The Pittsburgh Steelers have a wide receiver problem, in that they have two guys to play one role in their offense. This is fine for the happy-go-lucky rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster, and… well… less alright with Martavis Bryant. That’s understandable, given that Smith-Schuster usurped Bryant and put him straight onto the backburner. Smith-Schuster is dealing with a hamstring injury and is no strong bet to play. Even if he is healthy, he isn’t a recommended fantasy football play given he would be somewhat hobbled and splitting snaps with Martavis Bryant. If JuJu isn’t around, should you roll with Martavis Bryant this week as the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals?
Martavis Bryant likes to think that JuJu Smith-Schuster is significantly eating into his production this season, given that Smith-Schuster is getting all the accolades and praise, and Bryant was left inactive for a game for pouting. The reality is that with or without Smith-Schuster, Martavis Bryant hasn’t been consistently productive this season. He’s had serious focus problems and drops problems this year, and hasn’t really been consistently useful as a result. That’s independent of Smith-Schuster. In games with JuJu, he has 7.19 PPR points, which is essentially useless. Without JuJu? That is just 8.75… not much of an improvement without him. That’s knock number one: Bryant’s focus, or lack thereof, make him an unreliable player, even in PPR.
Can Martavis overcome that inconsistency this week in Cincinnati? Unfortunately, all signs point towards no. The short reason is that the Bengals allow the third-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers on the year. The long answer is that the Bengals have allowed two wide receivers to get double-digit fantasy points in the same game just once, and Antonio Brown will definitely be getting his. The double-WR-double-digit game was week three against the Packers, where Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams managed the feat. Since then, not only have no #2 WRs had double-digit fantasy games, only two WRs total have done that since the Green Bay game. That’s nine weeks of continued dominance against wide receivers.
Martavis Bryant was supposed to be a breakout fantasy football WR2 this season, but that did not play out as planned. Instead, he’s become a matchup-based play, partially due to the emergence of JuJu Smith-Schuster, and partially because of his own ineptitude and incompetence. This week, he takes on a Bengals team that allows almost no fantasy points per game to wide receivers. Leave Martavis Bryant on the bench this week, whether Smith-Schuster plays or not. And look at that, an entire article about how Martavis Bryant is a bad play without even talking about how Ben Roethlisberger is destined to suck against the Bengals on the road.
And he will suck.