Steelers vs. Titans: Breakout Fantasy Stars to Watch for in Thursday's Matchup

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IOctober 11, 2012

October 7, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall (34) carries the ball against Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (24) during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 16-14. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

If this year's Thursday Night Football pattern of blowouts and bad matchups has taught us anything, it's that there is little reason to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Tennessee Titans—unless you plan on cheering on some featured fantasy performers. 

With both the Steelers and Titans heading in completely opposite directions, it seems as if NFL fans are digging deep for reasons why they should give the league their attention Thursday night. If you have one of these stars on your roster then you can stop digging. 

Here we break down a trio of fantasy stars who are primed for breakout performances on Thursday night in Tennessee. 


Ben Roethlisberger

Given the way the Tennessee Titans' defense has played through the first five weeks of the season, I expect No. 7 to have a huge night through the air. 

Roethlisberger has eight touchdowns in four games this season and only one interception. Don't expect him to add to that surprisingly low turnover count either. Tennessee's D has just four takeaways this season, and only three interceptions in five games. 

I'll leave you with these jaw-dropping statistics: The Titans have allowed at least 30 points in every one of their games this season. They rank 25th against the pass and have given up 12 passing touchdowns in five games.

Sitting Big Ben would be unforgivable.


Kendall Wright

Matt Hasselbeck has made it very clear that he wants to get the ball to rookie wide receiver Kendall Wright when he drops back to pass. Hasselbeck targeted Wright 11 times last weekend against the Minnesota Vikings and connected with the former Baylor Bear nine times for 66 yards. 

At 5'10", 196 pounds, Wright is a speedster on the outside and a game-breaking talent capable of flipping the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense on its head. 

Wright has been targeted 44 times in five games, 16 times more than any other Titans wide receiver. He has 27 receptions this year and has found the end zone twice for Tennessee.


Rashard Mendenhall

Even on a bad knee, Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall would have a decisive advantage going up against a wretched Titans rush defense. Tennessee ranks 28th defending the run this season, and is surrendering more than 144 yards on the ground per week. 

Mendenhall rushed for 81 yards and a score on just 14 carries in his first appearance this season last week against the Eagles. That bodes well for Mendenhall owners considering he's going up against a D that has allowed six rushing touchdowns in five weeks. 

The 25-year-old back is a 1,000-plus-yard rusher and will have his way on the ground Thursday night. You can bet on it. 


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