neck strain. It’s also possible he was benched after running a bad route that resulted in an interception.
“You have to get tough and you got to make tough plays and make tough catches. You have to find ways to do everything you can to help this team,” Ben Roethlisberger said in this Post-Gazette article.
It’s a quiet trend, but the Steelers appear to trust Markus Wheaton more than Martavis at this point. Via Chris Raybon, Wheaton and Antonio Brown each have 11 red-zone targets over the last six weeks, tied for fourth-most in the league. During that span, Wheaton has averaged 4.6 catches for 79.3 yards with four touchdowns. He costs just $4000 against the Bengals Saturday.
2. Jeremy Maclin skips Tuesday workout, expected to be fine
Maclin came down hard on his hip in Week 17 and was down for a bit. He did finish the game however, suggesting a mere bruise. So Tuesday’s absence from practice is not a concern. A bigger concern for Maclin is a matchup against a red-hot Texans defense that feature Johnathan Joseph playing at an All-Pro level. It’s quite possible Maclin gets shadow treatment in this spot.
3. Heath Miller has destroyed Bengals in two meetings this year
The Bengals give up more catches than anyone in the league to tight ends. That includes an absurd 20 of them to Heath Miller in two matchups this year. Note that Heath averaged 10.0 catches for 85.5 yads on 11.5 targets against the Bengals versus 3.0 catches for 28.0 yards on 4.4 targets in all other games. It makes some sense, as Cincy has sold out to stop Antonio Brown (6-47-1 without Ben and 7-87-0 in Week 14). I have a hard time trusting Heath’s dad-running and low usage all year, but he’s at least in play at $3300.
4. DeAngelo Williams not expected to play against Bengals
The MRI on DeAngelo’s ankle showed no structural damage, but coach Mike Tomlin confirmed the team is preparing Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan Todman to be the backs Saturday night. Fullback Will Johnson could also get some crumbs. Expect Toussaint to start and get a majority of the work, but efficiency is a major concern. We saw what happened in the playoffs last year, when Josh Harris and Ben Tate combined to rush 14 times for 44 yards with no touchdowns against the Ravens (Le’Veon Bell got hurt in Week 17). Meanwhile, Big Ben threw it 45 times.