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Ravens-Steelers Week 4 fantasy football preview

As we strap in for Week 4, there are a lot of question marks facing both of the teams who match up in the Thursday Night Football Game. The Ravens, who have an 0-3 record, are hungry for their first win of the season while the Steelers offense will be without its leader in Ben Roethlisberger as he deals with a knee injury and will have Mike Vick under center. While Ravens versus Steelers matchups are historically low-scoring affairs (BAL averages 19.0 PPG and PIT averages 19.7 PPG when facing each other) there are still fantasy implications here, so let's break it down player-by-player, shall we?

Before setting your Week 4 fantasy lineup, be sure to take a look at our rankings And as always, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @MattFranchise and I'll try to answer your last-minute lineup questions.

Baltimore Ravens:

**Joe Flacco, QB** 

Flacco got off to a rough start in Week 1 but has since posted two solid weeks in a row from a fantasy perspective with greater than 20 fantasy points in Weeks 2 and 3. The main reason Flacco has excelled lately is the presence of Steve Smith Sr. who has been on an absolute tear with a combined 336 yards and two touchdowns in the last two games. The Steelers Swiss cheese secondary has allowed 20.33 FPPG to opposing signal callers thus far, (six pass TDs, 373.0 pass YPG) and two of their last three opponents include the underwhelming duo of Colin Kaepernick and Nick Foles. But with a lack of other options besides Smith in the passing game (tight end Crockett Gillmore has been ruled out with a calf injury) Flacco is tough to endorse as a starting caliber fantasy quarterback on TNF.

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**Justin Forsett, RB** 

Forsett is off to a slow start for his fantasy owners this year as he has totaled just 16.5 points through three games. Believe it or not, but the Steelers run defense is actually the second best in the NFL in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing runners, second only to Seattle. Pittsburgh has yet to allow a running back into the end zone and when you couple that with the fact that the Ravens are averaging just 72.7 rushing yards per game this year, Forsett looks like a quality bench RB for Week 4.

**Steve Smith, WR** 

To be honest, Steve Smith Sr. is probably the only Ravens player worth firing up in fantasy on Thursday Night Football. The dude is averaging 116.3 receiving yards per game -- third-most in the entire NFL -- and has the second most fantasy points among wide receivers over the last two weeks (45.60). As Joe Flacco's go-to guy (double-digit receptions in each of his last two games), Smith is simply on fire to start the year. Against the Steelers underwhelming secondary he should be able to thrive for fantasy owners for the third straight week.

Pittsburgh Steelers:

**Mike Vick, QB** 

Vick is not a viable option in fantasy at quarterback this week. But we'll be watching closely to see how the Steelers offense operates under his direction. He knows that he needs to get the ball into the hands of the talent surrounding him -- Bell and Brown -- and if he can do that successfully, fantasy owners shouldn't stress about the production that their top draft picks will contribute.

**Antonio Brown, WR** 

Arguably the most consistent fantasy wideout in all of fantasy football, Brown has lived up to his reputation with at least 100 receiving yards in each of his first three games. That means even without a touchdown, he's getting you at least double-digit fantasy points each week. With Vick at the helm, Brown's fantasy production could see a slight decline, but it shouldn't be significant enough to bench him; he's still one of the best in the entire league. It's worth noting that Brown only has one touchdown reception in his career against Baltimore, so expectations should be tempered some this week.

**Le'Veon Bell, RB** 

In his return to the field against the Rams last week, Bell saw 26 touches and collected over 130 total yards and a touchdown. It makes sense if the Steelers strategy on Thursday night is to get the ball in the hands of their most talented player, and let him do the heavy lifting. So, there's a good chance that Vick leans on Bell as a short-yardage pass-catcher. Remember that Pittsburgh lost their starting center in the preseason, too but that hasn't seemed to have much of an effect on the ground game (DeAngelo Williams was the top fantasy RB through the first two weeks of the season). The Ravens have been tough against opposing running backs this season but, as is the case with Brown, you're starting Bell no matter what.

**Heath Miller, TE** 

Welp, the Ravens have allowed the least FPPG to opposing tight ends so far this season … that number is 1.00. That's right, Baltimore has allowed an average of one single point per game to tight ends -- a combined total of just 30 receiving yards through three games. Granted, Tyler Eifert got what looked to be a touchdown over turned by the officials last week. Still, Miller is too inconsistent to trust on TNF with Vick slinging the rock, so leave him on the pine.

In the latest episode of the NFL Fantasy LIVE podcast the gang recaps the high-scoring Week 3 fantasy slate, discusses whether or not to panic with struggling RBs, and highlights the top Week 4 waiver targets. Don't forget to subscribe and listen in HERE!

Matt Franciscovich is an associate fantasy editor at He checked out a Glass Animals show at The Wiltern last weekend and suggests you see this band live if you get the chance. Hit him up on Twitter **@MattFranchise** for music recommendations and fantasy advice.

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