Steelers-Packers fantasy breakdown

Posted Feb. 03, 2011 @ 12:05 p.m.
Posted By Michael Blunda

Here is a look at how Sunday's Steelers-Packers Super Bowl could unfold from a fantasy perspective:

When the Steelers have the ball: QB Ben Roethlisberger should have fond memories of the last time he faced the Packers. It was in that 2009 meeting that Big Ben threw for a career-high 503 yards with three TD passes in a 37-36 Pittsburgh victory. Don't expect similar numbers this time around, though. Not only do the Packers boast a top-five pass defense, but they are also adept at pressuring QBs and forcing interceptions. The Steelers' top two wideouts, Mike Wallace and Hines Ward, have both been held in check during this postseason, and they'll have the tough task of taking on CBs Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams. While neither is likely to have a monster day, the pair should be targeted enough to produce, with the speedster Wallace being the better bet to make a big play. The club's most productive receivers in the playoffs have been rookies Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown. Those two are definitely sleepers in this matchup. TE Heath Miller is also someone who could surprise; he had a career-best 118 yards on seven catches vs. Green Bay in '09. Unlike last season's game against the Pack, Pittsburgh should be able to establish a running game behind RB Rashard Mendenhall, who has 47-167-3 on the ground through two playoff contests. He should get fed the ball as the Steelers try to control the clock and keep the ball from the Packers. Look for Mendenhall to be one of the game's top producers.

When the Packers have the ball: QB Aaron Rodgers wasn't at his best in the NFC title game after getting knocked around by Chicago, but having two weeks to rest should mean he'll be close to full strength for the Super Bowl. He had one of the better days of his career in 2009 at Pittsburgh, throwing for 383 yards and three TDs, and Rodgers could carve them up this time, as well. As long as he's able to get rid of the ball quickly and avoid blitzers, his final tally should be lofty. Of course, WR Greg Jennings is the guy he'll be throwing to most often. Jennings has a team-leading 17 grabs for 239 yards during the playoffs and has been nearly impossible to cover. While Donald Driver is the team's No. 2 and has had some nice postseason moments, Jordy Nelson has emerged as a major weapon the past month, hauling in 12-146-1 in the playoffs. Both guys will be heavily involved in the passing attack, and James Jones should see some targets as well, possibly as a deep threat. Running the ball could prove mighty difficult for the Packers, as they face the league's top run defense. Rookie RB James Starks has been a much bigger part of the offense than anyone expected, piling up 70-263-1 rushing in the postseason, but his style is unlikely to result in many yards against the Steelers' stout front. Brandon Jackson will be used on third downs as a pass-catching threat, and John Kuhn will come in at the goal line, but neither should be a serious factor.