TE David Johnson - Pittsburgh Steelers

6-3, 260Born: 8-26-1987College: Arkansas StateDrafted: Round 7, pick 2009

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Week 12: at Cincinnati Bengals

All TE vs CIN

FBG says: Great matchup. Mason Rudolph escaped last Thursday's melee without a suspension, but he may not be long for the Pittsburgh lineup anyway. He's guided the team to a 4-3 record as the starter, but has yet to show impact-making ability. And last week, a lack of impact wasn't even the problem; sheer ineffectiveness was. Rudolph had his worst game thus far against the Browns, hitting on just 23 of his 44 throws for 221 yards, with a touchdown and 4 interceptions. He was close to a few more giveaways, as well, and has taken a major step backward. Over 4 games since returning from injury, he's produced just 5.9 yards per attempts and 5 touchdowns. His deficiencies have weighed heavily on his receivers, including JuJu Smith-Schuster, who's been held below 45 yards in 4 of his 7 full games since Ben Roethlisberger's injury. He looks unlikely for Sunday after a scary Week 11 concussion, but even if he plays, he'll boast a low fantasy floor. With Rudolph struggling, peripheral options Vance McDonald, Diontae Johnson (also unlikely with a concussion), and James Washington don't factor into the fantasy picture. Names like Johnny Holton, Tevin Jones, and even Deon Cain are now shuffling into this unit, and no one can be trusted. Holton (7 targets last week) could lead the way through all of the injuries, but it's not encouraging that he's caught just a single one of his 13 looks on the season. The Bengals pass defense continues to flounder as one of football's worst. Their raw numbers look passable - they've allowed a middle-of-the-road 266 yards per game and 15 touchdowns. But in terms of efficiency, virtually no unit league-wide has been worse. With little pass rush to speak of, they sit 31st in pressure rate and dead last in sacks. That puts a ton of pressure on the cornerbacks to hold downfield coverage, and they haven't been up to the task. William Jackson and B.W. Webb have been beaten frequently, while safeties Shawn Williams and Jessie Bates have been among the league's weakest in help coverage. The Bengals' soft downfield play has allowed huge games up the seams to the likes of Cooper Kupp (7 catches for 220 yards and a touchdown), Dede Westbrook (6 for 103), and the Ravens tight ends (10 for 131 and 2). Opponents tend to run over these Bengals, which can affect their game flow and volume, keeping raw stats mostly in check. But any passing game - even that of the snakebitten Steelers - takes on a handsome projection boost in this matchup. When these teams faced off in Week 4, Mason Rudolph completed 24 of his 28 throws and fired a pair of touchdowns.

Weekly Performance vs TE 1, TE 12, TE 24

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Schedule

12@ Cincinnati Bengals
13vs Cleveland Browns
14@ Arizona Cardinals
15vs Buffalo Bills
16@ New York Jets
17@ Baltimore Ravens