Top 5 2013 Fantasy Football Players: Pittsburgh Steelers

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Top 5 2013 Fantasy Football Players: Pittsburgh Steelers

steelers
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the most difficult teams to figure out in fantasy this season. They have a lot of question marks surrounding most of their key players, and owners are going to find it difficult to decipher who has the most value.

Wide receiver seems to be the most stable position, where Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders look to be solid fantasy options following the departure of Mike Wallace. Each will be in for a bigger role than they’ve had in the past, but both players should be able to handle the increased workload.

One of the best fantasy options on the Steelers would have been tight end Heath Miller, but he tore his ACL, MCL and PCL in Week 16 last season and is very questionable for the start of the season. If Miller is healthy, then he will probably be a top-10 tight end. However, there is a very good chance that he will begin the season on the PUP list, and owners will want to keep him in mind as a midseason waiver claim rather than a draft pick.

The real challenge in Pittsburgh is figuring out who will get the bulk of the carries at running back. The Steelers love to run the ball, especially down around the goal line, and whoever is the starter will have a ton of value in fantasy. Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer and rookie Le’Veon Bell are the contenders, and it may take all of preseason to sort it out.

Be sure to be aware of your league’s depth and scoring format when reading this list and others like it, as fantasy value can change dramatically based on those factors. These are five players that should have solid value in most leagues, but be careful with some of the question marks at running back and tight end.

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5. Isaac Redman

redman
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s be very clear: if Miller doesn’t start the season on the PUP list then he makes this list and Redman doesn’t. Redman is on this list almost exclusively because he is listed as the team’s starting running back heading into their first preseason game. Personally, I don’t believe it will stay that way, and owners should be very careful in how they approach Redman.

Redman was the lead back following Rashard Mendenhall’s injury last season, but he only averaged 3.7 YPC and fumbled as many times as he scored. Redman has shown some capable running in the past, and the Steelers should have an improved offensive line.

However, Redman is not likely to remain the starter, which will take away most of his fantasy value. He is a decent receiver and could get some third-down looks, and he would be very valuable if Bell were to get hurt. Tread carefully here, and don’t expect a lot of value except in very deep leagues.

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4. Ben Roethlisberger

roethlisberger
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Roethlisberger is the classic player who is better in real football than fantasy. He is one of the toughest QB’s in the NFL, and he routinely engineers game-winning drives and makes big plays. Unfortunately, his final statistics often don’t reflect how good he really is, and they are all that counts in fantasy.

Roethlisberger lost Mike Wallace this offseason, Heath Miller is in doubt and the offensive line remains shaky. He has not played a complete season since 2008, and his health is always a concern. However, if you extrapolate Roethlisberger’s numbers from last season out to 16 games, you get 4,018 yards and 32 TDs, which is a fantasy starter.

I am much more concerned about the loss of Miller than Wallace, but if Miller can come back early in the season, then Big Ben’s value goes way up. If he can stay healthy, there is a very good chance he throws for 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. However, it wouldn’t be smart to bet on him staying healthy. Roethlisberger is a low-end starter, but he is much better for your team as a very high-upside backup.

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3. Le'Veon Bell

bell
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

I know that Redman is the listed starter, but I just can’t see any scenario in which Bell is healthy and not the main running back in Pittsburgh. The team used their second-round pick on him in April, and Mike Tomlin is too smart to stick with an inferior player like Redman or Dwyer. Bell may not be the starter now or even in Week 1, but he will definitely be the back to own for the majority of the season.

I am holding back just a bit on this prediction because of the uncertainty, but if Bell is starting in Week 1 and getting 20 carries a game, he probably belongs at the top of this list. Bell is a very powerful runner between the tackles, and he will fit in perfectly in blue-collar Pittsburgh.

Even if he doesn’t rack up the yards, Bell should be a beast in goal-line situations, which gives him solid value as is. Assuming he is the starter and is getting starter’s carries, which I believe is a very safe assumption, then Bell is a very good RB3 with potential to be a solid RB2. Additionally, he is someone that owners in keeper leagues will want to look at, because his value will probably never be this low again.

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2. Emmanuel Sanders

sanders
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Sanders is poised for a big breakout season. He posted 44 receptions for 626 yards as the Steelers’ No. 3 wideout last season, but with Mike Wallace out of the picture, Sanders moves to a starting role. Sanders is very quick and has good hands, and he has shown big-play ability in the past.

Sanders is a very good fit in Todd Haley’s offense, which rewards good route running and after-the-catch playmaking. Sanders will see his targets jump way up over last season, and that alone should increase his production to the point of being very valuable in fantasy.

Sanders is someone who owners will likely be able to grab later in their drafts, and he projects as a WR3 in most leagues. However, there is big potential here, and owners who pick Sanders could be rewarded with far more than WR3 production.

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1. Antonio Brown

brown
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Brown takes over as the No. 1 receiver in Pittsburgh, and he has shown that he is capable of producing at a high level. He dealt with an ankle sprain last season that cost him three games and limited his effectiveness somewhat, and he slipped back under 1,000 yards receiving. However, he did post a career-high five touchdowns despite playing in just 13 games.

Brown should be the most targeted receiver on the Steelers, and his exceptional run-after-the-catch abilities will rack up yardage and create big plays for the team. Brown fits perfectly in Haley’s short passing scheme, and Roethlisberger has total confidence in Brown.

Assuming healthy, expect Brown to easily break the 1,000 mark this year. He should be considered a solid WR2 in all but very shallow leagues, and if his touchdown numbers continue to increase then he could have even more value than that.

Greg Sulik is a New York Jets writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @GregSulik or add him to your network on Google

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Top 5 2013 Fantasy Football Players: Pittsburgh Steelers

steelers
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the most difficult teams to figure out in fantasy this season. They have a lot of question marks surrounding most of their key players, and owners are going to find it difficult to decipher who has the most value.

Wide receiver seems to be the most stable position, where Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders look to be solid fantasy options following the departure of Mike Wallace. Each will be in for a bigger role than they’ve had in the past, but both players should be able to handle the increased workload.

One of the best fantasy options on the Steelers would have been tight end Heath Miller, but he tore his ACL, MCL and PCL in Week 16 last season and is very questionable for the start of the season. If Miller is healthy, then he will probably be a top-10 tight end. However, there is a very good chance that he will begin the season on the PUP list, and owners will want to keep him in mind as a midseason waiver claim rather than a draft pick.

The real challenge in Pittsburgh is figuring out who will get the bulk of the carries at running back. The Steelers love to run the ball, especially down around the goal line, and whoever is the starter will have a ton of value in fantasy. Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer and rookie Le’Veon Bell are the contenders, and it may take all of preseason to sort it out.

Be sure to be aware of your league’s depth and scoring format when reading this list and others like it, as fantasy value can change dramatically based on those factors. These are five players that should have solid value in most leagues, but be careful with some of the question marks at running back and tight end.

2 of 6

5. Isaac Redman

redman
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s be very clear: if Miller doesn’t start the season on the PUP list then he makes this list and Redman doesn’t. Redman is on this list almost exclusively because he is listed as the team’s starting running back heading into their first preseason game. Personally, I don’t believe it will stay that way, and owners should be very careful in how they approach Redman.

Redman was the lead back following Rashard Mendenhall’s injury last season, but he only averaged 3.7 YPC and fumbled as many times as he scored. Redman has shown some capable running in the past, and the Steelers should have an improved offensive line.

However, Redman is not likely to remain the starter, which will take away most of his fantasy value. He is a decent receiver and could get some third-down looks, and he would be very valuable if Bell were to get hurt. Tread carefully here, and don’t expect a lot of value except in very deep leagues.

3 of 6

4. Ben Roethlisberger

roethlisberger
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Roethlisberger is the classic player who is better in real football than fantasy. He is one of the toughest QB’s in the NFL, and he routinely engineers game-winning drives and makes big plays. Unfortunately, his final statistics often don’t reflect how good he really is, and they are all that counts in fantasy.

Roethlisberger lost Mike Wallace this offseason, Heath Miller is in doubt and the offensive line remains shaky. He has not played a complete season since 2008, and his health is always a concern. However, if you extrapolate Roethlisberger’s numbers from last season out to 16 games, you get 4,018 yards and 32 TDs, which is a fantasy starter.

I am much more concerned about the loss of Miller than Wallace, but if Miller can come back early in the season, then Big Ben’s value goes way up. If he can stay healthy, there is a very good chance he throws for 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. However, it wouldn’t be smart to bet on him staying healthy. Roethlisberger is a low-end starter, but he is much better for your team as a very high-upside backup.

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3. Le'Veon Bell

bell
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

I know that Redman is the listed starter, but I just can’t see any scenario in which Bell is healthy and not the main running back in Pittsburgh. The team used their second-round pick on him in April, and Mike Tomlin is too smart to stick with an inferior player like Redman or Dwyer. Bell may not be the starter now or even in Week 1, but he will definitely be the back to own for the majority of the season.

I am holding back just a bit on this prediction because of the uncertainty, but if Bell is starting in Week 1 and getting 20 carries a game, he probably belongs at the top of this list. Bell is a very powerful runner between the tackles, and he will fit in perfectly in blue-collar Pittsburgh.

Even if he doesn’t rack up the yards, Bell should be a beast in goal-line situations, which gives him solid value as is. Assuming he is the starter and is getting starter’s carries, which I believe is a very safe assumption, then Bell is a very good RB3 with potential to be a solid RB2. Additionally, he is someone that owners in keeper leagues will want to look at, because his value will probably never be this low again.

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2. Emmanuel Sanders

sanders
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Sanders is poised for a big breakout season. He posted 44 receptions for 626 yards as the Steelers’ No. 3 wideout last season, but with Mike Wallace out of the picture, Sanders moves to a starting role. Sanders is very quick and has good hands, and he has shown big-play ability in the past.

Sanders is a very good fit in Todd Haley’s offense, which rewards good route running and after-the-catch playmaking. Sanders will see his targets jump way up over last season, and that alone should increase his production to the point of being very valuable in fantasy.

Sanders is someone who owners will likely be able to grab later in their drafts, and he projects as a WR3 in most leagues. However, there is big potential here, and owners who pick Sanders could be rewarded with far more than WR3 production.

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1. Antonio Brown

brown
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Brown takes over as the No. 1 receiver in Pittsburgh, and he has shown that he is capable of producing at a high level. He dealt with an ankle sprain last season that cost him three games and limited his effectiveness somewhat, and he slipped back under 1,000 yards receiving. However, he did post a career-high five touchdowns despite playing in just 13 games.

Brown should be the most targeted receiver on the Steelers, and his exceptional run-after-the-catch abilities will rack up yardage and create big plays for the team. Brown fits perfectly in Haley’s short passing scheme, and Roethlisberger has total confidence in Brown.

Assuming healthy, expect Brown to easily break the 1,000 mark this year. He should be considered a solid WR2 in all but very shallow leagues, and if his touchdown numbers continue to increase then he could have even more value than that.

Greg Sulik is a New York Jets writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @GregSulik or add him to your network on Google


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