Get ready, get ready, get ready! The fantasy goodness that will flow out of the New England at Pittsburgh game could be the stuff of legend this week. First things first though, let me address a couple of things that I’ve heard on my trips around the internet. Number one, I’ve heard so much talk this year about Ben Roethlisberger not wanting to play. It’s really simple folks, when Roethlisberger no longer wants to play he won’t play. Number two, since the Miami game, I can’t tell you how many articles I’ve seen that have questioned Brady’s ability. Articles that to one degree or another say that he’s done. Really? The Dolphins defensive line dominated against the Patriots offensive line. That’s a big reason why Brady completed 8 passes to his wide receivers and 14 to backs out of the backfield. Even a quarterback the caliber of Brady needs time. He was under duress, he’s not done. That taken care of on with the show.
Every time the Steelers and Patriots get together it has potential conference and playoff implications. That’s part of what makes these games so special. It’s a different kind of special from the underdog story that we all love. Rooting for the underdog to knock the big kid down a notch or two is part of every sports fans upbringing. There will be no underdog at Heinz Field Sunday afternoon. These are the two big kids on the block. Combined these two teams have won 11 of the 51 Superbowls played. That includes four of the past 12. They are the most successful franchises in the AFC. They bring out the best in each other.
The Other Rivalry
Roethlisberger, in a four-game sample against New England, has completed 120 out of 185 passes. That’s right out 65% if your counting. You add in the 10 touchdowns against five interceptions and that’s a strong 4 game set. Those numbers, broken down into fantasy points come to a robust 29.1 points per game. To put that into perspective, if you take all of Roethlisberger’s games in his career his averages comes in at 20.2. It’s obvious to me that Big Ben plays with a little extra fire when the Patriots are involved.
Speaking of Patriots, Brady has been involved in a few of these games also. His career baseline is slightly better at 22.0 fantasy ppg. In the last four he’s played against the Steelers Brady has connected on 91 of 126 attempts for 1140 yards. Not quite Roethlisberger numbers but there’s more. 12 of those passes found their way into the end zone. Not only has Brady thrown for two more touchdowns but also five fewer interceptions. As we all know five minus five is zero. Can’t throw any fewer than that. The fantasy point calculator stops on 29.6 per game for Brady.
I’ll have my popcorn ready
Russell Wilson leads all quarterbacks this year in average fantasy points per game at 23.2. Aaron Rodgers was the leader in 2016 averaging 23.8 points a game. The year prior to that it was Cam Newton leading at 24.3 points per game. Given the meaning of the game Sunday, (home field throughout the AFC playoffs) I expect that both Brady and Roethlisberger will bring out the best in each other. I think they’ll both put up fantasy points in bunches. I’ll be ready.