2016 Fantasy Recap
2016 got off to a slow start for the Steelers. In the first half of the season they went four and four and then in the second half of the season they went seven and one. As far as fantasy output goes they were pretty lopsided. Outside of Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown no other Steeler made a fantasy impact. Not for a lack of trying either. They were desperate to find a wide receiver to play opposite Brown. First, it was Markus Wheaton, then it was Sammie Coates, followed by Eli Rogers. While Coates and Rogers played okay at times it was never enough to lock down that starting job opposite Brown. They even had a hard time replacing their former tight end Heath Miller. They brought in Ladarius Green who spent more time injured than playing and internally they had Jesse James, who ended up playing well enough, and Xavier Grimble who flashed some potential at times. Despite these gaping wholes in the offense they still managed a top quarterback, top running back and the top wide receiver fantasy wise.
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Key Additions and Losses
- Justin Hunter
- JuJu Smith-Schuster (Draft)
- James Connor (Draft)
- Markus Wheaton
- Lawrence Timmons
- Ladarius Green
Quarterback Fantasy Outlook
There were some grumblings this past off season the Big Ben might hang it up. If he had it might have completely ruined the Steelers this year. As it is though he came back and the fantasy values of his teammate remain in tact. In 14 games Big Ben managed over 3,800 yards and 29 touchdowns which is really good considering is limited options, which consists of Bell and Brown. This year the Steelers hope to have the services of Martavis Bryant to play opposite Brown. If they can get him back on the field Big Ben could be in line for a very nice year. Which could possibly be his last? Currently Big Ben is coming off as the 12th best quarterback. He could easily move up into the top 10 if he stays healthy all year and has all his weapons, or if Bryant is delayed in coming back and or he misses a couple of games which he has been doing the last couple of years he could fall to a mid QB2 status. Either way, he should be productive when he plays.
Running Back Fantasy Outlook
I will keep this simple. Le’Veon Bell is worth his draft ADP. He is one of the best runners in the NFL and he has better receiving skills than most wide receivers in the NFL. Injuries and suspension have been the only thing that slows him down in recent years. His numbers should be repeated so yes draft him early, really early. So the only thing left to talk about regarding Steelers running backs is who is the guy that will get a huge bump in value if Bell goes down or gets suspended. That guy this year is James Connor a third round pick in this year’s draft. The Steelers seem to be really high on this guy. Even though they seem to love him unless Bell is not in the lineup Connor should only be considered a handcuff or a dynasty stash.
Wide Receiver Fantasy Outlook
Just like the running back outlook, I will keep this simple, yes draft Antonio Brown at his current ADP he will be just as good this year as last year. So instead of wasting any more time on him, lets talk about your other options at wide receiver. The best option is Martavis Bryant, while a great talent he is still waiting to be reinstated fully by the NFL. If he manages to get fully reinstated he will be a great asset to the Steelers. If he stays out of trouble and healthy he could put up 80/1200/8 giving him the potential to a be a low WR1. Currently coming off the board in the fourth round as the 31st WR taken, that is a tremendous bargain. The problem is all those if’s make him high risk, but a very high reward that could pay off. Last year the Steelers gave everyone in Pittsburgh a shot at claiming the WR2 spot on the team. The end result was apparently no one wanted it. So to expect guys like Eli Rogers, Sammie Coates, or Darrius Heyward-Bey to all of the sudden be serviceable is a stretch. As of right now, I am not touching any of them and if Bryant comes back none will have any value at all. If Bryant does not come back and one shines in preseason maybe I consider one then, but not until then. The Steelers also drafted JuJu Smith-Schuster in the second round. This might be the only receiver not named Brown or Bryant I would consider drafting. Just like the others though his value will be hanging on Bryant’s status. I would consider a late round flyer on him in a redraft league and in dynasty I think he must be rostered.
Tight End Fantasy Outlook
The Ladarius Green experiment is over. He was deemed the replacement for Heath Miller, but he could never get healthy. As a result, Jesse James was used as the teams passing tight end. At this point, I think the Steelers are more interested in using the tight end as an extra blocker as opposed to a receiving weapon. Last year James caught 39 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns, which is probably about what you can expect from him his year as well. Even if it is a little better this year it won’t be enough to justify drafting him. The only games he will be worth anything will the be the games he finds the end zone, and your guess is as good as mine in trying to figure out which games those will be. So until further notice just avoid, especially if Bryant plays. Sensing a theme yet?
Defensive Fantasy Outlook
Last year the Steelers were a middle of the road defense and this year you can pretty much expect the same thing. I do not consider them an every week defense, but they should be a good option a number of weeks as a streaming defense. They have some good match ups in their own division and some nondivision games are pretty favorable as well.
Michael Kelley is a member of the Going For 2 team. You can check out his website Dynasty League Problems for more writings or find him on Twitter @mikekelleydlp spreading fantasy knowledge for the masses.