The bye came at the perfect time for Big Ben. He lit up the Jaguars in Week 5 with 309 yards and three TDs and then got a couple of weeks to rest his injured shoulder. He'll take aim this week at a Bengals' pass defense that gives up only 167.3 yards a game but don't be fooled, this is a matchup Roethlisberger will win and win convincingly.
Parker is expected back this week after missing Week 5 with a knee injury and he'll face a Bengals defense he has owned in recent years. In six games against Cincinnati, he's posted four 100-yard performances and only been held under 85 yards in a game once. You think he's looking good this week? So do I.
Moore looked great in Week 5 filling in for Parker and he's likely earned a slightly larger role now that Parker is back. But this isn't a RBBC by any means. As long as Parker is healthy, this is his running game. But Moore is fine Parker insurance so save a roster spot for him.
Ward remains Mr. Reliable in the Steelers' passing game. He's caught at least four passes in every game but one and has four TDs this season. He's a fine WR2 against a Bengals secondary that had all sorts of trouble with Jerricho Cotchery and Laveraneus Coles last week.
Holmes hasn't taken off the way many fantasy experts anticipated but he's still extremely active in the Pittsburgh passing game. The Bengals' secondary couldn't contain Cotchery in his No. 2 role last week for the Jets, so look for Holmes to gash them for at least one big play and a TD this week.
Miller finally got going in Week 5, catching a touchdown in the win over the Jaguars. He's a hit-or-miss fantasy option so if you start him, be aware there's a good chance he spends most of his time watching other players catch passes. That's life for Heath Miller in the Pittsburgh passing game.
The Steelers rank second in the league in total defense and don't have to worry about Carson Palmer this week as he sits out another game with his elbow injury. In his place is Ryan Fitzpatrick, who'll need all his smarts against Dick Jauron's blitz-heavy schemes. This will be ugly. Real ugly.
Fitzpatrick will make his third start this season in place of the injured Carson Palmer and he's yet to give any indication he can even be an adequate NFL QB. The Steelers have the No. 3 pass defense in the league and will make life miserable for him on Sunday. He's not even a consideration in 32-team leagues.
Perry's days as the starter may be coming to an end. He looked terrible last week against the Jets and head coach Marvin Lewis is hinting that either Cedric Benson or Kenny Watson could get a chance to see more carries. With Palmer out, the hope for a running attack against the Steelers is non-existent. If you're starting Perry this week, you're a braver soul than me.
Benson's role could grow this week given Perry's struggles. But this isn't the week to roll with him give the opposition and Palmer's absence from the lineup. Benson has a chance to take over the starting job at some point so keep him on your roster but have him firmly on the bench this week.
The good news for Houshmandzadeh – he's caught 13 passes in two games with Fitzpatrick at QB. The bad news? Those 13 receptions have gone for a meager 99 yards. Fitzpatrick lacks the ability to throw downfield but he'll target Houshmandzadeh plenty again on short routes so T.J. remains a very viable WR2 in PPR leagues. If he can surprise with a TD, he'll have a productive afternoon. But you need to seriously temper your yardage expectations for everyone connected to the Bengals' passing game again this week.
Johnson has become just another guy at WR this season. He's not catching many passes and Palmer's absence robs him of his big-play element. There's no reason to start him given his lack of upside and the difficulty of this matchup.
The Bengals have an opportunistic defense but they will be tested by a well-rested Pittsburgh offense. They have yet to find a way to slow down Willie Parker and Ben Roethlisberger will get his against them too. You can do better. Much better.