Chiefs @ Pittsburgh
We all know that Alex Smith doesn't like to throw the ball. Unfortunately for him, he may need to put the ball in the air more for this Sunday night. The Steelers have the worst pass-rush defense (1 sack in 2016), and myriads of injuries on their secondary (2 Int in 2016). So far, the opponent QBs have had so much room and time to operate that they have been attempting 43.7 passes per game (3rd most), and those went for 332 yards each time (the most). If the Chiefs don't have plans to throw in this game, especially when they are the underdog, it's because either Andy Reid doesn't watch enough football or Alex Smith has zero skill as a signal caller. Obviously, both cases aren't true, and we are very likely to see rare 40+ passes from Smith, and this will be a fun night for his top target, Jeremy Maclin. Jamaal Charles can also play some passing downs this week, which means Spencer Ware won't have enough volumes to put up a top-shelf stat line, even if he gets bulk of the carry.
Big Ben and the company has a very interesting matchup coming up. The Chiefs haven't been good at pressuring the QB without their star linebacker, Justin Houston, so far this season (3 sacks, tied for 2nd lowest). Obviously Big Ben loves to hold the ball longer than anyone, and this would be a good night for him to take as much as time he wants inside the pocket. The Chiefs secondary, however, already have 8 interceptions (most in the league; to be fair, 6 came in one game against Ryan Fitzpatrick). Marcus Peters, who led in INT last season, already has four (most in the league), and the team had 22 last season (2nd most). This team is very good at snatching balls out of the air, and Big Ben, who threw 16 interceptions in 2015 (3rd most in only 12 games) will be very likely to be punished for his aggressive approaches. The volumes will be there, but the Steelers also need to feature their star RB, Le'Veon Bell in his first game back. The Steelers passing game is truly looking at a boom-or-bust (I really hate this word when other people use it, but I have no choice) scenario as they will certainly have few big plays along with some TOs.
Jeremy Maclin: 80 yards, 6 rec, 1 TD
Maclin is the top receiver in this team without a doubt, and he will certainly see some targets in this game.
Antonio Brown: 120 yards, 8 rec, 1 TD
We can't never expect a bad thing from Antonio Brown, but this game could be even more special. Big Ben will have all the time in the world for big plays to develop, and nobody is better at getting open on the deep part of the field than Antonio.
Alex Smith: 280 yards, 2 TD
Even Smith has to pass more in this matchup, and the Steelers defense is not good enough to force "Mr. Perfect" to make any mistake (Smith had 7 Int in 16 games last season). We can never expect a lights-out performance from him, but this will be a very efficient night with multiple scores.
Le'Veon Bell: 100 yards, 4 rec, 1 TD
Bell is the unquestioned top RB in the league, and he will be a special runner every week behind the Steelers' O-line. He will put up his usual spectacular stat, but Big Ben will try to target deep more in this game, which may cap his upside. He is still a must start no matter what.
Travis Kelce: 70 yards, 5 rec
Alex Smith loves throwing to Kelce, so he will certainly be involved with the offense if Smith does throw more than the usual. This night belongs to Maclin, however, and Kelce will take his usual role as a safety blanket, with little higher volume on his way.
Spencer Ware: 70 yards, 1 rec
Ware can very well serve as a lead back, even with Jamaal Charles active, but the Chiefs have to throw more in this game. Charles is one of the best receiving backs in the league, so he will presumably take over the third downs if he plays. Ware's upside is very limited.
Ben Roethlisberger: 250 yards, 2 TD, 2 TO
Big Ben is the true boom-or-bust candidate. We will see some huge connections between him and Antonio Brown, but he is very susceptible for TOs against Marcus Peters. Le'Veon Bell also needs some carries on his big comeback night, so the QB is a risky play. He certainly has chance to have a big night (as always), but we play a QB for his floor, not his ceiling in Fantasy.