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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fantasy football: Start-and-sit list for tonight's Steelers-Browns game

Brady Quinn has thrown for 675 yards and accounted for eight touchdowns (seven passing and one rushing) in his last three games. In that same span, the once-vaunted Steelers defense -- minus safety Troy Polamalu -- has allowed Matt Cassel, Joe Flacco and Bruce Gradkowski to throw for a combined 845 yards and six touchdowns, with zero picks.

All of which might tempt a desperate owner to think with his heart and not his head and start Quinn tonight against the Steelers.

One word of advice: Don't. As well as Quinn played in parts of losses to the Lions and Chargers, he still should not be in anyone's fantasy lineup -- especially in Week 14, which should mark the start of your league's postseason. Quinn is no better than a No. 2 QB in fantasy, and that would have to be as a low-end No. 2 in 12- and 14-team leagues.

Before we get to the rest of the start-and-sit list, here are a few notes on the defenses:

-- The Steelers have the No. 5 overall defense and are the league's best against the run, giving up only 77.8 rushing yards per game and 3.6 yards per attempt. Pittsburgh has allowed three rushing TDs in 12 games.

-- The Steelers are much more ordinary against the pass, the area at which Polamalu's injury is most evident. Pittsburgh is No. 17 vs. the pass and has only eight interceptions, compared to 15 TD passes allowed.

-- The Browns are the league's worst defense at 400.3 total yards per game, and Cleveland ranks 29th vs. the run (154.2 yards per game, 14 TDs) and 26th against the pass (246 yards per game, 18 TDs, six picks).


Steelers: QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Rashard Mendenhall, WR Santonio Holmes, TE Heath Miller, K Jeff Reed, defense and special teams

Browns: None

Quick slants: The assumption here is Hines Ward will not play because of a hamstring injury. If he is active, start the Steelers' receiving leader (72 receptions, 922 yards, six TDs). ... Roethlisberger threw for 417 yards, two TDs and one pick in the Steelers' win over the Browns in Week 6. He has thrown for 3,145 yards in 11 games, a total that is 368 shy of his career high of 3,513, set in 2006. ... Mendenhall has rushed for 842 yards in nine games as the Steelers' lead back. He has six TDs in that span. ... Holmes, who had five catches for 104 yards in the last meeting against the Browns, has scored a TD in two straight games and has 34 receptions for 490 yards in his last five contests. ... Miller, who had five catches for 80 yards and a score in Week 6 vs. the Browns, has only two catches for 29 yards in his last two games. He had 54 receptions for 490 yards and five TDs in the first 10. ... The Steelers forced four turnovers and had a pair of sacks in the last meeting against the Browns. ... Reed had nine points in the Steelers' 27-14 victory.


Steelers: WR Mike Wallace (if Ward is active)

Browns: QB Brady Quinn, RB Jerome Harrison, RB Chris Jennings, WR Mohamed Massaquoi, K Phil Dawson, defense and special teams

Quick slants: Quinn's eight TDs in the last three games are three better than the Browns' team total on offense in the first nine games. ... Harrison, who has battled an illness all week, is probable for tonight. He was effective last week (35 yards rushing, seven catches for 62 yards and two TDs), but shouldn't be much of a fantasy option until Weeks 15 and 16, when the Browns play at Kansas City and play host to Oakland. ... Massaquoi has two TDs in his last three games, but has only three catches for 36 yards in his last two. ... Dawson, who has 29 points in seven games, scored a combined 228 in 32 games from 2007-08.

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