Hello again Razzball readers! I’ve really been enjoying contributing to Razzball so far and I look forward to answering more questions and helping more fantasy teams. Asher Molk and I will be working as a team and editing each other’s columns so feel free to ask either of us any questions; we’d love to help! And check us out on Twitter at @BraudeM and @AsherMolk.

Before you read my matchups column I would like to give you some advice:

Be sure all your players are active and ready to roll on game day. If your player is a game-time decision, check 30 minutes before game day – if he’s active, check what kind of role he is going to have in the game and make sure he’s not just an emergency option.

This article is written every Wednesday so it doesn’t always have perfect accuracy for who’s playing. I just wanted to go over those because getting a goose egg out of someone is detrimental to your team.

Before I speak about the Thursday Night game I would like to leave a personal note for my fans and supporters. I am competing in the National Fantasy Football Championship Primetime league as part of a group including my father and two friends. We call ourselves the Braintrust. Last week, we not only clinched our league but also finished first in points during the regular season, out of all 360 teams. Now only 60 teams remain but if you can finish first again – we’ll have a grand prize of $100,00 coming our way. On that note, good luck to everyone on their quest for a championship.

Cleveland at Pittsburgh

After throwing for less than 200 yards in five of his last seven games, there’s no question you’ll want to bench Colt McCoy against the Steelers – even in two-QB leagues. He’s yet to face them this season and this one could get ugly. Peyton Hillis played again last week but was ineffective except for one fluke passing play, in which the Ravens lost him in zone coverage that went for 52 yards. With 31 carries for just 110 yards (3.55 yards per carry) he’s not going to be a reliable fantasy play against the stout Steelers run defense. He’s a flex play at best this week. The only Browns pass-catcher that I could even remotely recommend in Greg Little – he’s very talented but has proven extremely raw and prone to dropping passing. He’s been semi-consistent in PPR leagues because of how often he is targeted. But after only 3 catches for 18 yards against the Ravens he’s difficult to rely on during the playoffs… he’s just a WR4.

This isn’t a great matchup for Ben Roethlisberger because the Browns allow the fewest passing yards per game in the NFL at 173.3. The next concern is his attempts – the Browns are the second-worst in the NFL against the run – allowing 151.2 rushing yards per game. The Steelers will be a more balanced offense in this one so I’m calling Big Ben a borderline QB1. This is a juicy matchup for Rashard Mendenhall, who has become just a RB2 due to the pass-dominated offensive attack. He couldn’t ask for a better matchup (except maybe the Rams) and looks like a low-end RB1 in a game that he should see around 20 touches against the same defense Ray Rice ran for over 200 yards against last week. Mike Wallace has slowed down after a red-hot start and hasn’t topped 70 yards in his last five games. He’s a must start but will be shadowed by Joe Haden, an extremely talented young cornerback. You still can’t sit Wallace who can literally score a touchdown on any play. Antonio Brown has a much easier matchup squaring off with Sheldon Brown in single coverage. The second-year stud is a WR2 in this one. Heath Miller has shown signs of life recently but will be asked to block for the majority this game due to the run-heavy game plan. You can find better options.

  1. timSTi says:
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    Would you start Big Ben or Matt Ryan???

  2. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @timSTi: I’m not a big Matt Ryan fan but the matchups aren’t even comparable so I have to say Matty Ice.

  3. jesse says:
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    Hey Mike! Antonio Brown, Laurent Robinson and Miles Austin. Which two WR’s to start? Thanks man.

  4. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @jesse: Brown and Austin. Robinson isn’t entirely healthy and is a much less talented player than Austin. Brown has been a machine and probably won’t see much of Joe Haden tonight.

  5. eric says:
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    Hi Mike! Big Ben or Ryan Fitzpatrick this week?

  6. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @eric: Definitely Roethlisberger

  7. Tim says:
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    Hi Mike!!!

    Would you recommend Antonio Brown over Santana Moss (I am already starting Mike Wallace)? Thanx!!

  8. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @Tim: I really like Santana Moss’ matchup but I’d go with Antonio Brown. At this point he’s playing too well to sit

  9. eric says:
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    Awesome-thanks Mike!! 3 WR format, who should I start C. Johnson, S. Johnson, J. Nelson, M. Wallace?

  10. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @eric: Start Calvin, Nelson and Mike Wallace. Stevie Johnson just isn’t as reliable as those three.

  11. timSTi says:
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    @Mike Braude: Hooray for starting Rothelisburger over Ryan! Haha. I need a WR & Flex in the .5 ppr :

    McGahee, Blount, Moss, Austin, & Manningham

  12. timSTi says:
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    ^^ the above comment is ass backwards.. I benched Rothelisburger and started Ryan haha..

  13. Chris says:
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    .5 ppr, i need 2 RB

    Gore, M Bush, R Bush, A Foster

    P.s. timSTi is a weenie

  14. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @timSTi: Play Miles Austin as your WR and McGahee as your flex.

  15. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @Chris: I would rank them Arian, Foster, R Bush, M Bush. I don’t like M Bush’s matchup against the Packers, they’ll like have to go pass-heavy quickly. R Bush and Gore are closer but I like Gore against the Cardinals. You have to play Arian obviously.

  16. Benny says:
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    Mike – who would you start in PPR leagues. Need one of each grouping:

    M. Morris or M. Barber
    D. Bowe or M. Austin
    V. Davis, B. Celek, or B. Pettigrew

  17. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @Benny: At RB, this is a tough one but I’m not in love with Morris’ ability so I would play Barber. At WR, gotta go Austin in the shootout with the Giants. At TE, I would play Davis against the Cardinals. It’s about time for him to breakout.

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