xml:space="preserve">

Ravens vs. Steelers

Sunday, 1 p.m.

Advertisement

Here's how the Ravens players stack up on a fantasy scale from 0-5 against Pittsburgh, with 0 being the low mark and 5 being the high:

Steve McNair, QB: You have to believe he'll play, considering he practiced Wednesday. Toughness and playing through pain have been qualities that have defined McNair throughout his career. Pittsburgh's pass defense ranks 15th in the league, allowing more than 206 yards per game. Since losing to the Ravens, the Steelers haven't exactly faced prolific passing attacks against Tampa Bay, Carolina and Cleveland. However, Pittsburgh has allowed just one passing TD and 13 points in its last three games.The Ravens' offensive line has been a pleasant surprise this season, but it will be tested in the final two weeks. The Steelers and Bills are tied for fifth in the NFL with 39 sacks each this season. McNair has been good when healthy over the last month and a half, but he's a risky play here. Rating - 2 out of 5

Jamal Lewis, RB: He had his second-best fantasy game of the season last week vs. Cleveland, rushing for 109 yards and a touchdown. Lewis has been pretty consistent over the second half of the season, having scored seven touchdowns in his last seven games. On the season, he has eight TDs, which is the second-most of his career (Lewis had 14 TDs in 2003). The Steelers rush defense ranks fifth in the league, allowing less than 91 yards per game. Pittsburgh has allowed eight rushing TDs this season. Rating - 3 out of 5

Mark Clayton, WR: You didn't hear his name last week until he caught a 42-yard pass from Kyle Boller, which was Clayton's only reception of the game. Combine McNair's injury with Pittsburgh's solid pass defense and the Ravens' philosophy of spreading the ball around, and Clayton is not a very good start this week. Rating - 2 out of 5

Todd Heap, TE: The Ravens tight end is listed as questionable with a thigh injury. He was absent during the portion of practice that was open to the media Wednesday. Heap has gone three games without a touchdown, which matches his longest scoring draught this season. Keep an eye on his injury status leading up to the game. He probably won't be 100 percent if he plays so if you have a solid backup, this might be the week to get him in the lineup. If not, you'll have to roll the dice. Rating - 3 out of 5

Matt Stover, K: He hit a pair of field goals last week vs. the Browns and has now hit 23 of 25 attempts on the year. Stover is 7-for-8 on tries of more than 40 yards. Rating - 4 out of 5

Ravens' defense: Baltimore had six sacks and a pair of turnovers against Cleveland. The Ravens have taken over the top spot for fantasy defenses. Ben Roethlisberger has tossed 20 interceptions this season, which is second-worst to Detroit's Jon Kitna. Meanwhile, the Ravens lead the NFL with 24 picks. Obviously Baltimore is a must-start every week and a good play here. Rating - 5 out of 5

Thursday night pick: PACKERS (-3.5) over Vikings

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement