Tuesday, June 12, 2012

32 in 32: Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steeler Nation was blown away last year when they lost to the 8-8 Broncos in the playoffs. The Steelers defense had a bad game against the woeful Tebow passing attack, in a game that can only be described as a statistical anomaly. Mike Tomlin is not about to let this unit forget that devastating and embarrassing loss, and they should come out with a new fire next season. None of this will matter if they can't force any tunrovers, but really, who cares about how what their record is, all we care about here is the stats they put up.


After taking a good look at Ben Roethlisberger's stats, I am putting him on my do-not-draft list. Did you know, Big Ben has only started all 16 games on time in his 8 years as a starting quarterback? Last season was injury plagued, but so were all of his other seasons. Roethlisberger is always hurt, and while he could put up great numbers, he is just as likely to get hurt in the first few weeks of the season and play like crap for the rest of the year. Sure, he will be playing, but you don't want a hurt player anchoring your fantasy team. Let's put this issue aside, though. Imagine he plays all 16 games; what can we expect in terms of production? In those 8 seasons, he only broke the 4,000 yard mark twice. Neither of those were during his one 16-game campaign. He threw more than 30 touchdown passes once in his career (neither during his 16 game campaign nor during either of the 4,000 yard performances). His second highest touchdown total was 26, when he also threw for 4,300 yards. I am absolutely not drafting a quarterback to start for my fantasy team if his BEST season was 4,300 yards and 26 touchdown passes. If you are finding all of this hard to believe, take a look for yourself. This guy is not worth drafting. Philip Rivers and Matt Ryan will be drafted around the same time as Ben Roethlisberger and will have more yards and touchdowns than him this season.


The receivers on the Steelers are much more valuable than the quarterback. Mike Wallace, even though he is entrenched in a serious contract dispute, is a valuable player. If he can have another 1,200 yard season with 8-10 touchdowns (his average over the last two seasons) then he will be a good fantasy contributor. I'd rather have him as a really strong WR2 rather than a primary receiver, but we get what we can in fantasy drafts. Other fantasy owners are going to reach for Wallace because they love his big play ability, but did you know that there was another Steelers wide receiver who had more than 1,000 yards last season? That's right, Antonio Brown racked up 1,108 yards but only scored two touchdowns. This means that Brown has the potential to have a huge season, and he will have an advantage over Mike Wallace with the new offense of Todd Haley. Haley proved that he was extremely strong-willed in Kansas City, and if Wallace doesn't live up to his expectations upon returning to the team, Haley won't play him. This makes Antonio Brown, the 6th-10th round fantasy pick, a far better option than the 3rd round Mike Wallace. Remember this come draft day (don't worry, I won't let you forget). Emmanuel Sanders and Heath Miller should each be looking at 500-700 yards and a few scores, but I wouldn't draft either one.

Apparently Isaac Redman is the new starting running back for the Steelers, with Rashard Mendenhall coming off a bad injury and a bad season. I would think of Redman as a low-end RB2 or a flex player, but that still gives him some value. I like Donald Brown better than either of these guys. Redman should get touches, and he has heart, but I just don't know if he can be a full-time back. I really doubt he will be a top-10 RB in fantasy. I would see him as 17th-20th at the end of the season. Mendenhall has zero value until we see him play some real, contact football. He was bad without a major injury.

The Steelers defense is always a valuable commodity in fantasy football. They will probably rank in the top-5 of DST this season, but they really could not force any turnovers last season. The Steelers had a -13 turnover ratio. That scares me from a fantasy prospective. Heinz field is too windy for any kicker to be valuable in fantasy. Also, the Steelers don't score enough.

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