The Week 9 matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots features two great quarterbacks finding themselves struggling in 2013. We have all the fantasy projections for you courtesy of numberFire.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is far from his days of being relevant in the fantasy world. This season, Roethlisberger is averaging a steady 275 yards passing per game. Unfortunately, he doesn't complete enough of his passes or throw enough touchdowns to be considered an elite fantasy quarterback. Last week against the Raiders, Big Ben threw just one touchdown to go with two interceptions in a losing effort.
Luckily for fantasy owners of Antonio Brown, Roethlisberger can still get the ball to his top receiver. Brown had nine catches for 82 yards in Week and is almost a shoo-in to produce, particularly in leagues that reward receptions.
Aside from Brown, rookie running back Le'Veon Bell's performance should be watched closely by fantasy owners. Bell has run into a series of tough run defenses over the last three weeks and managed just one touchdown over that time. The Patriots are considered mediocre in terms of defending opposing rushing attacks, so it'll be interesting to see if Bell can find pay dirt in New England.
New England Patriots
Fantasy owners who obtained the services of quarterback Tom Brady at the start of the season may not have him on their roster at this point. Brady has failed to throw a touchdown pass in two of his last four games. Prior to being shut out of the end zone by the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 5, Brady had one of the longest active touchdown streaks in the league, behind only New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. It appears Brady's career may have plateaued at this point, and he's been the popular subject of trade talk in fantasy leagues lately.
One of the reasons for Brady's subpar fantasy production this year is the Patriots' young receiving corps and lack of healthy veterans. That's why tight end Rob Gronkowski's return from injury became such a focal point as the season progressed with him on the sidelines. Gronkowski's first game against the New York Jets saw him explode back into fantasy lineups with eight catches and 114 yards, including a team-high 17 targets, In Week 8 against the Miami Dolphins, however, the Prow Bowl pass catcher managed just two receptions for 27 yards. Fantasy owners can only hope from a big bounce-back performance for both Brady and Gronkowski against the Steelers in Week 9.