Monday Night Football Preview: Steelers at Chargers
Monday October 12, 2015
Pittsburgh Steelers @ San Diego Chargers
I feel like you shouldn’t get a Monday night game after a Thursday night game, nevertheless, that’s exactly the case for the Steelers. Coming off a much needed extended break, Pittsburgh travels to San Diego to take on the Chargers. Martavis Bryant is eligible to return this week, however, he reportedly tweaked his knee on Monday and isn’t likely to be activated for the game. The team is allowed a one week grace period. Michael Vick will try to rebound after a week and a half of practice with the starters. It will be interesting to see how the Steelers offense looks on Monday.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Key Players
QB Michael Vick
With the extended period of time to get on the same page with his offense, Vick should look more comfortable out there this week. You have to remember he missed camp and was signed shortly before the season started. If Bryant plays it will help out a ton, but that doesn’t look likely right now.
Verdict: Sit Vick. If you need him, he’s not terrible. He’s not a great play either. Of course he has the skillset to have a monster game. You shouldn’t count on it though.
RB Le’Veon Bell
Bell is the best fantasy asset in the NFL, especially with so many of the assumed feature-backs off to a slow start. The Chargers are allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing RBs. Only the Falcons are worse.
Verdict: Start Bell. He’s a must-start every single week. No matter what defense he’s facing, he should be in your lineup. Bell is a no-brainer against this defense.
WR Antonio Brown
Much like Bell is the top running back, Brown is the best receiver. Even without Ben Roethlisberger, Brown is still a must start. Look for him to be relied on even more heavily than usual. He will now be called upon to make plays on his own more than ever out of necessity.
Verdict: Start Brown. Do not be deterred by poor Week 4 performance (by his standards). He’ll be fine. As he builds chemistry with Vick, he will excel. Big Ben has been his QB his whole career, so there was bound to be an adjustment period.
TE Heath Miller
Miller is usually a reliable guy who is going to catch a few passes and has some upside. With that said, he really can’t be trusted with Roethlisberger out. Brown and Bell are going to get theirs, it’s the other guys that going to suffer.
Verdict: Sit Miller. Not only should you sit Miller, sit all the other options in Pitt other than Bell and Brown. They are way too risky with Vick under center. Unless of course Bryant is active.
San Diego Chargers: Key Players
QB Philip Rivers
Rivers is an underrated fantasy option. He has a great matchup against the Steelers and should have his way with them. While he loses Stevie Johnson this week to a hamstring injury, his favorite target Antonio Gates returns from his four-game suspension.
Verdict: Start Rivers. He will have to throw a ton to keep up this week. While the Steelers’ front seven is much improved, their secondary is awful.
RB Danny Woodhead
I went with Woodhead over Melvin Gordon here because he’s a much better option this week. The Steelers are dominant against opposing fantasy RBs. Only the Seahawks and Redskins have allowed fewer fantasy points to RBs. However, Woodhead should still have PPR value, especially with Johnson out.
Verdict: Start Woodhead. I really like him this week. He should see a ton of targets. His skillset matches up much better with the Steelers than Gordon’s.
WR Keenan Allen
Allen is going to see a ton of targets this week. Look for him to take full advantage of a great matchup. He’s starting out this year how fantasy owners thought he’s start off last year.
Verdict: Start Allen. He’s becoming a high-end WR2 who should be started pretty much every week, so this week he’s an obvious start. Allen has a great matchup and Johnson is out of the mix.
TE Antonio Gates
Rivers will be happy to have this guy back. Even at 35 years old, Gates is a very viable fantasy option. He finished as a top-five tight end last season and he shouldn’t be far off from that this year from a points per game standpoint.
Verdict: Start Gates. He’s going to see a ton of targets as always and be a significant contributor. With Johnson out he’ll see extra targets. It’s not like Rivers ever shies away from him anyway.
San Diego: 20
Steelers: Le’Veon Bell
Chargers: Keenan Allen