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This week kicks off another entry of our fantasy football prediction blog. The Pittsburgh Steelers play at home for the first time since the NFL opener against the Tennessee Titans. This is a must-win for the Steelers in order to keep up with the division leaders, Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are currently up 2 games on a struggling Steelers team and the Steelers are looking to rebound against a very talented San Diego team after losing two close games in which they should have won convincingly. Here is a list of fantasy football matchups that you may want to consider:
Ben Roethlisberger – Big Ben is going to have to come through against San Diego’s solid defensive front. Even with the loss of Jamal Williams, the Chargers defense is loaded with playmakers. However, Ben plays his best against good competition in prime time moments. I expect more of the same from Big Ben. Ben will put up 30 points on this
Chargers defense, at home, in primetime and display to the NFL why he is an elite quarterback in this league
Mike Wallace – Wallace has been the only pleasant surprise for the Steelers this year. He caught the most passes of any Steelers receiver last week totaling over 100 yards. Wallace is a mismatch waiting to happen at the #3 spot. He’s got amazing speed and quickness and hasn’t dropped a pass this season. During the NFL draft, Wallace’s stock fell because scouts said his hands were suspect at best. I don’t see that with this young kid, however I can’t say the same for Limas Sweed.
Heath Miller – Miller is “Mr. Dependable”. He always seems to do his job and do it well. He has great hands and is a good blocker. He “seals the edge” when lined up as a tight end and does surprisingly well when lined up as a fullback. Last week, he was dominant on the first couple of drives as a receiving tight end. But for some reason, offensive coordinator, Bruce Arians stopped designing plays to go to Miller.
Arians has been heavily criticized by Steelers fans and rightfully so. Why would he not get Miller more involved in
Rashard Mendenahll – This is a “dark horse” pick. Per Mike Tomlin, Mendnenall didn’t play one snap last week because he didn’t feel comfortable that Mendenhall knew his assignments (i.e. he failed the weekly written game plan test). We need Mendenhall to step up now and I think he’ll show-off some of his talent this week (IF HE ACTUALLY RECEIVES PLAYING TIME).
San Diego Chargers
Philip Rivers – Rivers was expected to be an MVP candidate this year. He has loads of talent and is surrounded by talent. This could be a shootout-type game resulting in a classic Rivers vs Big Ben show down. I expect both quarterbacks to put up good numbers this game. With the Steelers pash rush less than desirable, Rivers could be in for a big game.
Antonio Gates – Gates is in for a big game against this struggling defense. With Polamalu out with an injury, the Steelers don’t have a good solution for the All-Pro tight end. Lawrence Timmons has the speed and athleticism to cover Gates but it will be a challenge as is for any linebacker in the NFL.
Darren Sproles – Sproles is the type of running back the Steelers always have trouble with. He has great cutback ability (i.e. Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew) and has acceleration through the hole. He’s also difficult to find behind a massive San Diego offensive line at 5-8 185 pounds. Sproles might be most dangerous as a kick-off returner. The Steelers special teams and defense must stay in their lanes and play disciplined football or Sproles could take one to the house on any given play.