Week 1 Fantasy Picks: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em for Steelers vs Bengals

Larry Rupp
Fantasy football picks for the Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cincinnati Bengals Week 1 matchup, including Pat Freiermuth, Joe Mixon and Tyler Boyd.
Fantasy football picks for the Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cincinnati Bengals Week 1 matchup, including Pat Freiermuth, Joe Mixon and Tyler Boyd. / AP Photos/Jeff Dean

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals meet head-to-head in a Week 1 AFC North rivalry game to kick off their 2022 NFL seasons. FanDuel Sportsbook has the Bengals slated as a 6.5-point home favorite in a game that could easily come down to a few plays in the fourth quarter.

If you need some help with your fantasy lineups, here's some start 'em, sit 'em advice for this Week 1 showdown.

Pat Freiermuth Fantasy

Start Pat Freiermuth, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers: There's one position the Bengals struggled to cover last season and that was at tight end. Cincinnati gave up the seventh-most PPR fantasy points to opposing TEs last season and that bodes well for Pittsburgh's Pat Freiermuth. Freiermuth scored a touchdown in both of his matchups against Cincinnati in 2021 and was a constant red zone mismatch, tallying 3 of his 20 red zone targets. Those 20 red zone opportunities ranked tied for the ninth most in football last year. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is going to need time to gel on offense, so look for him to opt for short-yardage options more often than players running deep routes. Don't be too shocked if Freiermuth sees double-digit targets in a game for the first time in his career.

Joe Mixon Fantasy

Start Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: It's safe to say that Joe Mixon likes playing against Pittsburgh. In fact, he finished as the No. 2 RB in PPR-scoring leagues during a Week 12 matchup against the Steelers in 2021. Overall, the sixth-year pro torched the Steelers for 255 rushing yards and two touchdowns in two games played against them last year. While Pittsburgh's front office made some offseason moves to upgrade the defensive line, this is still a team that posted the sixth-worst rush defense DVOA rating last year. It's going to take some time for them to improve in that area. Start Mixon with confidence on Sunday.

Mitchell Trubisky Fantasy

Sit Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Mitchell Trubisky may have been named the starting quarterback by head coach Mike Tomlin, but he has no business being in your starting fantasy lineup. Trubisky has had to learn an entirely new offense in training camp after spending last season as a backup to Josh Allen in Buffalo. His upside comes in his ability to scramble out of the pocket and extend plays using his legs. That may not come in handy against a Bengals' defense that gave up the 10th-fewest rushing yards to opposing QBs last season, though. Trubisky will only be worth starting during his most advantageous matchups on the schedule.

Tyler Boyd Fantasy

Sit Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: There's going to be matchups this season that work in Tyler Boyd's favor and make him a viable FLEX option. However, Week 1 is not one of those matchups. Across 10 career games against Pittsburgh, Boyd has only racked up 391 yards and 4 touchdowns on 37 receptions. He was also held under 40 yards in each of his games against the Steelers in 2021. Head coach Mike Tomlin's team struggled to keep opposing wide receivers out of the end zone last year, but that helps Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins more than it does Boyd. Keep him on the bench here. His 7 red zone targets clearly ranked behind both Chase (12) and Higgins (11).

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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.