By Tony DelSignore Jr.
Week 13 – November 30, 2014
Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Opponent: Tennessee Titans
The Pittsburgh Steelers are back from their bye week and a close win over the Tennessee Titans in Week 11 and ready for the stretch run. The stretch run begins with a home date against the New Orleans Saints who have fallen on hard times. The 4-7 Saints are coming to Pittsburgh desperate for a win after losing three straight games at home.
The Steelers defense is getting healthy which should go a long way in trying to slow down Drew Brees and the Saints air raid. Health is key as the Steelers get ready to play their first of five final games, three of which are in Pittsburgh.
Week 13 Preview:
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has cooled off after his blistering hot streak in early October. The Steelers will need him to be sharp down the stretch if the Steelers have any chance of winning the AFC North.
This week, Ben faces a Saints defense that Joe Flacco had no issue shredding on Monday night. The Saints are surrendering 265 yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game to opposing quarterbacks. Starting safety Jarius Byrd is out for the season and former Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis is still dealing with a knee injury. With an extra week to prepare, the Steelers passing attack should post big numbers especially if the Saints play well and drive up the score. Vegas has set the over/under at 52 which tells me this should be a shootout. Look for Ben and Brees to duel in a fast paced game.
Ben Roethlisberger Stat Projection – 30/41 336 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Antonio Brown has proved time and time again that no cornerback in the league can stop him. Keenan Lewis will surely be amped for his opportunity to prove that the Steelers made a mistake in letting him walk in free agency. I firmly believe that Brown, Martavis Bryant and company will have no issue beating this Saints secondary putting up big numbers. The Saints are surrendering the 7th most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, totaling 187.4 yards and 1.2 touchdowns per game.
Antonio Brown Stat Projection –7 receptions, 110 yards, 1 TD
Martavis Bryant has entered the low end WR2 range on a weekly basis. Bryant continues to score touchdowns and make big plays. With the Saints struggling to stop opposing wide receivers, look for Bryant and even Markus Wheaton to put up nice stat lines in this contest.
Markus Wheaton Stat Projection – 5 receptions, 45 yards
Lance Moore Stat Projection – 3 reception, 35 yards
Martavis Bryant Stat Projection – 5 receptions, 78 yards, 1 TD
Heath Miller had his best game in about a month against Tennessee. This week, Heath faces a very tough matchup against New Orleans. The Saints, led by Curtis Lofton, are only giving up 4.7 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, best in the league. Leave Miller on your bench this week
Heath Miller Stat Projection – 3 receptions, 25 yards
Le’Veon Bell finally got back on track against the Titans. Bell notched 33 carries for 204 yards and 1 touchdown against the hapless Titans defense. With LeGarrette Blount walking out on the team and walking right out the door, Josh Harris may get a few breather carries but Bell is now cemented as the bell-cow.
If you have Bell on your fantasy team for the stretch run, you are going to be a very happy fantasy owner. I see Bell as the top running back option in the league over the final 5 weeks. This week, Bell faces a defense on a short week’s rest that just surrendered 8.3 yards per carry on 22 touches and 2 touchdowns to Baltimore’s Justin Forsett. The Saints are giving up 21.4 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, look for Bell to have a big performance at home this week.
Le’Veon Bell Stat Projection – 19 rushes, 108 yards, 1 TD / 5 receptions, 43 yards, 1 TD
Josh Harris Stat Projection – 4 rushes, 17 yards
Shaun Suisham will get numerous opportunities to put points on the board in this matchup. As long as the weather holds up, I like Suisham as a strong option this week in the kicking game.
Shaun Suisham Stat Projection – 2/2 Field Goals, 4/4 Extra Points
Final Score Prediction – Steelers 34, Saints 30
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.