Fantasy Football Projections: Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers Helmet

Few NFL quarterbacks have been as prolific at piling up passing yards and TD’s the way that Ben Roethlisberger has been over the past four seasons. During that span, Big Ben has averaged 297 yards and 2 TD per game with a 66% completion percentage. Despite the annual rumors that Roethlisberger is mulling a retirement he remains poised to continue his torrid pace with the arsenal at his disposal. Big Ben is a Top 10 QB with Top 5 upside, but he’s also an injury risk so be sure you pick a competent backup if you take him.

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LeVeon Bell, oh how you vex us. Playing the contract game as best they could, Bell’s camp leaked to any who would listen that he might sit out the start of the season if he didn’t get a new contract. This of course took no effort to circulate the airwaves as the fantasy world imploded with concern. Here is reality: Bell is making $14.5m in 2018, is likely to be a free agent in 2019 and is not pleased with Pittsburgh over how they’ve handled his contract. There is little motivation for Bell to go above and beyond in 2018 and the Steelers may find ways of engaging second-year back James Connor in an effort to prep him as the heir apparent. Connor has all the skills to be a feature back and is definitely a name to keep tabs on in dynasty leagues. Despite the contract issues and the presence of Conner, Bell is still one of (if not THE) best all-purpose backs in the game. He’s a Top 5 caliber back and has to be drafted as such, but his situation is not ideal.

The receiving game begins with Antonio Brown in Pittsburgh and there isn’t a whole lot to say here on that front. Brown has had over 100 catches, 1250 yards, and 9 TD in each of his last four seasons and is squarely at the top of the WR food chain. He is joined by second-year wonder JuJu Smith-Schuster who hauled in 73% of his targets for 917 yards and 7 TD as a 21-year-old rookie. This is a hot name who is going to fly off draft boards in leagues everywhere and it’s hard not to get excited about the youngster’s upside. There is an opening for a versatile third receiver for the Steelers and incoming rookie James Washington may be in prime position to run away with that role. Washington has the ability to play in the slot and split out wide and the talent to fill any role the Steelers need. Draft Brown as the top WR off the board, Smith-Schuster as a WR2 with WR1 upside and track Washington as a late-round sleeper.

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Jesse James did his best Heath Miller impersonation in 2017 acting as a chain mover for the passing game when they needed it. The young tight end was given the opportunity to step forward and he took advantage and could be in a position to take off as Big Ben’s new safety blanket. Veteran grinder Vance McDonald remains in the mix but James has good hands and is a quality blocker as well. James checks in as one of my fantasy sleepers at tight end, particularly in PPR format.

2018 Projections:

NAME POSITION CMP ATT PASS YD PASS TD INT RU YD RU TD
Ben Roethlisberger QB 400 605 4550 30 15 45

 

NAME POSITION CARRIES RU YD RU TD REC  REC YD REC TD FUM
LeVeon Bell RB 315 1280 10 70 630 5 2
James Connor RB 35 165 1

 

NAME POSITION CARRIES RU YD RU TD REC  REC YD REC TD FUM
Antonio Brown WR 110 1350 10
JuJu Smith-Schuster WR 75 1150 6
James Washington WR 60 775 4
Justin Hunter WR 25 320 1
Jesse James TE 55 460 5

 

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Ben Stecker

Ben Stecker

Author SportsTalkLine.com at SportsTalkLine
Writer, sports connoisseur, Pacific Northwesterner. Rarely met a sport I couldn't be great friends with. Follow me on twitter @Softball_Guy
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