Fantasy Football 2014: Ravens at Steelers 11/2/14 Week 9 Preview
Baltimore Ravens (5-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3)
Sunday, November 2, 2014; 8:30 PM ET
The NFL’s weekend finale on “Sunday Night Football” in Week 9 is shaping up to be a great matchup. The Ravens (5-3) will be heading into Pittsburgh to face the Steelers (5-3) in a game that could very well go to the eventual winner of the division. Baltimore is coming off a narrow loss to the Bengals, while Pittsburgh torched the Colts in Week 8.
As usual, there will be lots of notable fantasy players out on the field during this matchup, so with that in mind let’s take a closer look at the key contributors on both sides so that we can figure out what to be expecting from our rosters.
Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens: Two weeks removed from his five-touchdown breakout against Tampa Bay, Flacco has hit the skids once again. He posted zero touchdowns and two interceptions in the Cincinnati loss, completing just 50 percent of his passes in the process. Sure, he was hosed on a long TD to Steve Smith, but that wouldn’t have made much difference in the big picture.
Flacco isn’t much more than a band-aid in fantasy terms, so be careful where you rely on him. He’ll likely be middle-of-the-road here.
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Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers: It’s pretty safe to say that no one saw this performance coming. Roethlisberger made it into some lineups this week as a deep-league or bye-week guy, but most people missed out on his ridiculous six-touchdown, 522-yard performance (both franchise records) against the Colts.
You’ll see a big waiver wire push for Roethlisberger this week, but don’t get carried away with it. He has multiple touchdowns in just four games this year, and is still a backup-level talent in fantasy.
Justin Forsett, RB, Baltimore Ravens: Emerging from the ashes of a torn-up Ravens backfield this season, Forsett has done pretty well with the opportunities he’s been given. He posted 85 total yards against the Bengals, continuing his streak of solid play.
That said, Forsett has always had a touchdown vulture peering over his shoulder, and this week that was Lorenzo Taliaferro, who scored twice. That means Forsett’s fantasy value takes a significant hit, but he’s still a good flex play.
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: After a bit of a scare in Week 8, Bell ended up with a nice game against the Colts. He ended up with 148 yards of total offense, and even though he was held out of the end zone thanks to Roethlisberger’s crazy afternoon, fantasy owners will take it.
Bell left briefly with an ankle injury, but was able to return. It might be worth it to monitor his status in practice this week. Otherwise, all systems go here.
Steve Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens: After becoming a must-start WR in the fantasy game, Smith has regressed in three of the last four weeks. The latest came Sunday, when he posted just 35 yards on three catches.
Smith did have an 80-yard touchdown called back due to a pass interference penalty, so his day could have been much better. He’s still a starting candidate for fantasy purposes, and could break one at any time.
Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: Fantasy owners who are fortunate enough to have Brown on their rosters don’t have to think twice when putting him in the lineup. He’s been the most dynamic WR in the league this season, and he did it again in Week 8 with 133 yards and a pair of touchdowns through the air.
Brown is doing it in all phases of the game this year, and he’s just about as automatic of a start as it gets in fantasy. He should see continued success with some tasty matchups in the next several weeks as well.
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