2010 NFL Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers
Thanks to bad behavior leading Big Ben to be suspended and Santonio Holmes shipped out of town, the Steelers have all sorts of questions this year. Assuming Troy Polamalu can stay healthy, the defense should be formidable once again.
Fantasy Playoffs Schedule: Moderate
The Steelers take on the Bengals and Jets at home in Week 14 & 15. Going by last year, they were two of the top defenses. I’m skeptical that the Bengals can play on as high a level this year. Still, neither game is a walk in the park. They then face Carolina on the road in the fantasy championship. It remains to be seen how the departure of Julius Peppers will affect the team, but John Fox usually puts out a strong defensive team.
Five Star Fantasy Options
Four Star Fantasy Options
Rashard Mendenhall – Mendenhall had 1369 total yards (1108 rushing) and 8 TDs (1 rushing) last year. He’ll likely be leaned on more in Big Ben’s abscence.
Steelers Defense/Special Teams – If Polamalu can’t stay healthy, knock them down a peg. If he can, they have some nice match-ups like Tampa Bay (Week 3), Cleveland (6), Oakland (11),a nd Buffalo in Week 12. They usually are among the league leaders in sacks and takeaways.
Three Star Fantasy Options
Ben Roethlisberger – Big Ben’s misdeeds got him what will likely be a four-game suspension. He’ll have to shake the rust off a little, but he should finish strong.
Hines Ward – So he’s 34. He’s in great shape and is clearly the #1 option in Pittsburgh. He should be a force in PPR leagues and a solid WR2 in standard leagues.
Mike Wallace – Wallace has exceptional speed, but is a definite step back from Santonio Holmes. He’s only entering his second year so there is still plenty to learn. He is a good option for WR depth, but I’m not sure I’d want to count on him from week to week.
Heath Miller – Miller consistently turns in good fantasy seasons. He is a better actual TE because of his great blocking ability, but he is anything but an extra lineman out there. He could be a nice safety blanket early on and continue to shine when Big Ben returns.
Two Star Fantasy Options
One Star Fantasy Options
Byron Leftwich – Leftwich should get the four early starts. I don’t expect the Steelers to rely too much on the pass with him under center.
Mewelde Moore & Jonathan Dwyer – Moore is an elusive back that can do some exciting things on the field, but he’s a far cry from being a reliable fantasy option. Dwyer has good size, but he’ll have to stay healthy and learn how to play at this level.
Antwaan Randle El, Arnez Battle & Emmanuel Sanders - Randle El is the guy to own initially out of this group. Emmanuel Sanders is a guy to keep an eye on because he has much more upside.
The Steelers lost RT Willie Colon to the year due to an Achilles injury. Rashard Mendenhall, Heath Miller, and Byron Leftwich should see a dip in their values. Big Ben, Hines Ward, and Mike Wallace should only see marginal decreases in their values.