2015 Fantasy Recap
Do you think Antonio Brown’s teammates ever get back to the huddle after a play and tell Ben Roethlisberger you know I was open right? 35% of Big Ben’s pass attempts went to Brown last year, I know if felt like more, especially if you owned a receiver not named Brown. That is an incredible number. Knowing that you think teams would, you know cover him. Despite that much attention for one guy, the Steelers still managed to have a strong running game as well. No matter who was starting at RB they usually had a good game. Pretty much if one of your players was starting for the Steelers last season you put them in because you knew you were getting some good production from them. Spoiler alert! Nothing has changed for 2016.
Key Additions and Losses
QuarterBack Fantasy Outlook
The only thing that can slow down Ben Roethlisberger is injuries. Despite losing his number 2 receiver for the year Big Ben still has arguably the best receiver and running back in the NFL at his disposal. Throw in a tight end with tremendous possibility and you have all the ingredients one needs to make a career year. With so many talented QB’s in the league, predicting the top 10 is no easy task, but I will say if Big Ben stays healthy he is a lock for the top ten. One area he did struggle in last season was interceptions and if he can bring those back down he could make a run for the top 5. Either way, I would be comfortable rolling with Big Ben as my number 1 QB and would be targeting him around the 5th round.
Running Back Fantasy Outlook
In order for me to stay focus, focus, focus, focused for this piece I listened to Focus by Juice_, also known as Le’Veon Bell. I completely understand why he wants to get paid to play football because he is a much better football player than a rapper. Bell claims he will be 100 percent healthy for training camp, but some people will still be scared off and pass on him early. Whether you are in a standard or PPR league, Bell should not drop past the 5th pick. If you get Bell after the 5th pick begin celebrating, you got a steal. My only recommendation is if you take Bell, you should work hard to get DeAngelo Williams as well. The Steelers are a 1 back team so if Bell is out Williams instantly becomes a top starter in all formats. All other backs only accounted for 26 carries, so after Bell and Williams, there is no need to carry any other RB on your roster.
Wide Receiver Fantasy Outlook
There is a reasonable chance that in most fantasy football drafts two Steelers could go 1 and 2. We have already discussed Le’Veon Bell and the other guy that is a sure fire top 2 pick is Antonio Brown. With Big Ben under center for 12 games, Brown had 119 receptions. Had Ben played all 16 games, Brown most likely would not have only passed the single season record of 143, but rather he would have destroyed it with almost 160 receptions. I am not going to sit here and predict that Brown will beat the record this year, but in the last 2 years Brown has 129 and 136 receptions respectively, so I see no reason not to assume he tops 120 receptions 1700+ yards and 10+ touchdowns. Here is where we would talk about Martavis Bryant, but we won’t, because he did something stupid and I will leave it at that. So that opens the door for Markus Wheaton to supplant himself as the Steelers number 2. There are a good number of people that think Sammie Coates will take the number 2 from Wheaton, but I don’t see Coates as more than a sleeper or dynasty pick. Wheaton has never really shown he is something special, but he has shown he is very capable, and can be very productive opposite Brown. I would target Wheaton as a low WR3 or flex play in most leagues. He won’t be spectacular, but he could prove valuable in spot starts. I do not suspect any other receiver would be worth rostering without injuries.
Grade: A –
Tight End Fantasy Outlook
With the retirement of Heath Miller, Big Ben has lost one of his most trusted targets. To fill the void left by Miller, the Steelers went out and signed Ladarius Green. This makes the third straight year fantasy football fans will be predicting a break year for Green. The first two he did not deliver. In fairness to Green, he spent two those seasons behind perhaps one of the greatest tight ends of all time in Antonio Gates. I think it is a safe bet that getting out behind a future hall of famer would help any player’s stats, but I am not buying in that Green is the tight end everyone seems to think he is. Here is what bothers me, no team knows Green better than the Chargers and despite the fact that Gates is 36 years old, they seem to have had no problem letting Green walk. Green also has a history of injuries as well. In the last three years, he has averaged 12 games a season. I don’t think there is enough talent there that in 12 games he can be a solid TE1 option. If he plays 14 or more games I think he can crack the top ten. With the Steelers attempting almost double the two-point conversions over anyone else, if Green can become Big Ben’s goal line guy, he could be in line to steal some extra points with two point conversions. Either way, I think Green is a very low TE1 with potential, to be a mid-level TE1 if he stays healthy.
Defensive Fantasy Outlook
The Steelers defense has not stricken fear in their opponent for a few years now. This year will be no exception either. The Steelers give up a ton of yards on defense, especially through the air. Despite that, they still manage a good number of sacks and a fair amount of interceptions last season. The Steelers would not be my choice for my every week defense, but I would certainly look to use them as my bye week fill in if the matchup was in their favor.
Grade: C –
Article originally posted on Going For 2 on July 8th, 2016.