John HyslopNFLSports

Pittsburgh Steelers 2020 Schedule Review

Pittsburgh Steelers 2020 Schedule Review

Pittsburgh Steelers 2020 Schedule Review

Here is the thing I think a lot of people miss when they talk about the Steelers 2019 season. It really wasn’t that bad. They lost Ben Roethlisberger in the first couple weeks and they still were 8-5 with three games left. Three of those losses came against Seattle, San Francisco and Baltimore, none of which were by more than four points. Keep in mind, this was with Mason Rudolph playing quarterback. There is a lot to be optimistic about in Pittsburgh this season.

As far as fantasy goes, one of my favorite “sleepers” is JuJu Smith-Schuster. I say “sleeper” because he’s currently going as the #14 WR off the board when he could end up being top 5 at the position. I am sure a lot of guys are still sour on him after spending a lot of draft capital to land him last season, only to watch the pick go up in flames. Don’t blame, Ju-Ju though, it wasn’t his fault. The receiver position is tied to quarterback play more than any other and when Big Ben went down last season, Ju-Ju went with him.

Roethlisberger is back this season and with him should come the targets we love for our wide receivers. In Roethlisberger’s last full season (2018), only three receivers saw more targets than Smith-Schuster (Julio, Adams, AB) and very slim margin separated them (NFL leader Julio only saw 4 more targets than Ju-Ju). Of his 166 targets, Smith-Schuster caught 11 passes for 1426 yards and 7 touchdowns. He finished as the #8 receiver in fantasy that season and he wasn’t even the most targeted receiver on his team (Antonio Brown, 168 targets).

The stat I like to use to differentiate wide receivers is red zone targets. In my opinion, those are high value since they produce touchdowns at a higher rate than targets that are not in the red zone. (Think about when you are watching one of your players’ team get into the red zone, you want to see them throw the ball to one of your players for obvious reasons.) In Ju-Ju’s last full season with Roethlisberger healthy (2018), only one player in the NFL had more red zone targets (Zach Ertz, 27) than Smith-Schuster’s 26. This is the same Randy Fitchner offense as it was in 2018 so I doubt much changes in that regard. Ju-Ju is on the last year of his rookie deal and he talked about his “revenge body” here so I feel like the sky is the limit for him this season with Big Ben back at quarterback for the Steelers.

Right now, the Baltimore Ravens are +400 to win the AFC North, -165 to make the playoffs and their win total is set at 9. I think they definitely make the playoffs unless Jackson gets hurt but I will never lay -750. I also think they win the AFC North but that -210 seems a bit rich for my blood so I will lay off. The only thing left to look into would be the win total and the Pittsburgh Steelers 2020 Schedule Review should help with that.

Pittsburgh Steelers 2020 Schedule Review

Week 1 – @ Giants (MNF)

No real advantage other than home field in Week 1. The Steelers are 4 point favorites in this game as of June 6, 2020.

Week 2 – Broncos

The Steelers will be on short rest but so will the Broncos since they also play on Monday Night of Week 1. The Broncos will also have to travel east on top of the short rest which is noteworthy. Denver will go home to play Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in Week 3.

Week 3 – Texans

This is the second straight home game for the Steelers. The Texans will be coming off of a matchup with the Ravens in Houston in Week 2. They return home in Week 4 to play the Vikings.

Week 4 – @ Titans

The Titans take on a non-conference opponent (Vikings) on the road in Week 3. They host to fellow 2019 playoff qualifiers, the Buffalo Bills in Week 5.

Week 5 – Eagles

This is a tough stretch for the Eagles. They go to San Francisco to play the 49ers in Week 4 and then play host the Ravens in Week 6.

Week 6 – Browns

The Browns will be coming off of a home game with a non-divisional opponent (Colts) in Week 5. They will travel to Cincinnati for a showdown with the division rival Bengals in Week 7.

Week 7 – @ Ravens

The Ravens will be playing this right after a non-conference road game against the Eagles in Philadelphia in Week 6. They head into their bye week immediately after this game.

Week 8 – Bye

Mike Tomlin is 9-4 in his head coaching career coming off of a bye week.

Week 9 – @ Cowboys

The Steelers will welcome the extra rest/prep time for this opponent. The Cowboys will be coming off of a road game with a divisional opponent (Eagles) in Week 8. They head to the bye after this game.

Week 10 – Bengals

The Bengals will come into this one off of a bye which is an advantage even if you are the Bengals. They head to Landover to take on the Redskins in Week 11.

Week 11 – @ Jaguars

The Jaguars will return home after playing a non-conference opponent (Packers) on the road in Week 10. They stay home in Week 12 to take on a non-divisional opponent (Browns) in Week 12.

Week 12 – Ravens (Thanksgiving)

The Ravens have a home game against a non-divisional opponent (Titans) in Week 11. They have another home game in Week 13 versus the Cowboys in the Thursday Night slot.

Week 13 – Redskins

This is the second straight home game on top of extra rest for the Steelers. Washington comes into this one with some extra rest of their own after playing the Cowboys in Dallas on Thanksgiving Day. They head to San Francisco for a battle with the 49ers in Week 14.

Week 14 – @ Bills (SNF)

The Bills come into this one on short rest after playing the 49ers in San Francisco in Week 13. They head west again to take on the Broncos in Denver in Week 15.

Week 15 – @ Bengals (MNF)

This will be the last primetime game of the regular season for the Steelers. The Bengals will play their second straight home game after hosting the Cowboys in Week 14. They travel to Houston to play the Texans in Week 16.

Week 16 – Colts

This one is the last home game of the regular season for the Steelers. The Colts will be coming off of a home game with a divisional rival (Texans) in Week 15. They return home to play another divisional rival (Jaguars) in Week 17.

Week 17 – @ Browns

This one could be for a playoff spot since neither team is highly likely to win the AFC North but could still be alive for a wild card spot. The Browns will be returning home from a road game with a non-division opponent (Jets) in Week 16.

I don’t see the Steelers beating out the Ravens for the AFC North unless Lamar Jackson gets hurt. If that were to happen, all bets are off. Going through their schedule, they could easily be 5-2 and maybe even 6-1 going into their bye week. If that were to happen, there seems to be an easy path to 9 wins so that is where my focus will be in terms of season long bets with the Steelers. I do think they make the playoffs but -165 seems a bit pricey.

Pittsburgh Steelers 2020 Schedule Review

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