The final week of the regular season is filled with match ups rife with playoff implications. The Pittsburgh Steelers couldn't be more aware of the postseason implications that are largely out of their control. The Cleveland Browns were in a position to play like a team with nothing to lose. Instead, they played like a team anxious to close the book on 2013. It wasn't so simple for the Steelers. They needed to play like a team with everything to lose. In the end, they managed a 20-7 victory over their division rival.
The Steelers did their part. They won a game they needed to win for a chance to enter the postseason. The listless Browns will head into the offseason while the Steelers hope for another week. Fantasy owners were fortunate to see key starters from both rosters take the field on Sunday. As usual, we're here to discuss the fantasy impact of Sunday's game.
Le'Veon Bell: Bell rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. He broke Franco Harris' four-decade team record for yards from scrimmage by a rookie in the process. He added one catch for six yards. It was an appropriate ending to a stellar 2013 for the rookie running back. Bell was able to crack the leaderboards despite missing three games to start the season. He'll be a strong RB2 option in 2014.
Antonio Brown. Brown hauled in nine catches for 87 yards on Sunday. He set an NFL record with at least five catches and 50 yards receiving in all 16 NFL games. He's been a WR1 in all formats, and will be a top wide receiver in 2014.
Pittsburgh defense: They allowed just seven points and managed three sacks, one interception, and a fumble recovery. Pittsburgh awarded double digit fantasy points in most formats.
Ben Roethlisberger: Roethlisberger completed 19-of-31 passes for 179 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. It was a shaky performance by Roethlisberger. He led his team to a win, but it was a day largely defined by his team's 120 rushing yards. He'll likely be considered as an elite QB2 heading into 2014 in most fantasy formats.
Josh Gordon: Gordon caught seven passes for 82 yards. Fantasy owners were likely disappointed by his failure to find the end zone, but Gordon has been nothing short of outstanding all season. Through a carousel of quarterbacks and a two-game suspension to start the season, Gordon still managed to put up elite WR1 numbers in 2013. He'll be in the discussion atop the 2014 leaderboards.
Jordan Cameron: Cameron probably deserves to be considered as an honorable mention rather than a true Week 17 performer. He caught five passes for 69 yards on Sunday. As rocky as Cameron's 2013 season was down the stretch, he's still a borderline top-five tight end in most formats when all is said and done.
Browns running backs: As a team, Cleveland rushed for 79 yards on Sunday. Edwin Baker led with 69 yards on 18 carries. It was a fitting end to the season, as Cleveland's backfield has been lethargic for most of 2013.