Week 16 – December 21, 2014
Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Opponent: Kansas City Chiefs
After two huge road wins in a row, the Pittsburgh Steelers get back to the friendly confines of Heinz Field to face AFC foes, the Kansas City Chiefs. If Pittsburgh wins on Sunday, they clinch their first playoff birth since 2011 and move one step closer to winning the AFC North.
The Pittsburgh offense has week after week saved the day, and for fantasy purposes, we say bring it on. In championship week for many, the killer B’s, as they are now being called, need to have another big performance to beat the Chiefs and win fantasy owners some money.
It will not be an easy task, as the Chiefs defense boasts perennial Pro Bowlers and the second ranked pass defense in the league. It is truly strength vs. strength as the Steelers second ranked passing offense will be put to the test at home. The Steelers have proven that they play big in big games and I do like them to overcome the tough matchup and perform well against Kansas City.
Week 16 Preview:
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has continued to improve his game in the 2014 season. Roethlisberger is behind only Andrew Luck on the season with 4,415 yards and could very feasibly reach 5,000 yards this season if he hits his average of 306.7 yards per game in the last two weeks.
Ben will face a much stiffer challenge this week than he did in Atlanta. Kansas City is allowing only 199 yards per game and has allowed more than two touchdown passes in a game just once all season. Roethlisberger will hope for more home-cooking like we saw against Indy and Baltimore to overcome the matchup. Temper your expectations with Ben this week but also realize that he is a huge game waiting to happen on any given week.
If you have rode Ben as your quarterback to this point, don’t hesitate to fire him up in your fantasy title game. I am expecting a bigger game from Ben than many of the experts are predicting.
Ben Roethlisberger Stat Projection – 26/38 275 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Already with 115 catches on the year, Antonio Brown broke Hines Ward’s Steelers single season receptions record last week in Atlanta. His incredible season has many of his fantasy owners in their championship game. Brown is an every week surefire top three play at wide receiver.
Kansas City is allowing only 20.4 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers but Brown has made plenty of defensive backs look silly this season. I like Brown to find space in the Chiefs defense and post a solid line again this week.
Antonio Brown Stat Projection –8 receptions, 90 yards, 1 TD
Martavis Bryant’s up and down season continued in Atlanta. He is truly a boom or bust flex play. If you have safe options as a favorite, don’t feel the need to force Bryant into your lineup this week against the tough Chiefs defense.
However, if you are a big underdog and need some upside, Bryant is your guy. At any time, he could break off a long touchdown and post a big number in your fantasy box score. Bryant is the only Steelers receiver aside from AB that I would consider playing this week.
Markus Wheaton Stat Projection – 3 receptions, 40 yards
Lance Moore Stat Projection – 2 receptions, 15 yards
Martavis Bryant Stat Projection – 4 receptions, 50 yards
Since the Steelers bye week, Heath Miller is third on the team in targets with 22 looks. His usage is fine but the fantasy production has been spotty at best. Miller’s matchup this week is better on paper because Chiefs top cover man SS Eric Berry is out for the remainder of the year. On the season, however, Kansas City has allowed only 43 receptions and 399 yards to opposing tight ends, both marks are fewest in the league. The Chiefs are allowing only 6.4 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. Look elsewhere this week for TE production.
Heath Miller Stat Projection – 3 receptions, 25 yards
Le’Veon Bell is the Steeler that you want to own and play this week. Bell has the best matchup of any position against the Chiefs tough defense. The area that the Chiefs struggle is against the run. They are surrendering 5.05 yards per carry and over 120 rushing yards per game.
Bell has been the Steelers workhorse and will continue to carry fantasy owners during Championship weekend. Bell is second in the league in rushing with 1,278 yards on the season and is on pace for the sixth best yards from scrimmage total in the history of the league.
Look for Le’Veon to dominate touches for the Steelers offense and produce a huge stat line this week.
Le’Veon Bell Stat Projection – 19 rushes, 123 yards, 1 TD / 6 receptions, 55 yards, 1 TD
Josh Harris Stat Projection – 3 rushes, 10 yards
Shaun Suisham will get a few opportunities to put points on the board in this AFC matchup. Suisham has been very consistent all season long. Roll him out as usual if you own him in your seasonal leagues.
Shaun Suisham Stat Projection – 1/1 Field Goals, 4/4 Extra Points
Final Score Prediction – Steelers 31, Chiefs 27
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.