By Tony DelSignore Jr.
Week 8 – October 27, 2014
Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Opponent: Indianapolis Colts
After the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Houston Texans in primetime on Monday night, they will face another AFC South opponent, the Indianapolis Colts. The key to winning this matchup is the Steelers defense ability to stop the red-hot Andrew Luck. I don’t expect that to happen very often, so it will be up to Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense to keep up with Luck and the Colts in a shootout.
Week 7 in Review:
A three minute flurry in the 2nd quarter of Monday night’s contest gave the Steelers a statement win and one of the more memorable stretches of football in Monday night history. Roethlisberger was efficient for the Steelers offense other than his early fumble.
Last week, I projected Roethlisberger for 24/39 285 yards, 1 TD. He finished Week 7 with a stat line of 23/33 with 265 yards and 2 TD. My projection fell just 20 yards and one completion off of Ben’s actual numbers.
Antonio Brown destroyed the Texans secondary, catching 9 receptions for 90 yards on 13 targets. I had him projected for 105 yards on 7 receptions and 1 TD. Brown did throw a touchdown pass to Lance Moore that made up for him not catching one. In my opinion, he did catch one late in the game as a tapped his toes in the end zone, as shown by a picture that surfaced on his twitter account after the game. Unfortunately the touchdown did not stand after an official review.
Le’Veon Bell rushed for only 57 yards on a season low 12 carries. He continues to be efficient with his touches, and is second in the league behind DeMarco Murray, averaging 134 all-purpose yards per game. I projected Bell for 16 rushes, 91 yards / 5 receptions, 45 yards, 1 TD. The projection was flipped as Bell added 88 yards on 8 receptions and did indeed get a receiving touchdown.
Heath Miller is now droppable in standard size leagues; he has been a non-factor for several weeks in a row. I had Heath projected for 3 receptions, 25 yards, he was only able to manage 1 reception for 13 yards on 1 target.
The real bright spot for the Steelers offense was the emergence of rookie Martavis Bryant. Bryant had 2 receptions for 40 yards including a gorgeous 35 yard touchdown grab on the first catch of his NFL career. Bryant received 5 targets from Roethlisberger while Markus Wheaton did not even register in the stat sheet. Wheaton had better be concerned as he is now being outplayed by Bryant and Moore, who caught a touchdown pass for the second straight week.
Week 8 Preview:
As mentioned in the open, Roethlisberger has to play one of the best games in recent memory for the Steelers to win this contest. Ben will have to go toe to toe with the young gunslinger Andrew Luck. I believe that Ben is up to the challenge and will put up a nice stat line for fantasy owners.
It won’t come without resistance. The Colts have been very solid defensively this year but I believe they can be exposed in the back end of the defense. The Colts are the 2nd stingiest defense against opposing passers. They are only allowing 14.05 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. I am going to go completely against the stats on this one and say the offense will thrive against Indy.
Ben Roethlisberger Stat Projection – 29/41 335 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
With the Colts being so good against opposing passers, it is an easy assumption that they are just as good against opposing wide receivers. Indeed, they are excellent against receivers, surrendering only 14.24 fantasy points per game, which is best in the league.
They are allowing only 120 yards per game to receivers so Antonio Brown and company will have their work cut out for them.
Antonio Brown Stat Projection – 8 receptions, 125 yards, 1 TD
Lance Moore caught his second touchdown of the season (from Antonio Brown) and will likely be heavily involved in the passing game again this week as the Steelers will need to throw it often.
Starting receiver Markus Wheaton possibly saw his starting gig evaporate on Sunday. He played his lowest snap count of the year and was outperformed by both Lance Moore and Martavis Bryant. Wheaton has failed to score this season and it is very possible that his chance as the starter opposite Brown has passed him by. Look for many pieces to be involved in the passing game on Sunday against Indy.
Markus Wheaton Stat Projection – 3 receptions, 45 yards
Lance Moore Stat Projection – 3 receptions, 40 yards
Martavis Bryant Stat Projection – 2 receptions, 35 yards
For the first time over the past month, Heath Miller will draw a favorable matchup. Indy ranks 21st in the league at defending the tight end position. They are surrendering 9.36 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. Heath may surprise and post a decent stat line this week. I won’t be surprised if the big fella finds the end-zone this week.
Heath Miller Stat Projection – 5 receptions, 35 yards, 1 TD
Le’Veon Bell has over 100 yards from scrimmage in all seven games this season. He is averaging 5.12 yards per carry on 117 rushing attempts, and is on pace for 83 receptions after his 8 reception performance on Monday night. Bell has a great matchup against a Colts defense that’s surrendered 478 yards and six touchdowns on 102 carries (4.69 YPC) to running backs over the last six weeks.
Le’Veon Bell Stat Projection – 18 rushes, 97 yards, 1 TD / 7 receptions, 45 yards, 1 TD
LeGarrette Blount Stat Projection – 5 rushes, 20 yards/ 1 reception, 10 yards
Shaun Suisham will likely get plenty of opportunities to put points on the board in this likely shootout. Roll him out as a solid option as your kicker this week.
Shaun Suisham Stat Projection – 2/2 Field Goals, 4/4 Extra Points
I would avoid playing the Steelers D/ST this week. The Colts will likely score points and run the ball very well. I don’t see many sacks or turnovers for the Steelers defense this week. Unfortunately, I don’t see the Steelers winning this week. Although, I picked the Texans last week and we saw how that turned out.
Final Score Prediction – Steelers 34, Colts 38
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.