Congratulations! You’ve found the first installment of 3-Fer Thursday, a new weekly column here on Fantasy CPR which highlights my three best thoughts for fantasy football owners regarding the Thursday night game.
After last week’s scintillating Rams/Cards matchup the NFL has offered up a Week 6 contest which might have looked appetizing in April, but here in October, well…maybe not so much.
The Pittsburgh Steelers travel to face the Tennessee Titans in a game which finds the home team a 5 ½ – 6 point underdog. Tennessee’s only victory came at home in a wild overtime game against the Detroit Lions, and the Steelers come in after a gritty win at home last week versus the Eagles.
I do believe that Tennessee is as bad as their record indicates, so with that being said let’s look at a few things fantasy owners can consider:
1. Ben Roethlisberger
Big Ben has a pretty solid fantasy history against the Titans, averaging close to 25 points per game against them. Last season he blew Tennessee up, throwing 5 TDs and posting more than 34 points in a week 5 win at Heinz Field.
Tennessee’s rushing defense is actually improving, but so far in 2012 their passing defense just has not gotten it together. Opposing QBs average 26 points per week against the Titans and they have allowed 12 passing TDs so far on the season.
Roethlisberger was disappointing against the Eagles last week, (although hopefully your league adjusting for his TD “pass” to Mendenhall) but I look for him to have a nice bounce-back game tonight on the road and expect him to throw for close to 300 yards with 2+ TDs.
2. Heath Miller
Part of the Titans’ passing issues stem from their inability to cover TEs. Of the 12 passing TDs the team has given up, 8 have gone to a TE. TEs are averaging an insane 18+ points per game when facing the Titans.
Miller has been quietly effective so far this season, and while he is only seeing about five targets a game, he has caught 4 TDs. The Steelers shouldn’t need Miller to pass protect too often in this game, and the Black and Gold love to throw the ball in the red zone – so far this season six of the Steelers’ seven red zone TDs have come via the pass.
I love Miller as a solid TE1 this week and expect him to grab 6 passes for 65 yards and catch a TD.
3. Kendall Wright
I had to look high and low to find a Titan to reference this week. Kenny Britt says he feels better than he has all season, and Matt Hasselbeck has shown he can be a viable fantasy QB, but I’m going with the rookie WR, Kendall Wright. So far in 2012, Wright has arguably been the best rookie WR in the league, and he is seeing his workload increase steadily.
Over the Titans’ last three games, Wright has been targeted an average of 10 times per game, and he has posted a respectable 7+ points in each. He and Hasselbeck have now had another week to work on their timing and rapport, and the Steelers’ secondary will once again be without their leader Troy Polamalu’s luxurious mane. Like Samson, the Steelers’ D just isn’t the same without Polamalu’s hair on the field.
Against Pittsburgh this season, WRs have scored more points than RBs or TEs have, averaging close to 20 points per game. While I wouldn’t expect Wright to pull a Marques Colston this week, I do think he has a solid chance to post a 6-7 catch game for 80 yards and a TD.
Hopefully the Titans can muster a similar degree of competitiveness to what the Jets showed us on Monday night. I don’t see Pittsburgh running away with this game on the road, and if Kenny Britt does have a significant role that will help the Titans’ chances a lot.
I think both running games get bottled up and I look for a lot of passing offense throughout the game, so start your Steelers and consider a spot start on Wright and maybe Hasselbeck (if your league doesn’t penalize 2 points for INTs).
Good luck, and enjoy the game!