Since becoming the full-time starter in Pittsburgh, Rashard Mendenhall has finished no worse than 19th as a fantasy running back. In a 10-team league, that’s nothing worse than an RB2.
But now, after suffering a Week 17 torn ACL, fantasy owners are hoping that the once undrafted Isaac Redman can fill Shard’s role. Mendenhall is expected to miss a chunk of the 2012 season, and the next guy on the depth chart is Redman.
Mendenhall’s injury isn’t the only question mark on this Steelers’ team, either. Mike Wallace is in a contract dispute, holding out of training camp. Steelers fans and fantasy players remain optimistic that a deal will get done, but currently, talks are at a halt.
So given the Wallace holdout and the unknown at running back, are there any Steelers worthy of drafting in 2012?
The one Steeler I’d own is…
Antonio Brown. I was high on Brown even before Wallace decided not to show up for camp. And instead of reiterating information I’ve already written, here are my thoughts on Brown: Click here.
Stay away from…
Ben Roethlisberger. He’s never really been fantasy worthy. In fact, since becoming the starter in Pittsburgh as a rookie, Ben has finished as the 20th, 19th, 12th, 5th, 15th, 8th, 12th and 13th ranked quarterback. You’re not getting top-10 talent, especially when you factor in his injury woes.
Roethlisberger should not be a starter on a fantasy team this year, especially when you factor in the depth at the quarterback position. And not only that, what happens if Mike Wallace does holdout into the season? Get someone with more upside late in your draft.
One potential sleeper on the Steelers is…
Jonathan Dwyer. With a sleeper, you want a lot of upside without factoring risk. That’s what Dwyer gives you.
Isaac Redman isn’t the most impressive back in the world. He averaged 4.4 yards per carry, but much of that came in the second half of games when defenses were beat up. He can catch the ball out of the backfield, but is a pretty mediocre runner.
We don’t have a very large sample of Dwyer, but that’s part of his intrigue. His knock has been that he’s a little out of shape, but after breaking his foot last year, he lost 20 pounds and is now in the “best shape of his life”. I think there’s going to be more of a time share in Pittsburgh than many realize, with Dwyer potentially getting some carries with Mendenhall out. He’s worth a shot at the end of your draft.
The one word to describe the 2012 Steelers is…
Iffy. Between the Wallace holdout and the injury to Rashard Mendenhall, the only true player I’d own on this Steelers’ team is Antonio Brown.
What’s unfortunate is that I liked Brown before Wallace decided not to show up for camp. With Wallace out, there’s more attention on Brown, and his average draft position will rise.
Keep an eye out on the running back competition in the pre-season. New offensive coordinator Todd Haley will have no problem crowning a non-Isaac Redman running back as starter, and if there’s one guy that can take over, I like Dwyer.