Fantasy Football Start 'Em or Sit 'Em Decisions: Steelers vs. Browns

Eric StashinSenior Writer IDecember 8, 2011

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 04:  Running back Peyton Hillis #40 of the Cleveland Browns runs by defenders Jarret Johnson #95 and Cory Redding #93 of the Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Just hours before the start of Week 14 I know many people have questions running through their heads. Who should I start? Who should I sit?

Let’s take a look at how some of the recent news changes things:

Peyton Hillis – Cleveland Browns – Running Back
This is one of the biggest questions facing fantasy owners this week, as Hillis is listed as questionable due to a hip injury heading into tonight’s game. We’ll have to monitor the news as the game approaches, but even if he plays should he be considered for fantasy owners?

According to Mary Kay Cabot (via Twitter):

“RB Peyton Hillis (hip) was limited in practice today. QB Colt McCoy (knee) participated fully.”

That was the only practice the team had this week, so it definitely isn’t a good sign. As it is, it is not like he has been strong since returning to the field n Week 12. Over the past two weeks he’s rushed the ball 31 times for 110 yards and 0 TD (3.5 yards per carry).

Consider the following issues heading into tonight’s game:

  1. Even if he plays there’s the risk of an early game setback
  2. His uninspiring play of late
  3. While the Steelers defense has not been as good as expected, they have still allowed just 96.9 rushing yards per game and 6 TD
  4. The presence of Montario Hardesty (who would get the bulk of the carries if Hillis misses the game)

There’s far too much risk involved in Hillis to trust him (assuming you have a viable alternative).  Leave him on your bench if at all possible.

Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers – Quarterback
There is obvious a little bit of concern about Roethlisberger, as he is suffering from a thumb injury. To an extent it has shown in his performance, failing to throw for over 200 yards in each of his past two games since breaking his thumb in Week 10. Of course, a big lead also skewed things this past week, as he had just 23 pass attempts.

The Browns passing defense is allowing the fewest yards per game this season (173.3). Are they that good, or are they just so bad against the run that teams have little reason to throw the ball?  Considering they are allowing the second most rushing yards per game (151.2), the latter could be part of it.

While the Steelers should give them a steady diet of Rashard Mendenhall, look for them to pick their spots with Roethlisberger as they did in Week 13 (he threw 2 TD and 0 INT). It all depends on who your other option is, but Roethlisberger should be considered nothing more than a low-end QB1 for the coming week.

Make sure to check out all of our Week 14 articles: