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Players To Target Include Jaylen Warren, Najee Harris, Ja’Marr Chase, and Others

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The Pittsburgh Steelers‘ fantasy preview evaluates the value of their committee backfield, while the fantasy football outlook for the Cincinnati Bengals revolves around Ja’Marr Chase’s value after Joe Burrow’s injury.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals

  • Spread: Steelers -1
  • Total: 34
  • Steelers implied points: 17.5
  • Bengals implied points: 16.5

Quarterbacks

An AFC North game featuring the Steelers facing a backup QB. Sound familiar? It should, we saw it last week. And by “saw,” I mean “we have a box score to prove it happened” because the game hardly popped up on “NFL RedZone” and generated very few noteworthy plays.

In that game, there were 71 passes thrown and 271 passing yards accumulated. You read that right. It feels almost impossible in this era of football, but it’s true, and while this week should be slightly better, I’m going out of my way to not be invested in either passing game.

Running Backs

Najee Harris: For reasons unknown, Harris led Jaylen Warren in snaps (33-26) and routes (12-11) last week against the Browns. He ran for just 35 yards (half of which came on a single run) on 12 carries and averaged 1.5 feet per target.

A suspect Bengals run defense as a part of a unit that allows the second-most red-zone trips per game could lead to Harris returning value this week, but he hasn’t been efficient enough to consistently continue to earn work.

I’m skeptical of his value for the stretch run, though one more usable week out of him is certainly possible.

Jaylen Warren: Can we get this man some volume? If you extend Warren’s November numbers in a clear misuse of mathematical skills … 2,086 scrimmage yards.

I’m not suggesting that he’d be an RB1 if given the lion’s share of the work in Pittsburgh, but I’d love to find out what that looks like. Even with the limited usage, he has a 20+ yard carry in three straight games and multiple receptions in nine of 10 games.

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I have him ranked ahead of Harris this week, but in a near-even split, neither should be viewed as anything more than a Flex option, even against the second-worst per-carry run defense in the league.

Joe Mixon: The Steelers get out-gained every week and rank 30th in time of possession. The Bengals are in damage-control mode with a backup quarterback. This looks, on paper, like a high-usage game for Mixon.

The veteran matched a season-high with five catches last week and has cleared 20 receiving yards in four of his past five games, giving him multiple paths to fantasy goodness this week.

The matchup with Pittsburgh isn’t great, but we did see Green Bay Packers RBs run for 105 yards on 22 carries two weeks ago in this spot. Mixon is the clear featured back in this offense and grades out as a viable RB2 for me this week.

Wide Receivers

Diontae Johnson: The past two weeks have been an abject disaster for Johnson managers (three catches on 12 targets for 33 yards), and while the firing of Matt Canada can only help this stagnant offense, we are in wait-and-see mode when it comes to playing any member of this passing game.

We might see an increase in route variation with the switch at OC, but with no teams on a bye this week, why jump the gun on an unknown? The Bengals held Zay Flowers to a 17.4% target share, even with Mark Andrews leaving early, a nod to their ability to lock down the short passing game.

I remain hopeful that Johnson can regain form in time for the fantasy playoffs, but at WR37, he’s not in my Week 12 lineup.

George Pickens: On our Tuesday podcast, Jacob Gibbs laid out a strong case for Pickens to be the primary beneficiary with the change in play-caller, and I tend to buy what he was selling.

Adding branches to his route tree could serve as a floor elevator, and that’s ultra-appealing in a spot where Pickens could access some of his ceilings, given that the Bengals own the highest opponent aDOT by 13.5% this season.

There’s no denying that investing in a Kenny Pickett-led offense is scary, but if I’m flexing one of their receivers, it’s Pickens as I chase his ceiling (three top-20 finishes, two of which were top 10).

Ja’Marr Chase: If you thought deciding whether or not to Flex a receiver under Pickett required mental gymnastics, just wait until you try to project Chase in this Jake Browning-led unit.

MORE: PFN’s FREE NFL Playoff Predictor

Now, Chase has scored in three of his past four games and is facing a defense with the fourth-highest opponent aDOT this season, so don’t count him out. The floor is low, and while the ceiling isn’t what it was with Burrow healthy, the talent at play here has the potential to be QB-proof.

Chase is my WR26 this week, a tick behind his average positional finish since the bye (WR23).

Tee Higgins: We’ll see if the mini-bye allows Higgins to return from this nagging hamstring injury. But even if he’s all systems go, I’m going to have a hard time getting Higgins into my top-35 wide receivers.

How much different is he from Diontae Johnson? In theory, Higgins offers more per-catch upside. But with one catch this season over 21 yards and a 12.9% dip in yards per catch, does he?

Playing with a backup QB is less than ideal. Being injured and thus not able to get on the same page is even worse.

Tyler Boyd: I wouldn’t cut Boyd until we have a feel for Browning’s target preferences, but there’s no way you’re plugging him in this week.

If Browning prefers the short passing game and Higgins’ hamstring continues to plague him, there’s a world in which Boyd holds a palatable PPR floor. That’s not a likely outcome, but it’s non-zero, which has me holding onto him through this week unless pressed to make a move for my Week 12 lineup.

Tight Ends

Pat Freiermuth: After missing more than a month, Freiermuth returned last week and turned in his fourth single-digit receiving-yardage game of the season.

He ran a route on just 42.4% of Pickett’s dropbacks, but part of that low rate was due to Pittsburgh fearing Myles Garrett’s ability to wreck the game.

Freiermuth is going to need a touchdown to pay off playing him most weeks, so I’ll fade him in this low-scoring game (TE16). I’m keeping an eye on his usage because I do think there’s a role available for Freiermuth that allows him to push the top 12 at the position for the stretch run, but I’m not plugging him into any lineups this weekend.

Should You Start Ja’Marr Chase or Drake London?

The risk of Chase makes this a conversation, but I’m still betting on this offense scheming him into the game, a benefit of the doubt I can’t give the Atlanta Falcons. Chase has scored in three of his past four games and has six scores on his ledger over his past six games.

Drake London has cleared 55 receiving yards three times this season, and I’m not overly optimistic that changes this week.

Should You Start Rhamondre Stevenson or Jaylen Warren?

For the rest of the season, I prefer Warren, but this is a Week 12 discussion, and in this matchup, Rhamondre Stevenson’s advantage in the starting role is too much to ignore.

In this spot, a repeat of his 23 touches against the Indianapolis Colts is well within reach and would put him in a position to hold a better ceiling/floor combination than even the most optimistic Warren fan can project.

Looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Setting DFS lineups? Check out PFN’s Free Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer, Start/Sit Optimizer, and DFS Lineup Optimizer to help you make the right decision!

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Taylor Swift Is Shown Chugging a Beer on the Jumbotron at Super Bowl 58

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Global superstar Taylor Swift made it to the big game to support her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce. In the second quarter, it was evident that she was having a good time at the Super Bowl after taking a 12-hour flight from Tokyo the night prior.

Taylor Swift Seen Chugging Beer at Super Bowl

Swift’s attendance has been highly anticipated, as many fans questioned whether she would be able to make it to the big game since she had been in Japan until Saturday for her Eras Tour.

Sure enough, she made it to the Super Bowl and was seen making a grand entrance alongside Blake Lively and Ice Spice.

Swift made it back to the States with plenty of time to make it to Allegiant Stadium to support Kelce. After a leg of her Eras Tour, where she performed several nights in Japan, the singer appeared to let loose.

In a box full of friends, Swift was shown chugging a beer with Ashley Avignone. She was shown on the jumbotron and slammed her cup down after she finished her beer.

There was a mix of cheers and boos as Swift was shown on the big screen, and a long pass to Mecole Hardman was the only highlight of the first half for Swift and her friends. The 49ers led the Chiefs, 10-0, late in the second quarter.

On social media, Swift garnered plenty of support from NFL fans.

If you’re hating on her you can kick rocks man she’s the best,” one user posted on X

“The one thing I learned this season is that she is actually fun,” another said. 

“Booing Taylor Swift chugging a beer is so soft. She’s just one of us now and I respect it ,” another posted. 

At the time of the beer chugging, Kelce, Taylor Swift’s boyfriend, has had one catch for a single yard. It came on the first possession, which ended up being a three-and-out. The Kansas City Chiefs hadn’t done much otherwise.

They did have a deep pass play to Hardman, which put them in the red zone, but Isiah Pacheco fumbled on the very next play — one that Kelce was surprisingly on the sideline for.

Swift and Kelce have garnered much media attention as their romance has taken off throughout this NFL season.

Swift was able to support her boyfriend at many of his games throughout the final stretch of the season, as her Eras Tour was on a break. But starting on Feb. 7, she went back on the road.

MORE: NFL World Reacts to Unbelievable Super Bowl Trick Play

Despite performing in Tokyo the night before the Super Bowl, she was able to make it in time to support her boyfriend due to the time difference and is having a good time doing so.

As the 2023 NFL season comes to a close, the 2024 NFL Draft is on the horizon. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Fantasy Podcast on our Fantasy YouTube channel.





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What Happened to the 49ers Linebacker?

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The San Francisco 49ers sustained a massive blow during the second quarter of Super Bowl 58, as linebacker Dre Greenlaw left the game on a medical cart.

CBS Sports confirmed that the veteran Greenlaw suffered an Achilles tear, ruling him out for the rest of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

What Happened to Dre Greenlaw?

The outside linebacker, who had already been battling past injuries to his hamstrings and calves, left with what appeared to be a leg injury.

And somehow, his left leg looked like it buckled as he tried to trot onto the field with the Niners’ defense.

Greenlaw clutched his left leg in agony before being helped off the field.

CBS Sports sideline reporter Evan Washburn reported that the outside linebacker left with what was ruled as a lower leg injury. He was later determined to sustain an Achilles injury.

Greenlaw was declared out for the rest of the game.

Greenlaw Carted Off in Passenger Seat

Even more noticeable was where Greenlaw sat on the cart.

He ended up leaving not in the back of the medical vehicle but ended up riding shotgun with his leg injury.

One would think that with an injury like an Achilles ailment, medical officials would try to make the player as comfortable as possible before they leave. It wasn’t the case here.

MORE: San Francisco 49ers Depth Chart

Regardless, Greenlaw was replaced by Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles for the rest of the first half. Greenlaw became the most significant injury of the game.

As the 2023 NFL season comes to a close, the 2024 NFL Draft is on the horizon. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

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Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Fantasy Podcast on our Fantasy YouTube channel.





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NFL World Reacts to Epic Super Bowl Intro From CBS

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Super Bowl 58 is here and it’s going to be exciting. The San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs are facing off in the final game of 2023.

CBS is broadcasting the game and the opening was nothing short of amazing. How is the NFL world reacting to the electric Super Bowl-opening video?

Epic CBS Super Bowl Intro Garners Reaction From NFL World

The video, which spanned four minutes and 19 seconds, featured players from both teams talking about the big game and what it means to them. It also featured their families talking about their journeys to this point.

“Amazing intro! Reminds me of my dad! Bravo on the intro!,” one NFL fan said on X (formerly known as Twitter)

Additionally, Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” played in the background, giving it a near-movie feel. “This was incredible.,” another person said on X. “And so, the @49ers and @Chiefs face that final curtain,” CBS Sports said.

The 49ers finished the regular season as the top seed in the NFC with a 12-5 record. After their first-round bye, they defeated both the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions to earn their trip to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl. Both of their victories came in comeback fashion, including an NFC Championship-record 17-point comeback.

The Chiefs, on the other hand, had a more uphill battle. Entering the playoffs as the AFC’s third seed, they finished the regular season with an 11-6 record. In the playoffs, they defeated the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, and Baltimore Ravens to punch their ticket.

Super Bowl 58 is a re-match of Super Bowl 54 when the Chiefs defeated the 49ers 31-24. The win was the first in Patrick Mahomes career, as he also won Super Bowl MVP. Four years later, the Chiefs have made three more and won another. For the 49ers, this is their first trip back to the big game since.

The game kicked off at 6:30 p.m. ET with the 49ers receiving the opening kick. In addition to being broadcast on CBS, the game is also being streamed on Paramount+.

As the 2023 NFL season comes to a close, the 2024 NFL Draft is on the horizon. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Fantasy Podcast on our Fantasy YouTube channel.





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