The Pittsburgh Steelers have now won four straight games after a nail-biter in the fourth quarter of Monday Night Football versus the Chicago Bears. Chris Boswell saved the day with three impressive field goals, but there was a lot of meat left on the bone after starting 14-3 in the first half and needing a game winning drive from Ben Roethlisberger to clinch.
Here are the players with their stock on the move after Week 9:
TE PAT FREIERMUTH – STOCK UP
It sure is nice to have a well-rounded young tight end providing splash in the passing game. Pat Freiermuth has now graded out by Pro Football Focus as the top offensive player for the Steelers’ offense in three out of eight games played, having an 85.6 overall grade in Week 9. For the second week in a row, he made a contested catch while being interfered with in the end zone. For all the knocks on Chase Claypool for failing to bring these types of passes in, Freiermuth is making up for it.
All of this in his rookie season without the natural strength and weight gain that will occur throughout the next couple years. The Steelers nailed this pick in the second round. Freiermuth should remain in the starting lineup regardless of Eric Ebron’s status. A fitting performance while Heath Miller was in attendance at Heinz Field.
OT DAN MOORE JR. – STOCK DOWN
Neither of the rookie offensive linemen are playing particularly well, other than the occasional flashes. Kendrick Green doesn’t have much competition behind him, so Dan Moore Jr. has more to lose from his poor play with Zach Banner waiting in the wings. It was excusable for Dan Moore to have a tough game against Myles Garrett, especially when you consider the Steelers largely left him on an island with no help, but stacking poor performances makes you wonder if he is beginning to hit the rookie wall.
Moore committed two penalties in Week 9 and allowed a team high three pressures, including a sack. That is Dan Moore’s fourth sack allowed this season. Chuks Okorafor didn’t play particularly well in this game either, but he spent all offseason preparing for left tackle. Zach Banner at right tackle and Chuks back over on the left is worth a look, and now might be the time to make a change.
WR ANTHONY MILLER – STOCK UP
Not having played a snap for the Steelers yet, Anthony Miller’s stock is on the rise after another injury to the wide receiver corp. Chase Claypool came up injured in the second half and it was later reported that he had an MRI on his toe. Even if he doesn’t have to miss time, toe injuries can be concerning for a player, especially one that needs to push off and hit top speed in a hurry on most plays. Between Ray-Ray McCloud’s struggles and Chase Claypool’s injury, there may be some movement on the practice squad and the 53 man roster upcoming.
WR RAY-RAY McCLOUD – STOCK DOWN
Ray-Ray McCloud’s main value to the team has always been as a return specialist. While he gets slightly above average return yardage per attempt, it hasn’t been a big factor to this point in the season. McCloud has been letting a lot of punts bounce rather than calling for the fair catch, and while it hasn’t directly caused a turnover yet, there have been close calls.
Then, in the fourth quarter on Monday Night Football, McCloud fumbled on a punt return, trying to spin out of contact for extra yards. He has to know the situation of the game where the Steelers were up 10 points and had a great chance to put the game away on offense. If the Steelers ended up losing the game, this would have been a major talking point. At this point, a stationary object that could call for a fair catch would be more reliable.
OLB T.J. WATT – STOCK UP
This one is too easy. After missing some time with a groin injury, Watt returned and looked slowed by the injury versus the Broncos in Week 5, but the buck stopped there. Ever since, Watt has been on an absolute tear, notching seven sacks in his last three games played. He is just a half-sack out of the league lead from Myles Garrett, which is even more impressive given the Steelers already had their bye week and Watt missed over a game and a half with injury. Watt is on pace for record-breaking numbers, and he should have a great shot at Defensive Player of the Year, something that he has just barely been shy of the prior two years.