Oh Ben Roethlisberger, why must you miss another week? Don't you know that your absence has a far greater impact on fantasy football beyond hurting your owners?
I'm sure Big Ben neither knows or cares, but his absence has far-reaching implications. But before we get into that, it has been confirmed that both Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich will miss the key matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens.
Ben Roethslisberger ruled out for Ravens game. So is B Leftwich.— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) November 30, 2012
So what does this mean?
First of all, if you have the Ravens' defense, congratulations—you're in for some solid fantasy points. The Steelers have given up 11 turnovers and a defensive touchdown without Big Ben in the past two weeks, allowing a combined 37 fantasy points to opposing defenses.
Oh, and one of those units was Baltimore two weeks ago. Expect the same with Charlie Batch behind center.
But this also really limits players like Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace and Heath Miller in the passing game. The Steelers haven't had a receiving option exceed 8.2 fantasy points in the two weeks without Big Ben, a trend likely to continue.
What about the running game? All four Steelers running backs lost fumbles last week, and while I would tend to suggest Jonathan Dwyer is the back you want in Pittsburgh, I hardly say so with any confidence.
Besides, if Pittsburgh continues to turn the ball over and gives away points to Baltimore, the Steelers might have to abandon the running game while playing catch-up.
The Pittsburgh defense may be able to keep the team close despite eight turnovers against the Cleveland Browns, but that won't be the case against the Ravens. And that could mean the Pittsburgh defense will have limited fantasy value as well.
Here's what we'll likely see—the Pittsburgh passing attack will be largely ineffective, the team will rush the ball well but the production will be spread across a few running backs, the Ravens' defense will benefit from forcing turnovers, and Baltimore will win a close game.
In other words, don't expect much fantasy production from any of the Steelers. Go ahead, feel free to blame Big Ben.
Well, if you're the sort of person who revels in adding insult to injury, that is.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets miss Big Ben too.