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Thursday Night Fantasy Analysis: Carolina Panthers at Pittsburgh Steelers

Jeremy AlpertSenior Analyst IIDecember 23, 2010

Week 16 Match-up:  Carolina Panthers (2-12) at Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4)

Rankings based on top 25 QBs, 40 RBs, 60 WRs and 25 TEs

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Carolina Panthers

(Panthers Schedule)

Opponent Defensive Ranks

Pittsburgh Pass Defense – 2010: Yards Allowed/Game 24th - TDs Allowed T-fourth

Pittsburgh Rush Defense – 2010: Yards Allowed/Game first – TDs Allowed T-first


Carolina Offensive Cast


Jimmy Clausen (QB Week 16 Ranking: Not ranked)

2010 Season: 128/243 – for 1,304 yards & two TDs

If he gets 10 completions, I’ll be impressed.  If he actually survives this game, I’ll be even more impressed.


Jonathan Stewart (RB Week 16 Ranking: No. 30)

2010 Season: 147 carries for 668 yards & two TDs || seven receptions for 94 yards & one TD

A lot of people gave up on Stewart earlier in the year, and if you’re one of them, you’re likely pretty bummed you did.  Over his last four games, Stewart has averaged 115 yards on 5.9 yards per carry, and though he won’t come close to these numbers against the Steelers, with Troy Polamalu, he might be able to take one into the endzone.


Mike Goodson (RB Week 16 Ranking: Not ranked)

2010 Season: 97 carries for 435 yards & three TDs || 36 receptions for 298 yards & no TDs

I love the kid’s game, but he won’t get enough touches to do any damage against this top-ranked defensive front.


Steve Smith (WR Week 16 Ranking: Not ranked)

2010 Season: 43 receptions for 537 yards & two TDs

Smitty won’t be worth starting in fantasy leagues until at least next year with Clausen running the show.  Maybe if Carolina grabs Andrew Luck in the draft we'll see Stevie return to form, but not until.


David Gettis (WR Week 16 Ranking: Not ranked)

2010 Season: 32 receptions for 470 yards & three TDs

…and if you can’t start Smitty, then you definitely can’t start Gettis.


Brandon LaFell (WR Week 16 Ranking: Not ranked)

2010 Season: 34 receptions for 405 yards & one TD

…likewise for LaFell.


Dante Rosario (TE Week 16 Ranking: Not ranked)

2010 Season: 29 receptions for 242 yards & no TDs

Seriously now…


Pittsburgh Steelers

(Steelers Schedule)

Opponent Defensive Ranks

Carolina Pass Defense – 2010: Yards Allowed/Game eighth - TDs Allowed sixth

Carolina Rush Defense – 2010: Yards Allowed/Game 23rd – TDs Allowed 31st


Pittsburgh Offensive Cast


Ben Roethlisberger (QB Week 16 Ranking: No. 16)

2010 Season: 203/335 – for 2,600 yards & 14 TDs

Carolina has a tough pass D, but with the Steelers in need of a win as they go down to the wire with the Ravens for a divisional title, you can bet Roethlisberger will at least put up some decent stats.  The most comparable situation to this game was when Pitt played against the Raiders back in Week 11.  Both Oakland and Carolina have good pass defenses and below-average rush Ds, yet Big Ben was able to put up 275 yards with three TDs in that game.  I doubt he does that well, but a couple of TDs could be in the mix.


Rashard Mendenhall (RB Week 16 Ranking: No. 3)

2010 Season: 292 carries for 1,173 yards & 10 TDs || 20 receptions for 125 yards & no TDs

Mendenhall has been dependable all year as he comes into this game as a top-eight RB in yards, attempts and TDs.  Against a bottom-feeding rush D like the Panthers have, I’d be shocked if he doesn’t put up over 100 yards and a TD or two.


Mike Wallace (WR Week 16 Ranking: No. 19)

2010 Season: 53 receptions for 1,048 yards & eight TDs

Wallace got back on track against the Jets last week putting up over 100 yards on seven catches in the game.  Pittsburgh needs a win this week, so I expect Big Ben to turn to his best receiver quite a bit in this one.


Hines Ward (WR Week 16 Ranking: No. 47)

2010 Season: 51 receptions for 672 yards & four TDs

The old vet is about as dependable of a player as it gets in this league, even if the stats don’t show it.  The Steelers will likely take what they can get at times against this Carolina pass D, which could favor Ward and his ability to get first downs.


Emmanuel Sanders (WR Week 16 Ranking: No. 59)

2010 Season: 23 receptions fora 306 yards & two TDs

Sanders actually led the Steelers in targets last Sunday (13) as he went for seven catches and 78 yards on the day.  This third-round draft pick out of SMU is electric as hell, and in a game where the Steelers should be comfortably in the lead by halftime, you might see him get a whole lot of playing time once again.


Heath Miller (TE Week 16 Ranking: No. 24)

2010 Season: 33 receptions for 384 yards & one TD

Miller will be back this week, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him split time with Spaeth as they ease him back into action.


Matt Spaeth (TE Week 16 Ranking: Not ranked)

2010 Season: nine receptions for 80 yards & one TD

Spaeth has done a fine job filling in for Miller, but with the starter back in the lineup this week, he’s not worth a look anymore.

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