The Steelers have allowed the fewest yards through the air this year, but they also haven’t faced a QB like Brady yet. They had a similar ranking last year when Tom torched them for 350 yards and four total TDs. I would pencil him in for 300+ and 3 TDs this week. There is no QB I’d rank higher.
Wes Welker/Deion Branch
Welker had 8 catches for 89 yards in Pittsburgh last year, and I think he’s a safe bet to approach triple digits and a score this week. Brach is a bit trickier. He hasn’t been seeing a ton of targets, but he has posted a pair of respectable statlines the past two weeks (7-74-1 and 3-69-0). I think you’ll see the Steelers use top corner Ike Taylor on Branch and try to bracket Welker, so Branch will probably have a hard time eclipsing last year’s numbers. He’s probably a WR3 or a flex play this week.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis/Stevan Ridley/Danny Woodhead
BJGE is the only player from this backfield I will feel comfortable starting for the next several weeks. The Steelers are historically tough against the run, but BJGE carved them up for 120+ total yards last year. Look for him to top 75 yards and put one in the end zone. The return of Woodhead puts a sizeable dent in Ridley’s fantasy value. Neither player is likely to see more than 10 touches in most games unless injuries press them into service, so you’ll want to keep both players on the bench for the foreseeable future.
Rob Gronkowski/ Aaron Hernandez
Gronkowski has taken some heat in the media this week for posing for shirtless photos with porn star BiBi Jones. I’d figure that the only beef his teammates have with the photos is the fact that Gronkowski was the one who was topless. Poor decision there, Gronk. I think he’ll make up for it with close to 100 yards and a score. Hernandez should create a matchup problem for the Steelers secondary as well, so don’t be surprised to see him visit the end zone with 60+ yards as well.
The Steelers D should be good enough to stall a drive or two in the red zone. Expect the usual 1-2 FGs and 4+ XPs.
New England D/ST
The Patriots defense has shown signs of life the past two weeks, and they should force the Steelers to be one dimensional since Pittsburgh’s offensive line is in shambles. I’d rank the Pats D just outside the top 10 this week. Expect somewhere around 21-27 points allowed, 2-3 sacks and a turnover.