Smith-Schuster had nine receptions (on 10 targets) for 143 yards and a touchdown, and added a 96-yard kickoff return for another score, in Sunday's 28-24 win over the Browns. He finished the 2017 season with 58 catches (on 80 targets) for 917 yards and seven touchdowns, and added 240 yards and the touchdown on nine kick returns in 14 games. Smith-Schuster was clearly Landry Jones' favorite receiver, and the rookie took advantage of the opportunity and the absence of Antonio Brown (lower leg). The first Steelers player with a receiving touchdown and a kick return touchdown in the same game since Gary Ballman in 1963, Smith-Schuster gives the team another weapon in an already potent arsenal.
Smith-Schuster will take on an expanded role over the final two weeks of the regular season with Antonio Brown (calf) out of the lineup, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports. Smith-Schuster has been efficient but also inconsistent this season, producing 11.1 yards per target while recording three games with 97 or more receiving yards and five games with less than 40 yards. He should be more dependable with Brown on the sideline, likely drawing at least a handful of extra targets when the Steelers face a lifeless Houston defense on Monday Night Football. The Texans have allowed opposing wideouts to post a 62.4-percent catch rate and 9.4 yards per target this season, with one out of every 15.6 targets going for a touchdown. A few teams have given up more total fantasy points to wide receivers, but no defense has allowed such efficient production on a per-target basis.
Smith-Schuster (hamstring) brought in all six of his targets for 114 yards in Sunday's 27-24 loss to the Patriots. He also returned two kickoffs for 49 yards. The rookie appeared to have made the play of the afternoon when he took a short pass up the left sideline and then cut back to the middle late in the fourth quarter, gaining 69 yards before appearing to run out of gas and getting brought down at the Patriots' 10-yard line. Smith-Schuster showed no ill effects whatsoever from the hamstring issue that had been plaguing him earlier in the week, and he appears poised for No. 1 receiver duties in Week 16 against the vulnerable Texans secondary with Antonio Brown (calf) likely to miss the contest, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Smith-Schuster (hamstring), who logged a limited practice Friday and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Patriots, is expected to play, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Smith-Schuster missed the Week 14 win over the Ravens due to suspension for an illegal hit, but now the Steelers should have all of their weapons back on the field. While his absence didn't ultimately cost the Steelers in the high-scoring victory, the team surely benefits from having all hands to take on the 10-3 Patriots. Smith-Schuster could find himself in single coverage quite often if New England head coach Bill Belichick does his thing and tries to shut down the opponent's best player, that being Antonio Brown.
Smith-Schuster (hamstring) was limited at practice Thursday. Smith-Schuster, who is back from a one-game suspension, was added to the Steelers' injury report Thursday, so his status for Sunday's game against the Patriots is worth monitoring. With New England likely to focus on containing star wideout Antonio Brown on Sunday, Smith-Schuster could be a sneaky fantasy play this week, that is, of course, if his hamstring issue doesn't impact his effectiveness or availability this weekend.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
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