Fantasy Football 2015: Steelers at Patriots 9/10/15 Week 1 Preview
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0) at New England Patriots (0-0)
September 10, 2015 8:30 PM ET
Coming up on Thursday, we’ve got the official kickoff to the 2015 NFL season between the Steelers and the Patriots. These two teams have quite a history together, and this is one of both teams’ biggest rivalries outside of their own divisions.
All of that buildup and intrigue will certainly translate to your fantasy football roster as we get our own season underway. Let’s check out a few of the key contributors on each side of the ball so we can figure out what we might be able to expect on the inaugural edition of “Thursday Night Football.”
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers: After a solid season in 2014, Roethlisberger comes into this year as a mid-level No. 1 fantasy quarterback. He tossed for nearly 5,000 yards in his 2014 campaign with 32 touchdowns.
We’re pretty high on Roethlisberger this year, just like everyone else. That said, it’s hard to tell what to expect from the Steelers offense in this opener with no Le’Veon Bell. Big Ben needs a strong running game to be at his most effective, but he’ll hold his own regardless.
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Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots: All those fantasy owners who snagged Brady at a bargain price in their drafts are dancing happily right now. He triumphed over his four-game suspension and will be taking the field in the opener this Thursday.
Brady should be on pace for another nice season. You can expect around 30 touchdowns and 4,500 yards without much trouble.
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Here’s where things start to get interesting for the Steelers. Williams is the proverbial next man up after Bell’s two-game suspension, and will see time as a fill-in for fantasy purposes over the next couple of weeks.
This is Williams’ first year with Pittsburgh, so even in a starting capacity you can expect him to share RB duties via committee. We’d tend to shy away from him in fantasy for that reason.
Brandon Bolden (?), RB, New England Patriots: The Pats are facing a similar situation with lead back LeGarrette Blount out this week with a suspension (and a lingering knee injury). That leaves us with an uncertain stable of RBs, who seem to be a sketchy fantasy plays at best. We figured Jonas Gray would fill in, but the team cut him Saturday. We suppose Bolden is the next guy up, but the Patriots are notorious for just plugging runners in at will.
We generally don’t trust any Pats RB in fantasy on a weekly basis, as they seem to go a different route every time. Try to avoid the situation if you can.
Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: Brown is about as automatic a start as you can get, since he was the No. 1 WR off the boards in most fantasy leagues. He’s coming off a 129-catch, 1698-yard season with 13 touchdowns, and though he probably won’t reach those lofty heights again, he’ll certainly come close. The Pats will be paying extra close attention to him Thursday since Bell is gone, however.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots: Speaking of automatic starts, Gronk is hands-down the consensus No. 1 TE in fantasy. He bagged 82 grabs for 1,124 yards and 12 scores in 2014 and may even eclipse that this season.
Gronkowski benefits even more with Brady back in the mix, so you can expect the fireworks to start right off the bat here.
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