By Tony DelSignore Jr.
Week 6 – October 12, 2014
Location: First Energy Field, Cleveland, Ohio
Opponent: Cleveland Browns
For the second time in six weeks, the Pittsburgh Steelers will face long-time division rival Cleveland. This week, the Steelers will hit the road to face the Browns in Cleveland. In Week 1, the Steelers secured the victory with a last second Shaun Suisham field goal after blowing a 27-3 lead. The Steelers are going to need more than a karate kick to the punters face this week to secure the victory against a confident Browns team.
Week 5 in Review:
Last week, expectations were high for the Steelers offense to produce big time numbers against a very poor Jacksonville Jaguars defense. The Steelers offense proceeded to flop in the red zone and score only 10 offensive points. The only touchdown was a Ben Roethlisberger touchdown pass to backup tight end Michael Palmer, which didn’t help anyone except Roethlisberger fantasy owners.
Last week, I projected Roethlisberger for 25/36, 305 yards, 3 TD. He finished Week 5 with a stat line of 26/36 with 276 yards and 1 TD. The attempts and yards were there for Roethlisberger but he was unable to finish in the red-zone.
Antonio Brown put up decent numbers once again in Jacksonville, catching 5 receptions for 84 yards. I had him projected for 125 yards and 1 TD but he failed to score for the first time in three weeks.
Le’Veon Bell was somewhat quiet on Sunday once again, and has not scored a touchdown since the Week 1 matchup with the Browns. Bell did average 5.5 yards per carry and did chip in 5 receptions in the passing game.
Heath Miller was held in check by Paul Posluszny and company, catching only 3 balls for 46 yards. I had Heath projected for 6 receptions for 55 yards and 1 TD. Miller was unable to get loose in the red-zone.
Week 6 Preview:
For the second and final time this season, the Steelers will face the Cleveland Browns. The Browns are going to trot out a banged up defense that may lend to more fantasy points for the Steelers on your fantasy roster. As of the final injury report on Friday, the Browns list key defensive contributors Joe Haden, Paul Kruger and Ahtyba Rubin as questionable. While all of them may play, they come into the game limping.
Haden has been unable to cover Brown in the past, but if Brown sees Buster Skrine and rookie Justin Gilbert, he will have a monster stat line.
In the first matchup, Roethlisberger had no problem moving the ball through the air. Ben threw for 365 yards and 1 touchdown. While Roethlisberger holds an 8-1 record in Cleveland, that has not always translated into fantasy success. Ben has only averaged 1.3 touchdowns per game in those 9 games playing in Cleveland.
This week, I do like Ben to go over his 1.3 touchdown average against a banged up Cleveland defense. Look for Ben to make big plays and do enough to put up a nice stat line for your fantasy team.
Ben Roethlisberger Stat Projection – 23/34, 285 yards, 2 TD
The Browns are getting shredded through the air. Currently they are surrendering 168.5 yards per game to opposing wide receivers. Last week, the Tennessee Titans wide receivers and tight ends posted 268 receiving yards against the struggling Browns secondary.
Antonio Brown Stat Projection – 7 receptions, 105 yards, 1 TD
For two weeks in a row I called for a big game for Markus Wheaton and it just has not happened. Roethlisberger continues to lock on Brown during points in the game, leaving Wheaton to collect the scraps. Wheaton had his best game of the season against the Browns, registering 97 yards in Week 1. I think Wheaton has some appeal in deeper PPR leagues this week.
Lance Moore seems to have worked his way back into limited action. Last week Moore was flagged for a delay of game penalty but did make a nice 3rd down reception. Hopefully Moore becomes more involved in the passing game moving forward, but for now he is not a fantasy option.
Markus Wheaton Stat Projection – 5 receptions, 60 yards
Lance Moore Stat Projection – 2 receptions, 25 yards
The Browns are fairly effective against opposing tight ends, surrendering only 8.80 fantasy points per game. Heath Miller will get his share of work but the Browns do have a solid linebacking corps so don’t expect a huge game from Miller in this contest.
Heath Miller Stat Projection – 4 receptions, 50 yards
Both Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount scored touchdowns in the Steelers Week 1 matchup against Cleveland. I think both players have a great chance to score once again in this matchup. I like Bell’s chances to get loose in the passing game for a receiving touchdown this week. Bell and Blount should have no problem scoring fantasy points against the Browns defense that is surrendering the 3rd most fantasy points (23.70 points per game) to opposing running backs.
The thing that intrigues me heading into this week is the potential for Dri Archer to be incorporated into the offense more than we have seen thus far. There have been several reports of the Steelers digging into the playbook more to try to improve their efficiency in the red-zone. I am not going to project Archer for any meaningful stats until we see him get consistent usage in game, but it is worth tracking him over the next few weeks in deeper leagues.
Le’Veon Bell Stat Projection – 16 rushes, 91 yards / 5 receptions, 45 yards, 1 TD
LeGarrette Blount Stat Projection – 8 rushes, 34 yards, 1 TD
Suisham will likely get plenty of opportunities to put points on the board in this divisional matchup. I like Shaun for 9-10 points in this one.
Shaun Suisham Stat Projection – 2/2 Field Goals, 3/3 Extra Points
I would avoid playing the Steelers D/ST this week. The Browns will likely score points and Brian Hoyer protects the ball very well. I don’t see many sacks or turnovers for the Steelers defense this week.
Final Score Prediction – Steelers 27, Browns 24
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.