NFL Week 14 Fantasy QB Breakdown: Can You Trust Ben Roethlisberger on the Road?
Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (88), quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7).
- Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger stands out in the FantasyLabs NFL DFS Models with his Week 14 matchup against the Raiders in Oakland.
- Packers QB Aaron Rodgers also has value this week against the Falcons in his first start without Mike McCarthy as his head coach.
- In this piece, I'll highlight a few key situations to target this week, but check out the full piece on FantasyLabs for more.
We are in the final month of the year, and the 2018 NFL season is still on pace for a record-breaking campaign with an average of 23.9 points per game per team. The action continues with a 13-game main slate that kicks off on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
In this positional breakdown, I’m looking at five quarterbacks at the top of the individual Pro Models that Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Adam Levitan, Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, Kevin McClelland (SportsGeek) and I have constructed.
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players. Stay ahead of your competition with our industry-leading DFS-focused news feed.
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Two quarterbacks at the top of the FantasyLabs Pro Models catch my eye this week.
- Ben Roethlisberger: $6,800 DraftKings; $8,600 FanDuel
- Aaron Rodgers: $6,000 DraftKings; $8,100 FanDuel
Ben Roethlisberger: Pittsburgh Steelers (-10) at Oakland Raiders, 51 Over/Under
UPDATE (12/8): Right tackle Marcus Gilbert (knee) is out. Backup Matt Feiler will continue to fill in at right tackle.
On the Wednesday edition of The Action Network NFL Podcast, guest Renee Miller talked about Roethlisberger as a potential cash-game play. That he is at the top of some of our Models — even though he has the position’s second-highest salary and is away from Heinz Field — highlights how good his matchup is. The Raiders rank dead last in pass defense with a 29.8% mark in Football Outsiders’ DVOA.
This might be one of the rare times when it’s justified to consider Road Roethlisberger in all formats.
Even though the Steelers have lost two straight games, and even though Roethlisberger disappointed last week with just 18.2 DraftKings points as a home favorite on Sunday Night Football, he has averaged 346.3 yards and 2.5 touchdowns passing per game over the past month while completing 68.8% of his passes.
He’s in fine recent form and for the season, Roethlisberger is first in the league with 517 attempts and 3,945 yards passing. Under former quarterbacks coach and first-year offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, he leads all quarterbacks with 546 dropbacks, and the team is second with a 67.2% pass rate.
Maybe the Steelers have skewed toward the passing game this year simply because of the absence of running back Le’Veon Bell (contract dispute).
Whatever the reason, Roethlisberger is on pace to smash his career-high mark of 608 attempts, set in 2014, when he led the league with 4,952 yards passing.
Because the Raiders have been so bad on defense, allowing the second-most points in the league with 30.6 per game, they’ve “held” quarterbacks to an unexceptional 20.8 FanDuel points per game: With significant leads, teams have elected to attack the bottom-dwelling 2-10 Raiders on the ground instead of through the air. As a double-digit favorite, Roethlisberger could be hindered by a run-heavy game script.
On the other hand, starting running back James Conner (ankle) is out, so the Steelers are likely to employ a committee led by little-used veteran Stevan Ridley and rookie Jaylen Samuels. Even if they get ahead, the Steelers might choose to rely more on their franchise quarterback than their backup-filled backfield.
Aaron Rodgers: Green Bay Packers (-4.5) vs. Atlanta Falcons, 51 O/U
UPDATE (12/8): Wide receiver Randall Cobb (hamstring) and tight end Jimmy Graham (knee, thumb) are in after full practice sessions on Friday. Right tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee) is officially doubtful after missing practice all week: It would be a surprise if he played. Left guard Lane Taylor (foot) is questionable after being limited in practice every day.
Falcons middle linebacker Deion Jones (foot) and defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (shoulder) are in.
Last week, the Packers suffered their worst upset in at least 40 years, after which they almost immediately fired longtime head coach Mike McCarthy. In the wake of McCarthy’s dismissal, sharp bettors invested in the Packers, making them significant home favorites over the Falcons.
While Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, he’s struggled since the team’s Week 7 bye. Losing five of six games, Rodgers has averaged just 17.5 DraftKings points, 251.2 yards passing and 1.5 touchdowns per game over the past month and a half.
Over that span, he has he scored more than 20 DraftKings points just once. Handcuffed by the unimaginative scheme and predictable play-calling of McCarthy, the Packers and Rodgers routinely underperformed expectations.
But now that McCarthy is gone, it’s possible that interim head coach and offensive coordinator Joe Philbin could empower Rodgers and the offense to play with a looser style.
For at least this week, Rodgers is enticing. He’s objectively been the best fantasy quarterback of the past decade — he has seven top-two fantasy finishes since 2008 — he’s still near the peak of his productive powers, and yet he’s priced outside of the top six at the position.
Anytime Rodgers is available as a discounted home favorite, exposure in guaranteed prize pools is warranted.
Positional Breakdowns & News
Be sure to read the other Week 14 positional breakdowns.
For more in-depth NFL analysis information, check out The Action Network.