PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 23: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers hands the ball off to teammate Rashard Mendenhall #34 during the game against the Carolina Panthers on December 23 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Week 17 Fantasy Football Rankings: Pittsburgh Steelers

You can check out SB Nation's Steelers blog at Behind The Steel Curtain.

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Fantasy Football Start Em Sit Em: Play All Steelers Against Browns

If your fantasy football team is still playing this week, you’re probably concerned about who to start. Some teams will be sitting their stars, and even more will have little left to play for. Here’s a good general rundown of who might pose problems for your fantasy team this week.

If you have any Steelers on your team, though, you have a dream situation. Not only will your guy be playing, but he’ll be playing hard, and he’ll be playing against players he can beat. The Steelers need a win against the Browns to wrap up a first-round bye, so they’ll be playing hard – and the Browns are bad. So automatic starts like Rashard Mendenhall and Mike Wallace remain automatic, and more marginal starts like Hines Ward (or, if you’re in a very deep league, Emmanuel Sanders or Heath Miller) suddenly look a lot better. And Ben Roethlisberger, who has posted big yardage totals but not big touchdown numbers in the past few games, looks great as well. Take advantage of the Steelers’ situation this week by playing as many of their players as possible.

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Fantasy Football Projections: Ben Roethlisberger Ranked No. 6 Among Week 17 Quarterbacks

Playthisguy.com ranks Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger No. 6 among Week 17 quarterbacks, behind Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and Matt Schaub, and ahead of Tom Brady. Roethlisberger is also projected to score 20.5 fantasy points this week.

That sounds about right. Roethlisberger could have a big game against the Browns, who aren’t well-equipped to stop him. The Steelers have a ton on the line this week, with a first-round playoff bye at stake, so there’s no reason for Roethlisberger to relax at all. That’s why he’s ranked ahead of someone like Brady, who has very little to play for. Roethlisberger and the Steelers are great plays this week if you’re worried about whether your fantasy stars will play, or will play their hardest. If for some reason you’re in a keeper league and you can still make trades, or if you’re choosing between Roethlisberger and another credible quarterback option, consider Big Ben.

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Week 17 Fantasy Football Rankings: Pittsburgh Steelers

If your fantasy football team is still playing in Week 17, good luck to you, as some teams will be sitting their stars or planning for the offseason. If you happen to have any Pittsburgh Steelers on your team, though, you're in luck - they have a lot to play for, with a first-week bye on the line, and are playing a mediocre Cleveland Browns team to boot. The Steelers are an oasis in the Week 17 desert.

With that in mind, here are my comments on the Steelers this week. (The rankings are from ESPN.)

Ben Roethlisberger (No. 6 among quarterbacks): Roethlisberger is a fine play this week, since he has 246 or more yards in his last seven starts and the Browns have a mediocre pass defense. Also, he passed for three touchdowns in his last game against Cleveland.

Rashard Mendenhall (No. 6 among running backs): Mendenhall has scored in his last two games. Expect the Steelers to rely heavily on him against a weak Cleveland rushing defense.

Mike Wallace (No. 7 among wide receivers). Wallace keeps having one good game after another in what has become a breakout season. There's no reason to expect the party to stop this week.

Hines Ward (No. 26 among wide receivers). In the Steelers' last game against the Panthers, Ward continued his pattern of following a 100-yard game with several weak ones. He has had four 100-yard games this year, so you can't dismiss him entirely, but he has had between 40 and 100 yards only once. He's certainly capable of a big game against the Browns, but I'd still probably avoid him. Even playing Emmanuel Sanders, who has worked his way into the Steelers' offense in the past month, might be better at this point.

Heath Miller (No. 22 among tight ends). Miller had his most productive game of the year against Carolina, at least in terms of his fantasy value, but you still can't count on him for more than a few points.

Steelers (No. 1 among defenses). Yes, Colt McCoy had a pretty big game against the Steelers a couple months ago, but I wouldn't expect that to happen again. The Browns are one of the worst passing teams in the NFL, and the Steelers rarely seem to have much trouble stopping the run. Expect them to post big numbers this week.

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