Week 14 fantasy takeaways: Big Ben goes cold on road again

Andy Behrens
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016, in Orchard Park, N.Y. The Steelers won 27-20. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016, in Orchard Park, N.Y. The Steelers won 27-20. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

1. Big Ben’s road woes, still woeful.

While Le’Veon Bell was carrying fantasy owners into the playoff semifinals, his quarterback was taking many of us out. Sigh. Ben Roethlisberger’s road horrors continued on Sunday at Buffalo, as he tossed three picks and zero TD passes, finishing with only 220 passing yards. If you aren’t acquainted with his recent home/road splits, just check the key numbers over the past three seasons:

Home, 2014-16 – 56 TDs, 14 INTs
Road, 2014-16 – 22 TDs, 22 INTs

Brutal. That’s almost as severe a split as you’ll ever see. Blame it on whatever you like — protection, comfort level, deflated inflation, whatever — but we shouldn’t pretend it’s not a thing. Roethlisberger was miserable in the snow against the Bills. His final pick was horrendous. If you somehow survive the week in fantasy with Ben at QB, look for alternatives in Week 15, when the Steelers travel to Cincy.

2. So the Devontae Booker era is apparently over.

Justin Forsett just showed up in Denver, claimed off waivers within the week. He’s old by running back standards (31), he’s tiny (5-foot-8), and he’s had a terrible season at two stops. And still the Broncos coaching staff clearly prefers him to Booker, a first-year back averaging only 3.5 YPC (and struggling in pass-pro). Forsett out-touched Booker on Sunday, nine to five, and he out-gained the rookie, 35 yards to 11. Forsett’s first carry for Denver ended with a fumble, and it didn’t matter, workload-wise. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Booker. Forsett is obviously familiar with the Kubiak playbook, which helps his cause. Forsett’s no better than a desperation flex over the next two weeks, facing New England and KC. But Booker is entirely out of the conversation.

3. Zach Ertz remains a PPR machine.

Another week, another double-digit target total for Ertz. He hauled in 10 balls for 112 yards on 13 chances against Washington on Sunday, one week after delivering a 9-79-1 line on 15 targets at Cincinnati. Ertz has now seen 60 targets over his last six games, which elevates him to must-start status. Injuries slowed him in the first half, but there’s really no sitting him these days. He’d be a top-six tight end on my board if we re-drafted today.

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