Steelers 2012 Fantasy Football Preview

 

Sometimes I wish this is what is meant by fantasy football. Sometimes.

It’s only July, but if your inbox is like mine it’s filled with reminders of renewing your fantasy football leagues before it’s too late.  So while you are digging through your couch finding every nickel and penny you can to pay for your leagues, check out a quick run down of who of the Steelers to consider for this season’s fantasy football team.

Let’s just point out the obvious in that the Steelers offense if a bit of a gamble when dealing with fantasy football.  That was certainly the case when Bruce Arians ran the offense.  Now that Todd Haley is running things, there’s a buzz in Pittsburgh that this year could be a turning point for an offense that continually stalled when it hit the Red Zone.

Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

Ben Roethlisberger:

Before looking at Ben as the QB, you need to consider the upgrade in offensive line.  There’s no doubt that Ben should have more protection this season with the additions of David DeCastro and Mike Adams.  With that in mind, he should have more time to throw the ball a little deeper down the field for big gains and big TD’s.  Even with Mike Wallace’s contract status up in the air, Ben is sure to connect with numerous weapons in Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery, Heath Miller, Leonard Pope, and a sundry of running backs.  Should Wallace sign quickly during camp, Ben will be fully locked and loaded making his value even higher

Even suffering 40 sacks last season, Roethlisberger  connected on 63% of his passes, threw for over 4,000 yards, and connected for 21 TD’s.  Big Ben can always scramble to extend a play, which always makes him dangerous to make a loss into a big gain.  Look for those kinds of numbers to continue this season and a solid chance of being even better…. perhaps his best season of his career.  Big Ben is a solid #2 pick for your league.  Go for a bigger stat getter if you can, then hit of #7 as your QB.

Mike Wallace:

Well if the speedster ever signs a contract, Wallace will be a good pick for your receiving core.  He had his second consecutive 1,000 yard receiving season, but he had 2 fewer touchdowns.  He had the longest touchdown of his career with a 95 yard romp against Arizona.  Be sure you have other receivers, however, to get you through the end of the season.  Wallace had a major drop off in overall production, and the turbo in the wheels virtually disappeared.  Wallace did not have a 100 yard game after Week 8 and only three more touchdowns after starting the first seven weeks with five.  That’s a big problem if that continues into this season.  If the Steelers don’t sign Wallace to a long term deal, then this season could be another ‘contract’ season for the speedster.  And we all know what a contract year means.

Credit: Jason Bridge-US PRESSWIRE

Antonio Brown:

Brown is a guy that I think will be a bit of a sleeper when it comes to drafting WR’s in your league.  Depending on how deep your league goes, Brown could go as a very solid #3 or #4 pick.  AB set an NFL record last season with 1,000 yards and 1,000 return yards.  Even though he only scored two touchdowns last season, he is primed to take that #1 spot should Wallace hold out.  That could mean more touches and more scores.  If your league counts special teams stats for an individual, then Brown is a must for your team.  The talk in the town is that Chris Rainey will probably take over as the return guy.  Rainey needs to prove he can be the return guy and what’s even more, Brown could very easily share that time with the rookie.  At the very worst case scenario, take Brown and trade him off in your deeper leagues if he isn’t getting the stats you need to pull out wins.

 Leonard Pope/Heath Miller:

In your leagues that require a TE filler or ones that are deep enough to gain you that third WR/TE spot either one of these two beasts are good selections.  I wouldn’t imagine that either one of these guys would go early in your leagues, but they could be incredibly valuable – especially when you need to start playing bye week roulette.  Pope is coming from KC (and Todd Haley’s former player) and Miller will be playing in his 8th season with the Steelers.  Haley loves his TE’s, and look for both of these guys to get a bunch of plays called their way when the Black & Gold hit the Red Zone.  Miller only had two touchdowns last season, but was barely a part of the offense when the Steelers were inside the 20 yard line.  Pope only had one, but now has the talent within the offense, especially at QB that will get him the ball across the goal line.  These two certainly aren’t early picks, but keep your eyes open if you are still looking to fill that last WR/TE slot.

Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

Isaac Redman:

I’m a huge fan of Redman, but even I’m a little iffy about selecting him as one of my running backs for a fantasy team.  Will he be the work horse for the offense? Yes.  Will he grind out 20+ carries game in and game out? Yes.  Will he be the ‘finisher’ inside the Red Zone? Tough to say.  And with that, I need to pause on choosing this guy for my team.  Redman isn’t the electric runner like Adrian ‘Don’t Push A Cop’ Peterson, and so his scores would need to come from the Red Zone.  Even though his nickname is Red Zone, look for the Steelers to utilize a multitude of running backs to try and punch it through the goal line – Batch, Clay, and Dwyer all have roster spots right now and one of them could find themselves as the goal line specialists.  So, Redman will get good chunks of yardage and probably end with 80-100 yards per game.  But, the jury is still out on how Redman will do in the scoring department.  Look to take Redman as a backup only for now.  Maybe if he looks great early on, you could look for a trade.

D/ST:

The Steelers ranked #1 in defending the pass for the first time in a long time last season.  However, they ranked rather low in the takeaway department.  And, well, that’s where your defensive fantasy points come from.  Unless you are in a league where you are given points to start and lose them as the defense gives up yards, the Steelers are a bit of a tough choice for fantasy defense these days.  Far from rebuilding, the defense will be making some adjustments this season – due in large part to injuries, retirements and releasing your defensive captain.  How good will the defense be?  Will Dick LeBeau find his grove once again and have this defense be the most feared in the league?  The special teams is where this selection will earn its keep on your team.  Antonio Brown and Chris Rainey will look to smoke the opposing special teams with their speed and ability to cut.  The Steelers may not be the best D/ST combo out there for fantasy this season – but I know I’ll be taking them because anything can happen with both.  Depending on the trends of your league, take the Steelers D/ST any time after round 6.

So there you have some early thoughts and suggestions on some fantasy options regarding the Steelers.  Keep an eye out for future posts once camp starts, as NPC dives deeper into the fantasy football leagues.

Follow me on Twitter @NicePickCowherC

Topics: Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger, Defense, Dick Lebeau, Fantasy Football, Heath Miller, Isaac Redman, Leonard Pope, Mike Wallace, Steelers, Todd Haley

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