Once Sam Bradford was ruled out for this game between the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers, everybody had certain expectations for the outcome... and those expectations were met. Exactly what everybody thought would happen happened. Case Keenum doesn't have enough juice to make an offense click, and he certainly is not going to surprise anyone facing a very good Steelers defense at Pittsburgh. It's too much to ask of most quarterbacks, especially Case at the Steelers' home.
With Keenum in, the Steelers just toyed with Minnesota. They did what I think/fear that the Steelers team will do in 2017: Play very good but a little too sloppy to be called 'great.' They can beat any team but they're probably going to lose a couple they shouldn't because they are not meticulous enough. They will win many games because Mike Tomlin lets talent be talent but Ben Roethlisberger is starting to fade/get sloppy and that's a lot to overcome to run through the playoffs and get to the Super Bowl. It's not impossible, and the Steelers may sleepwalk early and then hit the gas later. I still love this team, but they just feel a step short of great. They're going to win the AFC North. They're going to go far into the playoffs. They're going to run into the Patriots and/or the Chiefs and they'll probably lose to them falling short of making it to the Super Bowl. It's been their story for a couple years now. No shame in it but it's reality – Pittsburgh's reality.
The Steelers jumped out 14-0 so quickly, as they should, and then they just kinda meandered around to close out the game. The Patriots try to stick a dagger in their opponents and keep twisting. The Steelers are happy to be a cat batting around a mouse for way too long before it closes the deal in boredom.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- I thought I saw the old Le'Veon Bell (27-87-0, 4-4-0/4) this week. The numbers don’t show it yet but Bell had that old pop, the old hesitation and spurt into his carries. The numbers weren't amazing but I saw a different Bell this week than the lead-ass one Week 1.
I'd be a buy low on Bell for redraft here. You might be able to trade an RB1 of the moment for Bell from a panicky owner. Bell isn't among the top 25 RB scorers in PPR PPG so far, and the 'rust' and 'out of shape' panic is thrown around by the football media. An 0-2 or 1-1 fantasy team that just lost Week 2, if you could craft the right deal pieces... Bell might be a great grab at not unreasonable prices, especially for those who lost David Johnson.
People would take Kareem Hunt from you for Le'Veon Bell in a second in redraft, I suspect. Todd Gurley maybe too.
-- On the opposite end of the RB spectrum, Dalvin Cook (12-64-0, 2-0-0/3)… I still don't see it. Never have, never will. Last week was the time to cash in on him…but nobody I know owns him. I don’t, anywhere.
-- This was a tough game for the Vikings WRs, but can I just say again... Adam Thielen (5-44-0/6). Wow, does he look great. He's going to flirt with WR1 PPR numbers with a healthy Sam Bradford.
-- 2nd year IDP CB Mike Hilton (9 tackles, 2 QB hits) led the Steelers in tackles. I don’t know how. 5'9"/180 UDFA out of Ole Miss with a 4.55 40-time and a 6.86 three-cone. He started as the slot corner and racked numbers. He is giving 100% effort given this chance. He might scrap his way into IDP relevance like Steven Nelson did last year for KC.
-- The Steelers DST has worked well so far, and you got more goods to unwrap ahead. Bears Week 3. Ravens Week 4. Jags Week 5.
Week 6 vs. KC isn’t great but workable. Week 7 vs. CIN is nice. After that, it's time to find a new love.
Week 8 at DET, then a BYE, then possibly Luck-Mariota-Rodgers Weeks 10-11-12. Week 15 vs. New England. Be prepared to change off of or pair another DST with PIT after Week 7.
Snap Counts of Interest…
64 = Artie Burns
64 = Joe Haden
54 = Mike Hilton
37 = Dalvin Cook
22 = Jerick McKinnon
06 = Latavius Murray
18 = Ben Gedeon
00 = Eric Wilson (only Special Teams)