It may be a case of too little too late for many of his owners, but Roethlisberger is showing signs of life lately. He has passed for more than 240 yards in each of the past three games and threw for one and ran for another in the Week 11 win over the Bengals. It's hard to trust him because he's only thrown one TD in the past three games but he seems to be finding a rhythm lately and that's good news against a New England defense that doesn't rush the passer well and gives up more than 215 yards passing per game. He's failed to take advantage of several good matchups this year but this one looks good as he should have time to throwe against a weak secondary. Big Ben is looking good this week.
Parker re-aggravated his knee injury last week against Cincinnati and his status for this game is in question. He looked hobbled against the Bengals and even if he starts, he likely won't shoulder the full load with Mewelde Moore continuing to impress. Watch his practice updates closely this week but be prepared to find another RB option in case Parker doesn't play or if it appears he will be limited.
You could make a strong case that Moore has been the Steelers' best RB this season. He again did well in relief of the injured Willie Parker last week, rushing 56 yards and catching four passes for 41. He could start this week if Parker can't go or he could be part of a timeshare if Parker is limited. He's no worse than a good flex starter in PPR leagues and if he starts, he'll have RB1 upside in all leagues.
Ward had a very quiet game in Week 12, catching only one pass in the win over the Bengals. That shoudn't deter you from starting him this week, however, as Ward remains the go-to guy in the Steelers' passing game. Even with the one-reception game last week, he's caught 24 passes in his last four with a pair of 100-yard performances in that span. The Patriots' secondary has been weakened by injuries and will not pose a serious challenge to this offense -- even at home. Start Ward like you normally would.
Holmes has had a disappointing season as he's failed to build on the impressive strides he made last year. On the bright side, he's caught at least four passes in the past three games and was headed toward a big game against the Bengals (5 catches for 84 yards) before having to leave the game after taking a hard hit on a slant route. He's expected to be fine this week and is a solid WR3 as the Steelers should fare quite well in the passing game .
Washington has been active as the Steelers' No. 3 WR, but he doesn't command enough action to be a viable fantasy starter. If Holmes can't play this week, Washington is definitely worth a spot start. Otherwise, keep him benched.
Miller returned to the lineup last week after missing two games with an ankle injury and was one of Roethlisberger's favorite targets, catching four passes for 44 yards against the Bengals. The Patriots have had issues with TEs at times this season (Dustin Keller ate them up in Week 11) so look for Miller to be targeted earlier and often by Roethlisberger. He's a fine spot starting option this week.
Reed had a productive game in Week 12, converting a pair of field goals and scoring nine points. The Patriots give up 20 points per game so Reed should have some chances again this week. If you normally start him, there's no reason to sit him in this matchup.
The Steelers continue to be one of the league's elite defenses. They rank first in the league in total defense and are giving up only 14.5 points per game. Matt Cassel is on fire and the Patriots' passing game is showing signs of life so this will be a big test on the road. Look for Pittsburgh to get its usual share of sacks and force at least one turnover.
Don't look now but Cassel is doing his best Tom Brady impersonation. He's topped 400 yards in each of the past two games and has thrown six touchdowns and run for another in that span. The Steelers boast the league's best defense but Cassel is playing far too well to sit. New England will get nothing on the ground so Cassel will throw it plenty again. He won't pass for 400 yards again this week, but his fantasy owners will be quite pleased with his production.
Morris returned from his knee injury last week but spent most of the game watching Kevin Faulk go off. He rushed for 35 yards and caught two passes before leaving late with another leg injury. His status is questionable but even if he plays, he's a poor option against the league's No. 1-ranked run defense. Keep him benched this week.
Faulk was the star of the Patriots' backfield again last week. He rushed for 53 yards and a score and caught six passes for 52 more. He'll be the Patriot RB to start this week as he'll again be very active in the passing game. He's caught at least four passes in three of his past four games and is a solid flex option in PPR leagues.
Moss is looking like Randy Moss again with Cassel playing at an elite level. Moss went off in Week 12, catching eight passes for 125 yards and three TDs. He has now caught four touchdowns in his past two games and has 22 receptions in that span. This is a tough matchup for Moss is again playing at a high level so there's no reason to sit him. Start him and enjoy the ride as Moss is back.
Welker continues to have a stellar season in PPR leagues. He has caught 81 passes this season and has posted three straight 100-yard games. He isn't scoring (only one TD) but his high volume of receptions and receiving yards continue to make him a WR2 in all scoring formats. The Patriots will throw it a ton this week and Welker will get his usual 6-plus receptions. Start him as you normally do.
Just like last season, Gaffney is emerging late in the year as a very viable fantasy option. He has caught 16 passes and a TDsin the past three games and has topped 85 yards receiving each of the past two games. With defenses focusing so heavily on Moss and Welker, Gaffney sees plenty of single coverage and Cassel is finding him. If you need to dig deep in larger leagues this week, Gaffney is a fine sleeper pick.
Watson's inconsistent nature continues. One week after catching eight passes against the Jets, he caught only one pass in Week 12 against the Dolphins. He's only topped 20 yards receiving in a game twice this season so he's too risky to start even in a game which should feature plenty of Patriot passing.
Gostkowski was back in 2007 form, gobbling up extra points as he converted six last week in the win over Miami. For the season, he has converted 26 of 28 FG attempts. The Patriots' offense is clicking so it should move the ball and give Gostkowski 2-3 FG opportunities at least this week. He's a fine fantasy starter as usual.
The Patriots have been a major disappointment so far this season. They don't rush the passer well, they don't force turnovers and they haven't scored a single touchdown. The good news is Ben Roethlisberger will give up sacks and make poor throws at times, so this unit is actually looking a little better than usual. But given how they usually stink that's not saying much. You can do better than to start this defense this week or any week for that matter.