Ben Roethlisberger Start/Sit Thursday Night Football Week 14: Can you trust Big Ben on Thursday night?

Ben Roethlisberger Start/Sit Thursday Night Football Week 14: Can you trust Big Ben on Thursday night?

“What are we doing with Ben Roethlisberger this week?” If you’ve played fantasy football in the last few years, you’ve either heard or said this exact sentence. Odds are also good that you’ve had no idea how to answer it. Well, I’m going to do my best heading into Week 14. Should you start or sit Roethlisberger on Thursday Night Football?

Ben Roethlisberger’s fantasy season

Big Ben has started 11 of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 12 regular-season games this year. In those games, he’s led the team to a 6-5 record. Oddly enough, the one game he missed was the one game that the Steelers tied in Week 10.

Big Ben’s 2021 by the numbers

Roethlisberger has thrown for a total of 2,758 yards, 18th-most in the NFL. He has completed 269 of his 415 attempts and thrown for 16 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. His play has landed him as the QB22 in fantasy with 156.82 points. That averages out to a paltry 14.26 fantasy points per game. Yuck.

Ben’s numbers look even worse when you look closer. He’s averaging a meager 6.6 yards per attempt, good enough for 38th at the position. This means that there are some teams with two QBs with a higher average in the NFL. Based on this stat alone, it’s clear that Roethlisberger isn’t throwing very far downfield. Whether that’s due to a lack of power or a lack of trust is unclear.

PFN’s own Offensive Value Metric (OVM) paints a similar picture. Big Ben is QB21 in that category with a 22.24 grade on the year. While OVM isn’t really used to compare players, this kind of score puts him around others who are mediocre at the position.

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Players like Baker Mayfield and Taylor Heinicke are just behind him. None of these three have really been lighting things up on the field this season.

Roethlisberger’s been injured as well

The low numbers are a result of Roethlisberger’s performance on the field, but he’s missed a lot of practice time due to injury. While he’s only missed one game, the 39-year-old QB is on the injury report week in and week out for missing time between games. That shouldn’t be shocking at his advanced age, but it illustrates another point that we need to remember in fantasy.

Older QBs aren’t all built like Tom Brady. Most are actually built more like Big Ben. They play hurt, miss practice, and do their best to get the job done on Sunday. As long as there isn’t a highly drafted rookie behind them, most teams let them play this way as long as they can. Given the Steelers’ other options at the position, I understand — but boy is it rough watching Roethlisberger play.

He is rumored to have told people that this will likely be his last season. The talent is barely hanging on, and if you’re not gonna win a title, it’s probably smarter to just hang up the cleats. While Roethlisberger has missed time for a variety of reasons, he was recently marked as “old” by NBCSportsEdge when reporting on his absence earlier this week. While a little rude, it’s not exactly wrong either.

Start or sit Roethlisberger against the Vikings?

Ben’s lengthy history aside, let’s turn our attention to the future and see how he matches up against the Vikings on Thursday night. Should fantasy managers risk putting him in their lineup or leave him on the bench this week?

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The matchup with the Vikings

On the year, the Vikings have been pretty exploitable against the pass. They’ve allowed 3,006 passing yards on the year and 21 passing touchdowns. These come out to 23rd and 24th in the NFL respectively. Most teams have been able to find success through the air against them.

By comparison, the Steelers are 15th in passing yards and 16th in passing touchdowns themselves. While Ben has been rough from a fantasy perspective, the team as a whole seems to have been pretty much average so far this season. The numbers favor the Steelers, but I wouldn’t expect a shootout or anything either.

Should you start Ben Roethlisberger this week?

This game is on a short week for an aging and oft-injured quarterback. If I could avoid playing Roethlisberger, I definitely would. Even with his top playmakers in Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, Najee Harris, and Pat Freiermuth all on track to play, I have my doubts.

The last thing you want to do in Week 14 of your fantasy season is put it all on the line with Big Ben in your lineup. That being said, if you’re up against a wall and there are no other options left, then I guess it beats taking a zero. Roethlisberger has a low floor but a relatively high ceiling, so if you’re a huge underdog, it might make sense as well. Otherwise, I’m saying “no thank you” to Roethlisberger this week.