FBG says: Tough matchup. James Conner survived a scare this week when his knee injury proved minor. He's expected to start and carry a typical workload in Week 3, with Jaylen Samuels in his change-of-pace role. Going forward, their primary challenge will be staying efficient as the Steelers revamp their offense on the fly. Mason Rudolph will step in under center, which will almost certainly bring down the passing game's effectiveness to some degree. Conner is a powerful, determined runner, so his week-to-week floor is always fairly solid. But he could struggle for upside without a prolific passing game to keep defenses honest. The Pittsburgh line, led by Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro in the middle, still ranks among the league's best. It's a versatile group, capable of opening holes all over the formation. But there will be more defensive focus upfront now, and Conner likely lacks the speed and explosiveness to manufacture big runs out of nothing. Scatback Samuels, who has taken just five carries thus far, should be more involved going forward. Game flow should keep him on the field more, and his explosive burst will be an asset as the Steelers regroup.
The 49ers were near-dominant against the run in 2018, and after their dominance in Week 2, project to stay that way. On Sunday, they allowed the Bengals just 25 yards over 19 desperate attempts to kick-start the ground game. The game script played a role, with the 49ers jumping ahead 31-10 early in the second half, as did Joe Mixon's injury status. But this was a swarming performance, and much closer to the level of play usually put forth by this unit. The line is stout and packed with playmakers; DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead make for daunting matchups upfront. Rookie Nick Bosa brings even more dynamism to the group, though he failed to make an impact or even record a stat in Week 2. The dominance of this front makes life easier on the mediocre linebacking corps, freeing them up to make unobstructed tackles. Safety Jaquiski Tartt remains a solid contributor in the box, as well. All around, this is not an easy fantasy matchup to exploit. Over their last 18 games, they've allowed only 4 runners to top 70 yards, with just 12 touchdowns along the way.