Engel's Mailbag: Lineup Advice

Tom (Fort Lauderdale, Fla): I'm in a tight race for the playoffs and have Carson Palmer as my quarterback. With the terrible weather and conditions in Pittsburgh, should I pick up one of these four: David Garrard, A.J. Feeley, Marc Bulger or Jay Cutler? Additionally, should I swap Rudi Johnson in for Edgerrin James in a point-per-reception league?

Engel: Steelers' chairman Dan Rooney told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Heinz Field is in "outstanding" condition for Sunday's game against the Bengals. The team will take extra precautions to prevent some of the problems that plagued the surface Monday against Miami. Still, the Weather Channel's official site is forecasting rain/freezing rain with an 80 percent chance of precipitation. I would consider benching Palmer if Bulger was not ruled out. Garrard and Cutler will both post decent numbers this week, but I'm not sold on the Bengals not being able to throw the ball, especially since Pittsburgh is so efficient at containing the running game. I have seen many quarterbacks play well in adverse conditions before, and it doesn't appear the conditions will be as bad in Pittsburgh as they were Week 12. Roethsliberger is one example, having thrown for five touchdown passes against Baltimore in a driving rain earlier this season. I would still use Palmer, and avoid using Johnson, especially when James is a more versatile player and faces the very vulnerable Cleveland defense. Pittsburgh will give Cincinnati no choice but to throw the ball, and Palmer won't have an outstanding day, but none of the available options on free agency will serve you any better.