Tony DelSignore Jr.
Week 4 – September 28, 2014
Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Opponent: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Wow! What a performance last week on the road in Carolina. A dominant, old school Steelers win was totally unexpected in my mind but it was fun to watch. But if you have been watching the Steelers for long enough, you know, the question now is: are they going to follow up that game by playing down to the 0-3 Buccaneers? Pittsburgh must come out on Sunday and prove that they can dominate weaker opponents and reel off a few wins in a row during the soft stretch of their schedule.
Week 3 in Review:
Last week I projected Ben Roethlisberger for 22/37, 217 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT. Ben played much better than I expected. While only compiling 196 yards, he had 2 touchdowns to save his fantasy day.
Remember when Steelers fans were upset that the team decided to pay Antonio Brown instead of Mike Wallace? I don’t either. Brown has been incredible week after week. Against Carolina, he caught all 10 of his targets for 90 yards and both of the Roethlisberger touchdowns. I had AB projected for 85 yards and 1 TD.
Le’Veon Bell’s performance through three games has been simply stunning. Those who watched Bell closely last season know that he improved as the season went on, but I don’t think that even the biggest Bell supporters could have projected this type of breakout. His 81 yard run was a perfect example of how his weight loss and improved agility have impacted his performance on the field. Last week, I projected Bell for 18 standard fantasy points. If you get a 3 point bonus for a 100+ rushing yards game, Bell scored 18 standard points as he racked up 157 total yards.
LeGarrette Blount showed why the Steelers brought him in during the offseason with his punishing finish the game. Blount ran for 118 yards on only 10 carries and helped the Steelers rack up 268 yards against a very good Carolina defense.
The Steelers passing game outside of Antonio Brown is beginning to be a cause for concern in my mind. Markus Wheaton had a great performance Week 1 against the Browns but has only 73 yards in two games since. Wheaton finished with only 35 receiving yards; I had him projected for 58. It was good to see that Heath Miller was more involved on Sunday night. I had him projected for 4 receptions for 36 yards; he finished with 4 receptions for 51 yards. I would like to see Miller more involved in the red-zone, he has yet to see a red-zone target this season.
Week 4 Preview:
This week, the Steelers face a miserable 0-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers team. After a 56-14 loss last week against the Falcons, you would have to think that Tampa Bay is going to play a gut check type of game. While the Steelers should dominate this game, I think that the Bucs will play tough and stick around for much of the game. Running back Doug Martin will be back for this contest. He along with Mike Glennon should inject some new life into a stagnant offense. The Steelers defense must contain the twin towers of Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans.
As for the Steelers offense, the performance against Carolina was a refreshing glimpse into what the offense can produce on a weekly basis. The Lovie Smith led Buccaneers rank 27th in the NFL, giving up a whopping 387 yards per game. Ben Roethlisberger will be able to take advantage of the porous Bucs secondary and should post a great stat line for fantasy owners on Sunday. The Bucs defense is surrendering 271 passing yards per game and 1.7 touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks.
Ben Roethlisberger Stat Projection – 24/34, 285 yards, 2 TD
Antonio Brown continues to beat every cornerback in front of him. The Buccaneers do not have the talent in the defensive backfield to slow down Brown. He should have another monster game on Sunday. The fantasy stat of the week: The Bucs are surrendering 32.3 standard fantasy points per week to opposing wide receivers! Brown and Wheaton are both excellent plays this week.
Antonio Brown Stat Projection – 8 receptions, 110 yards, 1 TD
Lance Moore was used extremely sparingly on Sunday and may not be in the team’s plans right now. Justin Brown is a better blocker and fits what the offense is trying to do at this point. Neither Moore nor Brown is a viable fantasy option in even the deepest of leagues.
This is the week. I am predicting a Markus Wheaton breakout against the Bucs. Look for Wheaton to get behind the defense and score a touchdown.
Markus Wheaton Stat Projection – 5 receptions, 72 yards, 1 TD
Justin Brown Stat Projection – 2 receptions, 18 yards
The connection between Roethlisberger and Heath Miller improved last week in Carolina. Miller racked up 51 yards and should again find some soft spots in the middle of the Tampa 2 defense. Look at Miller as a low end TE1 this week.
Heath Miller Stat Projection – 4 receptions, 45 yards
The Steelers have run the ball with incredible effectiveness early in the season. Currently the Steelers are ranked 1st in the NFL with 163.3 rush yards per game. I anticipate Pittsburgh to have a lead late in the game as they did last week and salt the game away with plenty of running. Look for Tomlin to give Blount a chance to punish his old team and get in the end zone. I also expect Dri Archer to return from injury this week and be involved in the offense.
Le’Veon Bell Stat Projection – 22 rushes, 125 yards, 1 TD / 3 receptions, 25 yards
LeGarrette Blount Stat Projection – 8 rushes, 55 yards, 1 TD
Dri Archer Stat Projection – 3 rushes, 25 yards / 1 reception, 15 yards
Suisham was solid once again and his perfect season continued with a 13 point performance against the Panthers. He should have plenty of opportunities to score again this week but I expect it to be more in the form of extra points as the Steelers rack up points against the Buccaneers.
Shaun Suisham Stat Projection – 2/2 Field Goals, 4/4 Extra Points
A quick note on the Steelers D/ST. The Buccaneers are 2nd in the NFL in points given up to opposing defenses at 15.67 per game. Even with recent injuries, the Steelers Defense and Special Teams is a prime play this week against the Buccaneers offense. Expect double digit fantasy points from the Steelers defense.
Final Score Prediction – Steelers 34, Buccaneers 16
Tune in to @SteelersDepot all season long to find my fantasy projections and analysis and feel free to shoot me your lineup questions each week at @TonyD_12 on Twitter.