Week 12 – November 29, 2015
Location: Seattle, Washington
Opponent: Seattle Seahawks
Coming off the bye week, it finally feels like there is some stability in Pittsburgh. Battling one injury after the next was the theme of the middle portion of the 2015 season. Let’s hope that the theme of the home stretch of the season is stacking wins on the way to back to back playoff berths.
With a few weeks to rest, Big Ben Roethlisberger should be good to go for this tough road test in the Pacific Northwest. The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to need Ben to be at his very finest in this one, as Pittsburgh will do battle with the Legion of Boom. Seattle has not been nearly as impressive as their last two Super Bowl teams but make no mistake, this will be the Steelers toughest game of the season.
The Seahawks are in desperate need of a win to keep pace in the NFC wild card hunt and the home fans would love nothing more than to spoil the Steelers 10 year anniversary celebration of beating them in Super Bowl 40.
From a fantasy perspective, Ben has his work cut out for him. Seattle is the 3rd stingiest defense in fantasy points surrendered to opposing quarterbacks, allowing just 15.42 points per game. The Seahawks allow only 207 passing yards per game, trailing only the Broncos for fewest in the NFL. The thing that you have to love about Roethlisberger is that he thrives in these situations. He always seems to play best against the best and that is why I am recommending sticking with him as your fantasy quarterback this week.
If you take a look at what some of the other top quarterbacks around the league have done to the Seattle defense, it will give you an idea of what Ben may be able to do this weekend. Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to 27 points behind 361 yards of offense. Cam Newton led the Panthers to 27 points behind 383 yards of offense. Finally, Carson Palmer led the Cardinals to 39 points behind 451 yards of offense.
Seattle is absolutely susceptible to the pass regardless of what their numbers show. I like Ben to have a productive afternoon on Sunday.
Ben Roethlisberger Stat Projection – 26/41, 325 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
The key in this matchup is Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant being able to find space in the secondary and make splash plays.
Antonio Brown is indeed on pace for his past season as a pro. It is hard to believe after seeing what he did last season. Over his past two games, Brown has racked up 27 receptions for 423 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Antonio Brown is truly unstoppable, but Richard Sherman will make for a fun test on Sunday. Seattle only surrenders 120 yards per game to opposing receivers but they have yet to face a tandem like Brown and Bryant.
Seattle plays a lot of man coverage with their Pro-Bowl safety Earl Thomas roaming over top of that coverage. Which way Thomas shades will dictate whether Brown or Bryant has the bigger game. My bet is that they will try to limit AB, opening up favorable matchups for Bryant against burnable cornerback Cary Williams.
As Ben goes, so goes the fantasy production for the Killer B’s. I like the Steelers passing game much more than the run game in this matchup and expect good outings for both Brown and Bryant.
Antonio Brown Stat Projection – 9 receptions, 115 yards, 1 TD
Martavis Bryant Stat Projection – 6 receptions, 96 yards
Markus Wheaton Stat Projection – 3 reception, 32 yards
Heath Miller is an extremely sneaky fantasy play this weekend. The numbers would suggest that Seattle is tough against an entire passing game, but further research shows that Seattle gives up the 4th most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends.
Last week against San Francisco, the Seahawks gave up a combined 100 yards and 1 TD to tight ends Garrett Celek and Vance McDonald. I love Miller as a cheap tournament play on DraftKings and Fanduel this weekend and a great streaming option if you need some help off the waiver wire. Look for Heath to find the end zone this weekend.
Heath Miller Stat Projection – 5 receptions, 58 yards, 1 TD
DeAngelo Williams has been a tremendous replacement for Le’Veon Bell. Overall, Williams has performed incredibly well but was limited in the Steelers last contest against the Browns. This week, Williams and the Steelers run game will face a much stiffer test against the Seahawks rush defense. Seattle surrenders 96 yards rushing per game, which is good enough for 10th best in the league.
They are however the best in the league when it comes to giving up fantasy points to opposing backs. They are allowing the fewest points per game at only 12.32 standard fantasy points. You may not have a better option than Williams, but temper your expectations concerning his fantasy output. If he can find the end zone, he may be able to salvage his fantasy day, however, I anticipate Pittsburgh doing most of their damage through the air in this one.
DeAngelo Williams Stat Projection – 16 rushes, 72 yards / 3 receptions, 24 yards
Kicker Chris Boswell has been fantastic so far this season. I have a feeling that they will need him to be perfect on Sunday. I think Pittsburgh and Seattle are in for a slugfest and Boswell will be called upon early and often. Lock Boswell in for a nice fantasy outing in this one, and he may just get a chance to connect on a game winner.
Chris Boswell Stat Projection – 3/3 Field Goals, 2/2 Extra Points
The Steelers could lose this game and still be fine concerning the playoff picture. You can be assured that coming off a bye and having two weeks to think about this matchup against the NFC’s elite has Ben and the rest of the team amped for this matchup.
The schedule to date bears out that Seattle has not beaten any of the elite offenses that they have faced, and I believe that Ben will do just enough to get the Steelers a huge road win.
Final Score Prediction – Steelers 23, Seahawks 20
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.