Week 9 Fantasy Football Matchups

/ Senior Fantasy Writer

There's always cause for concern when a running back is set to take on the Ravens. Two weeks ago when Maurice Jones-Drew was going to play them we cautioned to lower expectations. Last week it was Beanie Wells we were shaky on, especially considering his sprained knee. He dissected them. Yet we're still nervous about Rashard Mendenhall this week.

Mendenhall shook off a horrible Week 7 outing against the Cardinals with a pretty good performance at home against the Patriots (over 90 total yards). He's on a two-week scoreless skid and has topped 70 rush yards in a game once this year, at home against the Jaguars.

But Mendenhall has two things going for him: Including the playoffs he's scored in seven of his last eight games overall at home (the streak came to an end last week against the Pats), and he's scored in three straight at home against the Ravens (five touchdowns total). Uncanny stuff. In fact, the only game in Mendenhall's career when he didn't score on the Ravens at Heinz Field was his first-ever start as a rookie, the game where he fractured his shoulder on his ninth carry.

Does this mean Mendenhall is guaranteed to score on Sunday? Of course not, but it's obvious the Steelers aren't about to totally abandon the run given his results. With the Ravens suddenly susceptible to opposing running backs in their last three games -- Arian Foster and MJD totaled more than 100 yards and Wells had the touchdown with 83 yards last week -- there's some optimism here that Mendenhall can do more than just create a cloud of dust against his arch nemeses on Sunday. He won't be the reason why the Steelers win, but he'll contribute.

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