Week 14 kicks off on Thursday Night Football with the Pittsburgh Steelers hosting the Cleveland Browns in an old-fashioned rivalry game. For fantasy football owners, this game is even more important in that it marks the start of most fantasy football playoffs. There are not a ton of fantasy options in this game, but guys like Rashard Mendenhall and Ben Roethlisberger will impact fantasy performances.
Ben Roethlisberger is a solid matchup, although not as great as some might think. Big Ben is coming off a solid game against Cincinnati in which he threw for 176 yards and two touchdowns. Against Cleveland, odds are high the Steelers spend much of their time rushing. The Browns actually have a decent pass defense, but that is likely do as much to teams pounding their 30th-ranked rush defense. You still can easily start him, but just keep that in mind.
Rashard Mendenhall faces a great matchup against said 30th-ranked rush defense. Although Mendenhall has been up and down at times this season, he is a definite start against the Browns. Mendenhall is struggling to get much in the way of yards, but he is getting into the end zone, which has made up for his yardage totals. That does not make for a ton of fantasy football consistency, but the highs are solid.
Emmanuel Sanders is sitting out Thursday's game, which gives Antonio Brown a bit more value. The Browns will likely roll much of their coverage over on Mike Wallace, leaving Brown open for a lot of single coverage. Heath Miller is also a potentially solid start as the Browns have struggled to some extent against tight ends. Miller has struggled the last three weeks, but could be due for solid game.
The Cleveland Browns have limited fantasy options on Thursday. You could make the argument that kicker Phil Dawson is really the only guy worth starting this week. Quarterback Colt McCoy could do some decent things, but if you are in the playoffs, you likely are not relying on a QB like Colt McCoy. Running back Peyton Hillis is questionable but expected to play. While Hillis would get a majority of the touches, he is facing a solid defense that will likely be playing with a sizable lead. If you need him go with him, but he has limited upside.