By Tony DelSignore Jr.
Week 9 – November 2, 2014
Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Opponent: Baltimore Ravens
I was trying to think of a more dominating offensive performance in Pittsburgh and had a hard time coming up with something. Ben Roethlisberger’s record setting performance was a gem to watch. After posting 51 points and defeating the Indianapolis Colts, the Pittsburgh Steelers have no time to enjoy the victory as the hated Baltimore Ravens come to town. The Steelers need a win to send the Ravens below .500 in the AFC North and get themselves to .500 in the North with two contests with the Cincinnati Bengals still looming.
Week 8 in Review:
Last week, I really thought I was going out on a limb projecting Ben Roethlisberger for 29/41 335 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT. Not only did he double my touchdown projection, he finished Week 8 with one of the best quarterbacking performances in NFL history with a stat line of 40/49 with 522 yards and 6 TD. He posted a truly memorable performance; one that vaulted him into rare air as the only quarterback in NFL history with two 500 yard passing performances.
Antonio Brown shredded the Colts previously stout defensive backfield. I projected AB for 8 receptions, 125 yards, 1 TD. He ended up posting 10 catches on 13 targets for 133 yards and 2 TD. Brown is 1A or 1B right now with Demaryius Thomas as the best wide receiver in the NFL.
Le’Veon Bell rushed for 92 yards on 24 carries. His yards per carry were down from his seasonal average but he was still very effective. He added 6 receptions for 56 yards in this contest as well.
Heath Miller had numerous poor games in a row but because of the matchup, last week I wrote “For the first time over the past month, I won’t be surprised if the big fella finds the end-zone this week.” Hopefully you got Miller in your lineup and enjoyed a monster stat line, 7 receptions, 112 yards, 1 TD.
Since the Steelers have inserted rookie Martavis Bryant into the lineup, Ben Roethlisberger has completed 76.8% of his passes with 9.6 yards per attempt and an has 8 touchdowns with 0 interceptions against Houston and Indianapolis. Bryant followed up his 2 receptions for 40 yards, 1 TD performance with a fantastic game in which he posted 5 receptions, 83 yards and 2 TD.
After a quiet game from Markus Wheaton in which he did not even register a catch, Wheaton had a nice game and caught his first touchdown of the season, posting a 5 reception, 56 yards, 1 TD stat line.
Week 9 Preview:
Let me start out by saying that Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense will come back to earth this week against Baltimore. The Ravens defense is far better than the Colts. We know that Steelers vs. Ravens matchups are close and usually lower scoring. For everyone starting Big Ben this week, know that his stat line may not even come close to half of what he posted last week. In the Week 2 matchup in Baltimore, the Ravens held Ben to his season low, 6 fantasy points.
The Ravens are typically effective against opposing passers. They are allowing about 275 passing yards per game and just under 1 touchdown per game. Since 2008, Ben only has one multi-touchdown game against Baltimore. In saying that, I do believe the Ben will play well in a highly emotional game in Pittsburgh.
Ben Roethlisberger Stat Projection – 27/39 285 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Ravens corner Jimmy Smith is out with injury giving Roethlisberger and Brown an opportunity to exploit the Ravens safeties. The Ravens struggle to cover opposing wide receivers. They are the 8th best matchup in the league for opposing receivers.
They are allowing 15.3 receptions, 201.5 yards, and 0.8 touchdowns per game to opposing receivers. Brown, Wheaton and Bryant have a very solid matchup and should perform well for your fantasy teams.
Antonio Brown Stat Projection – 7 receptions, 90 yards, 1 TD
Both Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant may be running routes against backup safeties in the Ravens secondary. I really like both to post nice stat lines in PPR leagues.
Markus Wheaton Stat Projection – 5 receptions, 55 yards
Lance Moore Stat Projection – 2 receptions, 20 yards
Martavis Bryant Stat Projection – 4 receptions, 45 yards, 1 TD
Heath Miller has the toughest matchup in the Steelers passing game. Miller was held to 4 receptions for 35 yards in the first matchup with the Ravens this season. Temper your expectations for Miller this week.
Heath Miller Stat Projection – 3 receptions, 35 yards
Le’Veon Bell has continued to perform exceptionally this season. He struggled in the team’s first meeting with Baltimore but there is no reason not to continue to roll him out on your fantasy team. Bell topped 100 total yards for the eighth consecutive game against the Colts. Bell’s upside may be a bit lower than usual versus Baltimore’s 7th ranked run defense, but Le’Veon always produces solid fantasy numbers due to his all-purpose usage.
Le’Veon Bell Stat Projection – 19 rushes, 77 yards, 1 TD / 5 receptions, 40 yards
LeGarrette Blount Stat Projection – 4 rushes, 17 yards
Shaun Suisham will likely get several opportunities to put points on the board in this divisional matchup. The Ravens will likely slow the Steelers offense from what we saw last week and force field goal attempts in the red zone. Suisham should be close to double digit points in this contest.
Shaun Suisham Stat Projection – 2/2 Field Goals, 3/3 Extra Points
Final Score Prediction – Steelers 27, Ravens 23
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.