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2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 15: Steelers 19, Titans 13

December 21, 2021 9:01 AM
December 21, 2021 9:01 AM

2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 15: Steelers 19, Titans 13


Two OK fading teams with weak QBs played a game, and somehow the one with the better run game and defense lost. I’m not sure that I’ve seen one Steelers win this year that made any sense to me…just how is it possible they won the game? I don’t think the Steelers have outplayed any opponent in their wins…and they definitely didn’t in their losses. How they have a winning record is why football is great (unpredictable) and maddening (unpredictable).

Tennessee had nearly double the yards as the Steelers and 4x the 3rd-down conversions, but they fumbled 5 times and lost 3 of them, and had 4 turnovers total. The Titans had twice the time of possession…and still lost, somehow. It was a fluke…at just the wrong time.

Tennessee falls to (9-5) and the dream of the #1 seed in the AFC is slipping away since they lost Derrick Henry. The AFC South title is now in jeopardy as well…Indy is just a game behind them now, however the Titans have beaten them twice this season, so it’s really a two-game lead with 4 games left. 10 wins is likely for Tennessee, 11 wins possible…but it’s going to be a limp and stagger to the finish. One more win SHOULD lock up the AFC South, and they have Houston Week 18. We project the Titans will finish with 11 wins and sneak away with the AFC South title.

The Steelers are now (7-6-1)…they’re lucky not to be a 2-3 win team. We see an (8-8-1) finish at best, and no playoffs. However, they do have some hope of winning Weeks 17-18 (CLE-BAL) and winning the AFC North, we just don’t see them doing it…not at all. But…the Steelers have shown anything is possible. 



Fantasy Player Notes…


 -- We were pushing D’Onta Foreman (22-108-0, 2-27-0/3) as the big upside RB of the week, among those flex type/untrusted type names at RB this week. Everything made sense – the flow of the offense starting to go his way the past few games, and especially the opposing defense created a good matchup…the Steelers are dying trying to stop the run. We got what we wanted here for a touch count with pretty good production…except we didn’t get a TD to send it over the top.

What I don’t like here is that Mike Vrabel keeps pushing Dontrell Hilliard (9-49-0, 4-10-0/6) at first, but then quickly goes to Foreman and ends up sticking with Foreman. I’m not sure what he thinks he owes Hilliard, but this offense is so much better with Foreman. Vrabel figured that out here…too late. He should’ve given Foreman 30+ carries pounding away at Pittsburgh up the middle…instead, he got cute with student body pitch sweeps to the outside with Foreman and rare few straight up the middle runs…like what Minnesota did to PIT a week ago. Foreman is an interior pounder, not a sweep guy so much.

However, that it starts for Tennessee, Foreman ends up taking the most touches and is by far their best back by the end…but that’s happening on a suddenly pretty bad offense, so the FF upside is always in question week-to-week – it’s a low scoring offense with too much RBBC ‘sharing’. Foreman is a stable-ish RB2 every week and Hilliard, and Jeremy McNichols (6-26-0, 3-25-0/3) are random PPR Flex/RB3-4 options.


 -- Big Ben (16-25 for 148 yards, 0 TDs/0 INTs) was nothing this week. The only credit I’ll give him is that when the Steelers got the ball, Ben didn’t mess it up. They barely had the ball in the game (just 20 min. time of possession). So, the WR output in this game was garbage…because they didn’t really have much of a chance at that ‘Big Ben is down by 2-3 scores, so now let’s start throwing every play’ type activity to boost targets/catches – thus, the Diontae Johnson’s (5-38-0/5) weak game.


 -- The Najee Harris (12-18-0, 2-8-0/5) mess is not unusual…it’s the norm. Low everything…low yards, low ypc, low yards per catch, low catch count. Facing KC-CLE-BAL to the finish won’t help him boost output.

He’s not in the same class of talent as fellow rookie Javonte Williams, but I guarantee you Najee will be a #1-2-3 overall pick in redrafts and Javonte will be back-end 1st-round or 2nd-round.


 -- Ben and the passing game squashed. Najee had his worst game yet. Blame the oncoming Tennessee Titans defense. They are an inconsistent but rising unit…and the first sign of the oncoming growth is – whacking weaker opponents. They squashed the Steelers here, just their offense gave up 5 turnovers and put them in bad spots too often.

The Titans-DST has potential against SF and MIA the next two weeks but it’s not a sure thing.


 -- Chase Claypool (1-7-0, 0-12-0/2) was key to the Steelers comeback last week, so did he follow that up this week? Nope. No catches on 2 targets. He plays 60%+ of the snaps now…he sees 2-3 flutter ball bombs, completely covered, with him trying to outleap the defender to a typically underthrown ball.

Claypool is a WR3-4 in a world with a ton of random WR3 names you could roll with who work with much better offenses/QBs and play in better weather than what Claypool is stuck with right now.


 -- A couple of Titans IDPs to hit on…

Zach Cunningham (6 tackles) actually started (cut by HOU, picked up two weeks ago) and played 67% of the snaps here. I’m not sure if Cunningham starts when David Long is eligible to return…but it’s not out of the question…he has a relationship with Vrabel back to their HOU days.

DT Naquan Jones (4 tackles, 1 sack, 2 TFLs) has 2.5 sacks in his last five games…4.0 TFLs in that span as well. He’s earning more and more playing time and is perking up for IDP purposes.

Kristian Fulton (3 tackles) is allowing just 47.8% Comp. Pct. on passes thrown against him, with a QB rating of 67.7 allowed this season. He’s getting better and better for this defense – part of the reason for the rise of this entire unit.



Snap Counts of Interest:


48 = Diontae

33 = McCloud

31 = Claypool

17 = Washington


71 = Westbrook-Ikhine

56 = Hollister

28 = Rogers


31 = Foreman

29 = Hilliard

23 = McNichols



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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

Learn more about RC and the Fantasy Football Metrics system >>