San Diego Chargers (4-8) vs Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5)
Heinz Field will be rocking on Sunday when Ben Roethlisberger makes his return to the Steelers after a 3 game absence due to a rib injury, as the Steelers welcome the Chargers to town. The Chargers are in the midst of a bad year, with really nothing left to play for but pride. The President already stated that both GM and Coach were going to be canned after the dismal season, so all the players will be on notice that they are playing for their jobs next year.
It hasn’t been a great year to be a Chargers fan. Philip Rivers took himself out of the elite dialogue with a regression of a season so far. It looks like he has lost of zip on his ball, and has become more of a manager with touch throws.
Running back Ryan Matthews hasn’t been anything special this year either. The oft injured back has only found the end zone once on the ground this year, to much of fantasy owners’ dismay. It doesn’t get any easier for him as the Steelers have the best defensive unit in the game in yards allowed. (259 ypg). If you can’t throw on them, or run on them, how are you going to beat them at home this week?
Last week, Charlie Batch and that defense stunned the Baltimore Ravens on the road. The addition of Troy Polamalu was welcomed to the secondary, and is an X factor in both the run and the pass game. Look for him to return to superstar form as his legs are rested, and he’s looking to propel Pittsburgh into playoff contention.
In years passed, it’s always the healthiest team that wins championships and the Steelers appear to be getting healthy at the right time. With the return of Big Ben, the Steelers will also be getting rookie Guard David DeCastro back as well in the next few games. He has missed all of this season with a knee injury.
The Steelers will be featuring a three headed running attack, lead by Jonathon Dwyer, who found the end zone last week for his first career rushing touchdown. Fan favorite wide out Antonio Brown also made his return and was the most targeted receiver on the Steelers side. Look for the connection with Big Ben to come back to fruition in this one.
The Steelers are now healthy, and play under a greater confidence when Roethlisberger is on the field. The defense is nasty, and will force the Chargers into bad spots for much of the game. I think the Steelers win this one ugly, in a low scoring, defensive battle.
Fantasy wise – Antonio Brown, Johnny Dwyer, Heath Miller