The Week 8 matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers features division rivals that are often times neck and neck in the standings ... But this year is a little bit different. We've got the fantasy projections courtesy of numberFire.
The Bengals are still rolling and it looks like they are for real. Still undefeated going into the game against the Steelers, its obvious quarterback Andy Dalton has a lot to do with that. He has been one of the best passers in the league this season. In Week 6 against the Buffalo Bills, he threw for 243 yards and a trio of touchdown passes. He's thrown at least two touchdowns in all but one game this year and only has two picks to his name. Dalton may not be as big a name as other quarterbacks but he's certainly proving himself worthy of the huge contract he signed with the team in the offseason. It's safe to say Dalton is a franchise player.
Only teammate and wide receiver A.J. Green can make a case that he and not Dalton is the team's most valuable asset. But even in saying that, Green has actually had more of a down year than usual. He has just one 100-yard-plus receiving effort to his name this season (albeit a huge one that was worth 227 yards). The fact is it may not be for a lack of effort. The Bengals also have to take care of wide receiver Marvin Jones, tight end Tyler Eifert, running backs Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill. That's a lot of offensive talent on one squad.
While the man himself says he's unsure if he will play against the Bengals, nearly every expert in fantasy owner in the game expects quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to be in the lineup on Sunday. He sprained his MCL in Week 3 and has been sidelined ever since. And the fantasy value of every player on the team has crumbled, thanks mostly to the conservative play calling the team engaged in while Michael Vick and Landry Jones were under center. Big Ben's return should boost everybody's value. Hopefully that return is indeed coming this week for fantasy owners of all Steelers players.
Especially those that own wide receiver Antonio Brown. Until Jones got the start last week, Brown had managed a combined eight catches for 111 yards and no touchdowns in three games. Those numbers normally represent what Brown would do in one game. Fantasy owners can only hope he and Roethlisberger can rekindle their magic in a hurry. It would be a major league boost to lineups for either player to show up.
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SB Nation presents: NFL Week 8 start/sit fantasy advice