For the majority of the year, the Pittsburgh Steelers were barely able to get anything going on the ground. In the past two games, it has been a completely different story, as they are averaging nearly 185.5 rushing yards per game. Both Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren have been solid of late, but which one is the right pick to start in your fantasy football lineup?
Let’s take a look at each player heading into a key AFC North showdown with the Cleveland Browns.
Should You Start Najee Harris or Jaylen Warren This Week?
In the Pro Football Network Start/Sit Optimizer, our Consensus Rankings say that Warren is the player to start. His projected 10.4 points include 35 rushing yards, four catches, and 27 receiving yards. That projected stat line narrowly outperforms Harris’ consensus projections (10.1 points).
Warren has continued to emerge as a focal part of this offense, and I’m going to agree with the optimizer on this one.
Fantasy Outlook for Warren This Week
Warren has continued to get more snaps and touches in the past three games. His rushing yard totals have gone from 19 to 88 to 101(career-high) in last week’s win over the Green Bay Packers. It isn’t that he’s getting a ton of carries, but Warren is averaging 7.3 yards per carry in the past two games.
He has shown more explosiveness and big-play potential than Harris. Warren has nine runs of at least 10 yards over the last two weeks, and no other player in the NFL has more than six over that span.
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He doesn’t get the ball a ton, but Warren has shown the more touches he has in a game, the more likely the Steelers are to win. He’s had 10+ rush attempts in each of the last two games, and since joining Pittsburgh in 2022, the Steelers are 4-0 in games when Warren has surpassed that mark.
Both of these guys have been putting up good numbers recently and have earned the right to be considered for your lineup. The receiving ability out of the backfield is the difference, as Warren has 31 catches on the year.
Fantasy Outlook for Harris This Week
A case could certainly be made for starting Harris over Warren this week. Just like Warren, Harris has seen his rushing yards increase over the last three weeks, from a season-low 13 to 69 and a season-high 82 last week.
Harris was tough to play early in the season because he couldn’t score a touchdown. In his first five games, he found the end zone just once. Yet, in the last four games, he’s been able to score three times.
And with 16 carries in each of the last two weeks, this marks the first time all season Harris has had back-to-back games with at least 15 rush attempts.
The Browns’ defense is obviously one of the very best in the NFL, but Harris has scored a touchdown in each of the four regular-season matchups between these two teams.
Looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Setting DFS lineups? Check out PFN’s Free Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer, Start/Sit Optimizer, and DFS Lineup Optimizer to help you make the right decision!