Ben Roethlisberger: Fantasy Outlook for Steelers QB in Week 17 vs. Browns

Nicholas Goss@@NicholasGoss35Correspondent IDecember 27, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 23:Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers drops back to pass against the Cincinnati Bengals during the game at Heinz Field on December 23, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Fantasy football owners should start Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on their team in the final week of the season despite his late-game struggles over the last two weeks.

Roethlisberger is still capable of throwing for over 300 yards and more than one touchdown pass, even though the Steelers have nothing to play for in Week 17 versus their AFC North rivals the Cleveland Browns.

He has thrown for 270 or more yards six times this season, and he has 23 touchdown passes with only eight interceptions through 12 games. In seven of his 12 appearances, Roethlisberger has thrown multiple touchdown passes.

In his last three games, Roethlisberger has averaged 281 yards passing and two touchdowns, something most fantasy owners would be pleased with in Week 17.

The Browns have the 27th-ranked passing offense, and over the last two weeks, Cleveland has given up 339 yards passing to Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and 329 yards to Washington Redskins backup Kirk Cousins.

Steelers tight end Heath Miller, who has been tremendous for fantasy owners in the second half of the season, unfortunately will not be available for the finale due to a torn ACL, but wide receiver Mike Wallace will likely have plenty of opportunities in the passing game because the Browns have a weak secondary that doesn't defend the big play well.

The only concern for fantasy owners is that the Steelers offensive line might have a poor game and won't give Roethlisberger the time he needs to find the open receiver.

However, it's not a huge concern since the Browns have sacked opposing quarterbacks just twice over the last two weeks and don't have an elite pass-rusher for the Steelers to worry about.

Fantasy owners should be confident that Roethlisberger will have another strong performance in their league's championship week.

He will likely be motivated to finish the season strongly, and he should be able to accomplish this goal against one of the NFL's worst pass defenses.