Ben Roethlisberger: Fantasy Expectations for Steelers QB vs. Chargers in Week 14

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IDecember 9, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 04: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers at play against the New York Giants during their game at MetLife Stadium on November 4, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Don't be afraid to start Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on your fantasy football team this week when he returns to the field (via ESPN's Adam Schefter) after missing three games with an injury.

If there was a doubt, there's not anymore. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger will start Sunday vs. San Diego.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 6, 2012

Fantasy league playoffs have begun for many people, and at this stage of the season, you can't afford to start the wrong quarterback.

Despite recovering from a potentially serious injury, Roethlisberger is still an elite fantasy quarterback.

He has thrown 17 touchdown passes with only four interceptions this season. He also has averaged just more than 250 passing yards per game (excluding Nov. 12 vs. Chiefs when he got hurt).

His return will help the Steelers' offense be more explosive than it was last week against the rival Baltimore Ravens.

Wide receivers Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders will continue to be reliable targets for Roethlisberger and use their impressive speed to create big plays down the field.

Wallace, in particular, will be helped by Roethlisberger's return because backup quarterback Charlie Batch wasn't able to connect with the veteran receiver very often during Big Ben's absence.

The emergence of tight end Heath Miller as the team's most reliable offensive player will help Roethlisberger tremendously in the final weeks of the season. Miller is second on the team in receptions and leads the squad in receiving touchdowns.

Roethlisberger will definitely use the Steelers' run game often on Sunday, but the Chargers also rank 21st against the pass and don't have an elite cornerback who can take Wallace out of the game.

Over the last four weeks, the San Diego pass defense has allowed 261.5 yards per game and seven touchdowns.

Fantasy owners can expect Roethlisberger to throw for at least 250 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, which should help fantasy owners who need a strong performance from the quarterback position to make the next round of their league's playoffs.