Ravens-Steelers fantasy breakdown

Posted Jan. 13, 2011 @ 10:34 a.m.
Posted By Michael Blunda

Here is a look at how Saturday's Ravens-Steelers divisional playoff game could unfold from a fantasy perspective:

When the Ravens have the ball: The Ravens obviously would love to establish the run with Ray Rice in what should be a physical showdown, but that won't be easy against a Steelers "D" ranked No. 1 vs. the run at 62.8 yards per game allowed. In two games against Pittsburgh this season, Rice mustered just 52 yards on 17 carries (3.1 avg.). Baltimore likely will have to look to the air to move the ball in this one. QB Joe Flacco was decent vs. the Steelers in 2010, averaging 261 yards and a TD. He'll be airing it out enough to finish with respectable stats. Look for Anquan Boldin, who re-emerged last week at K.C., to have a decent outing; he torched Pittsburgh for 5-118-1 in Week 13. Derrick Mason will also see targets, but it could be TE Todd Heap who helps move the chains. He had 10-108-0 last Sunday and is a great safety valve for Flacco.

When the Steelers have the ball: If anybody is going to run the ball in this contest, it's Rashard Mendenhall. He's strong enough to pick up tough yards against Baltimore's stout front and fast enough to burst through holes, as Jamaal Charles did last week. Mendenhall ran for 25-79-2 vs. the Ravens in Week Four and is a safe bet to find paydirt. QB Ben Roethlisberger missed the first game vs. the Ravens but did throw for 253 yards, one TD and one interception against them in Week 13. Pittsburgh would rather control the contest on the ground, but if Mendenhall is bottled up, Big Ben could be forced to throw often and should have an above-average day. The Ravens did a fabulous job shutting down WR Hines Ward this season, so Mike Wallace is the wideout who should have the better outing. The speedster had 5-76-0 last time against Baltimore and will be looking to beat them deep. TE Heath Miller will be a target around the goal line, and slot WR Emmanuel Sanders could be a surprise contributor.