Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 Fantasy Preview
The Pittsburgh Steelers got ousted from the playoffs by the Tim Tebow-led Denver Broncos last year. In the real world, that’s a pretty weak way to go out. But in the fantasy realm, they delivered some quality fantasy performers in 2011.
They lost Rashard Mendenhall to an acl tear and might not even get him back for 2012, but they’re otherwise regrouped and ready to make that loss to the Broncos a thing of the past. Adding offensive coordinator Todd Haley to the offense should only help them in their efforts, as well as make their top options a little more potent for fantasy purposes.
Here’s a breakdown of their roster and who should make a big splash in 2012:
QB Ben Roethlisberger
If you go back and look at Big Ben’s career, it’s solid, but it’s not elite. He really has just one year that screams elite, and is otherwise a borderline QB1 most seasons. That’s the way I see him again this year. Of course he has potential to blow up, but he’s too inconsistent from week to week for me to tie my entire season to.
RB Isaac Redman
Rashard Mendenhall will almost surely start the year on the PUP list, which means Redman could be the Steelers’ feature back for the first six weeks of the year, at a minimum. He showed he can get the job done last year, so he should possess solid RB2 value to start the season.
RB Rashard Mendenhall
Mendy may be out of action to start the year, but he could always come back and kill Redman’s value. There’s also a chance he sits the entire year out or gets hurt again right away. He’s a risky pick, so I’ll only touch him late in drafts as a flier pick.
RB Jonathan Dwyer
Dwyer isn’t all that explosive, but he’s fairly talented and could vie for some carries with Mendy out. He won’t have much value unless Redman gets hurt, however.
RB John Clay
Clay could steal some goal-line work and spell Redman in spots, but he has no long-term value unless someone goes down.
WR Mike Wallace
Wallace is one of the premiere big-play receivers in the game and 2012 will be no different if he gets under contract. As it stands, however, he’s a holdout threat and a risk to draft. With that said, he’s a WR1 waiting to happen if he can get a deal done.
WR Antonio Brown
Browns proved last season that he’s a special talent, and a Mike Wallace holdout could make his value sky-rocket. In that same breath, he’d also be facing double coverages, which could potentially hinders his value. Either way, I think you’re looking at a solid WR2 here, and if Wallace sits, he has the potential to be a WR1.
WR Emmanuel Sanders
Sanders isn’t as naturally gifted as Brown or Wallace, but he’s still plenty athletic. He’s the number three receiver at the moment, but a Wallace holdout would put him in the number two spot. He has WR4 value for now, but that could change quickly.
WR Jerricho Cotchery
Cotchery is a savvy veteran, but he’s buried on the depth chart and has a pretty low ceiling. He can’t be drafted in fantasy leagues.
WR Chris Rainey
Rainey is listed as a receiver, but he can play running back, too. He’s a pretty versatile and explosive option, so it’ll be interesting if the Steelers work hard to get him involved in the offense. Until we know of his role, though, he’s barely worth a late-round flier.
TE Heath Miller
Miller has one borderline elite season to his name, but has otherwise been a pretty average option. There’s a chance he could return to his 2009 form this year (76 receptions), but it’s nothing more than a guess. Miller hasn’t caught more than 51 balls in any other season in his career. He’s a low-end TE1 at the very best entering 2012.
K Shaun Suisham
Suisham plays for a solid offense, but he only converted 74.2% of his field goal tries in 2011, a year after knocking in 93.3%. He’ll stick as the starter, and can be used, but you can find a more explosive option this year.
Pittsburgh showed their age toward the end of 2011, but they still finished as a top-five fantasy defense. I expect no different heading into 2012, as they still have their key play-makers and they’ve added some talented youth via the draft to shore up their depth.