This week kicks off another entry of our fantasy football prediction blog. Steelers face off against the 1-4 Cleveland
Browns today at 1pm at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA. The Steelers have the opportunity to win its 3rd straight game against a struggling Cleveland Browns team. Last week, the Browns somehow pulled out a 6-3 victory against the Buffalo Bills which was one of the most painful games I had to watch in a long time. Starting Browns quarterback, Derek Anderson went a miserable 2-17 in passing, but somehow the Browns were victorious.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a 28-20 win against the Detroit Lions. The Steelers offense looked impressive again with Rashard Mendenhall averaging over 5 yards a carry and Ben Roethlisberger distributing the ball nicely to a wide range of his weapons including Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward, Heath Miller and rookie, Mike Wallace.
Not so impressive was the Steelers defense. Again, the defense allowed an inferior team to come back in the first quarter until a streak of sacks by LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison ended the game. From the defensivie perspective, the good news is that all-pro safety, Troy Polamalu is returning to action for the first time since the season opener against the Tennessee Titans. The bad news is standout defensive end, Aaron Smith, who is critical to the Steelers 3-4 is out for the rest of the season with a torn rotator cuff.
And now for our Predictions:
Ben Roethlisberger – Big Ben is off to one of his best starts in his already very successful career from a statistical perspective. Roethlisberger is 1st in the league in completion percentage and second in total yards only behind Peyton Manning. Roethlisberger is being considered a league Most Valuable Player (MVP) by most and I expect his numbers to only get better especially against a struggling Browns team. Big Ben is a strong pickup this week amongst fantasy owners.
Heath Miller – Miller is on pace for his first Pro Bowl appearance and has been exceptional for the Steelers passing game so far this season. Miller is second on the team with 29 receptions and 235 yards. He also leads the receiving corps with 3 TD’s. Expect about 60 yards receiving and another touchdown for Heath Miller this week.
Hines Ward – Ward is the Steelers leading receiver thus far this season with 33 receptions and 440 yards receiving. With Holmes wrist injury continuing to be a nagging problem, Ward will see more balls thrown his way. However, it’s concerning to fantasy owners that Ward only has 1 touchdown so far this season. With all things considering Ward is still a good play this week against the Browns.
Rashard Mendenhall – Mendenall has looked real impressive the past couple of weeks with Willie Parker being out due to a turf toe injury. In two games, Mendenhall is averaging over 5 yards a carry and has 3 touchdowns. Against the league’s worst running defense Mendenhall is expected to start and will see the majority of all carries with Fast Willie being the change of pace back as he recovers from his injury.
Joshua Cribbs – Unfortunately for the Browns, based on their play thus far this season, Cribbs is the only guy I would consider as a fantasy owner this week. With Braylon Edwards being traded to the Jets, Cribbs should see some increased action as a 3rd WR. Aside from that, Cribbs is well known to be an extremely dangerous kick-off returner and has had prior success against the Steelers special teams unit.
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