NFL fantasy football: Ben Roethlisberger expected back

Roethlisberger preparing to start: After missing the past three games with rib and shoulder injuries, Ben Roethlisberger is expected to return to action this week against the San Diego Chargers. Big Ben’s return is primarily a boost to Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes, but it’s a reason for fantasy owners to buck up as well. Despite Charlie Batch’s impressive rally to beat the Ravens in Week 13, the Steelers’ offense is much more efficient with Roethlisberger under center. The Chargers are squarely in the middle of the pack against fantasy quarterbacks and receivers, but if you are counting on Mike WallaceAntonio Brown or any of the other Steelers’ skill players, you have to like your chances more with Big Ben chiming in.

McCoy still sidelined: Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy is still a little ways away from returning to the field. The team’s training staff says the back is still undergoing testing as he continues his recovery from concussions symptoms. If McCoy isn’t able to return this week, it means another start for Bryce Brown, who has had fumble issues, but has still looked very good in his first two career starts. Even is Shady comes back this week, it seems likely that Brown will continue to be a big part of the offense going forward. It’s hard to sit Brown after two big weeks, but he will face his biggest challenge so far — a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that is allowing just 14.88 fantasy points to running backs at home.

Broyles done for the season: Detroit Lions wide receiver Ryan Broyles is out for the remainder of the season after tearing the ACL in his right knee, the same injury he suffered to his left knee in his final season at Oklahoma. It’s particularly disappointing because the rookie had been given a bigger role in the offense recently due to Titus Young’s behavior issues. The Lions seem highly unlikely to go back to Young (he’s listed third on the depth chart), which means Mike Thomas gets to take his turn as the man across the way from Calvin Johnson. As long as Detroit remains a pass-happy offense, Thomas has some value. Keep in mind, however, that the Lions’ Week 14 opponent — the Green Bay Packers — have clamped down on opposing receivers at home. They allowed just 59 yards to receivers not named Johnson when the teams met in Week 11.

— Marcas Grant
Follow Marcas on Twitter @MarcasG

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