With Week 17 upon us, the NFL regular season is grinding to a halt, and although many of your fantasy football leagues have already concluded, sites like Draft Kings and Fan Duel still function well into the final week of the season.
With that said, it is important to set your weekly lineup, or your championship lineup, accordingly to maximize your value from the Pittsburgh Steelers roster as they prepare to play the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field on Sunday Night Football.
Here is who you should start from the Steelers as they conclude the 2014 regular season.
Ben Roethlisberger - In the Week 14 game in Cincinnati, Roethlisberger lit up the Bengals' secondary for 350 yards passing with 3 touchdowns. Roethlisberger plays notably better at home than he does on the road, which should equal a start for the franchise quarterback in this Week 17 matchup. Add the Bengals' injuries to their secondary and Big Ben becomes a must-start player and not just another option at QB.
Le'Veon Bell - Bell continues to carry the load for the Steelers in the rushing game, but also in the receiving game. Bell's numbers have been mediocre the past two weeks, but the biggest difference is Bell is scoring touchdowns. In the past three weeks Bell has scored 5 touchdowns, which are more than half of his season total in just three games. Bell is finding his groove around the goal line, so despite a lack of production in his rushing statistics, his scoring ability makes up for the deficit.
Antonio Brown - Brown has seemingly turned into a player who can't be stopped, but only contained. Brown has proven getting 5 receptions for 50 yards or more is just another day at the office for No. 84. Brown has eclipsed 100 yards receiving in two of the past three games, and is a threat to make plays whenever the ball is in his hands. Include his ability to return punts and you have yourself a must-start player week in and week out.
Martavis Bryant - Bryant's statistics in the Week 14 matchup against the Bengals looks superb. Four catches for 109 yards and a touchdown, but take away the 94-yard bomb during the fourth quarter and his day was rather mundane. Bryant gets a start this week mainly due to his promotion on the depth chart, providing the rookie with more opportunities, but also with the injuries to the Bengals secondary. Brown will garner the Bengals' top defensive back, leaving Bryant to abuse man-to-man coverage. Give the tall rookie a start this Sunday night.
Markus Wheaton - Wheaton is turning into a clutch third down receiver, but his lack of production in the red zone and deep down the field has made Wheaton expendable in terms of fantasy football. Wheaton's abilities are great for the Steelers, but not for your fantasy football team. Leave the second year wideout on the bench this final week of the regular season.
Steelers DEF/ST - The Steelers defense held the Kansas City Chiefs to 4 field goals last week, but the Chiefs' offense pales in comparison to the Bengals. Cincinnati's running game, with wide receivers like A.J. Green make it difficult for the Steelers defense to stand tall in key situations. Nonetheless, the Steelers defense has been good in the red zone, but did allow Cincinnati to score 21 points in Week 14 while letting Green run all over them. Keep the Steelers defense on the bench this week.
Heath Miller - Miller is a tough player to predict. In Week 14 he had one reception, and that catch was a 1-yard touchdown reception. Miller has been key to the Steelers' running game and has been utilized perfectly beating opponents when blitzing down the middle of the field. Although Miller could have a big game, I'd bet against him being used primarily as a blocker to keep Roethlisberger upright.
Shaun Suisham - The Steelers red zone offense has been inconsistent at best. Bad news for the team, but good news for owners of Suisham who has been perfect from 40-49 yards this season. Steelers fans hope the kicker is relegated to kicking point after touchdowns, but for those looking for a kicker with consistency, kicking at home and possibly delivering a game-winning field goal, Suisham could be your guy.
Lance Moore - You could call this a hunch pick, but Moore has had opportunities this season, but always seems a beat off in terms of timing with Roethlisberger. He is due to have himself a game reminiscent of his time with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. By all means this would be a perfect opportunity for Moore to break out, but to start Moore would be a low-cost option at wide receiver and possibly pay dividends in the long run.