If your Thanksgiving is typically highlighted by family feuds and rivalries, Thursday night has the NFL game for you. The Ravens and Steelers renew their intense NFL rivalry in the final of the three NFL matchups which kicks off at 8:30 on NBC.
Both teams are on the fringes of the playoff race and badly need a win to get in position coming down the stretch. Baltimore is 4-1 at home this season but come in at 5-6 overall including a three-point loss in Pittsburgh. The Steelers have been playing better lately winning five of their last seven after starting 0-4.
The Steelers and Ravens both have some solid fantasy options, so if you want some fantasy production with your dessert here’s my quick takes on the players playing in the nightcap.
Ben Roethlisberger-Pittsburgh Steelers: Roethlisberger has thrown six touchdowns in his last two games with a total of 584 yards. He’s been a fairly consistent low-end QB1 recently in Pittsburgh’s pass-heavy scheme which gives him plenty of opportunity to make plays down the field. The Ravens secondary has struggled at times which should make Ben a solid QB2 option this week.
Joe Flacco-Baltimore Ravens: Flacco hasn’t thrown for 300 yards in any of his last five games and hasn’t thrown for three touchdowns in any game this season. Flacco threw for 273 yards last week against the Jets most of it coming on a 66 yard strike to Jacoby Jones. He can throw the deep ball, but he hasn’t put up QB1 numbers consistently enough to make him a regular starter. That being said, the Steelers secondary has struggled, so there should be opportunities for Flacco making him a high-end QB2 this week and he can be a QB1 if you need an emergency starter.
Le’Veon Bell-Pittsburgh Steelers: Bellhas been over 85 all-purpose yards in each of his last four games although he’s only found the end zone once. He is involved in the passing game and is averaging over 21 touches per game. He’s a nice RB2 this week as he faces the Ravens D who he went for 99 yards against in their matchup earlier this season.
Ray Rice-Baltimore Ravens: Rice has been a huge disappointment this year for owners who invested an early pick in him this season. He had a huge game two weeks ago in Chicago, but crashed back to earth last week totaling just 30 yards on 16 carries and adding a catch that netted -3 yards. Rice isn’t a good play this week, so see what your other options are. In my mind, he’s risky even as a flex play at this point.
Antonio Brown-Pittsburgh Steelers: Brown is a unquestioned WR1 especially in PPR leagues. He gets double-digit targets almost every week and has found the endzone six times this season including four in the last four weeks. Brown’s not in a great matchup, but is still a must start.
Emmanuel Sanders-Pittsburgh Steelers: Sanders found the end zone last week for the third time this season and had six catches for 52 yards. The Ravens are a tough matchup, so try to find a better flex play if possible.
Torrey Smith-Baltimore Ravens: Smith had just two catches but finished with a solid 74 yards last week against the Jets. He typically struggles against the Steelers but had 61 yards on three catches in their meeting earlier this season. The Steelers secondary was torched by Josh Gordon last week, and Smith will hope to duplicate that this week. However, I see Smith as a WR2 even though there is definitely some upside.
Jacoby Jones-Baltimore Ravens: Jones had a huge week last week going for 103 yards and a touchdown against the Jets last week. He did get a huge boost for his 66-yard score, but he was targeted six times and is growing into a larger part of the Ravens passing attack.
Heath Miller-Pittsburgh Steelers: Miller’s usage fluctuates, but he has been targeted five times or more in each of the last five games. He had five catches for 41 yards against the Browns last week and scored a touchdown against the Ravens in the game earlier this season.
Dallas Clark-Baltimore Ravens: Clark doesn’t get enough targets to be a starting TE.
Pittsburgh Defense: Pittsburgh’s D has stepped it up in the last few weeks scoring 21 points in ESPN standard scoring last week. They had a horrible week against New England a few weeks ago, but overall they’ve been pretty solid. I don’t expect the game to be high-scoring, but the Ravens will be conservative to avoid turnovers which will limit the Steelers upside.
Baltimore Defense: The Ravens D looked great last week, but that was mostly due to Geno Smith’s turnovers. They’ve been decent, but I think they’ll be limited much like the Steelers by the style of game. It should be low-scoring but I doubt either side gets big turnovers.
Pittsburgh Steelers 20, Baltimore Ravens 17
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