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Fantasy Football 2014: Ben Roethlisberger Is Sneaky Good

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

 

Dr. Pepper is one of my favorite beverages out there.

It’s delicious, refreshing and features some pretty sweet commercials. However, often times, I find myself saving money at the store by purchasing the store brand versions. They are still good, for sure, but they aren’t as good as the original Dr. Pepper, of course. Brands like Dr. Thunder and Mr. Pib (clever, I know) are never talked about as some of the top tier beverages, but seemingly always get the job done.

My friends, I give to you, Ben Roethlisberger. The Dr. Thunder of fantasy football.

He’s not one of the elite options, at least in terms of fantasy (I mean, the guy has a few Super Bowl rings), as Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are the top tier options. Manning is the Pepper, Roethlisberger the Thunder. Simple enough, no? Big Ben, if even drafted in fantasy leagues, isn’t going until the latest of rounds. It’s understandable, but has Ben Roethlisberger been overlooked as a fantasy option lately?

Let’s take a look.

Ben Over The Years

When Roethlisberger plays at least 15 games, he provides owners with incredibly sneaky production. It isn’t pretty, it isn’t sexy, but at the end of the day, he is more than serviceable. Let’s take a look at his numbers in seasons where he’s been healthy since 2007.

Year

Yards

TD

Rank

2007 3,154 32 QB6
2008 3,301 18 QB16
2009 4,328 26 QB8
2011 4,077 21 QB13
2013 4,261 28 QB10

 

Super, super quietly, Ben was the 10th-best fantasy option last season among quarterbacks. And in 2012, where he missed the final three games, if you would have extrapolated his projections out, he would have finished the year as QB9. But still, no one seems to ever be talking about Ben. A guy who is averaging about 23 touchdowns per season when healthy, as well as about a rushing touchdown or two on top of that each season. There’s not a doubt in my mind that, when healthy, Roethlisberger has been one of the most consistent and better quarterbacks in football over the last three or four season.

The Steelers Offense

Look, when you think of the Steelers, you don’t automatically think of a high-octane, passing juggernaut. But, let’s face it. This isn’t a ground-and-pound offense anymore. Over the last two seasons, the Steelers have hovered inside the top-15 in pass attempts per game, and that number could improve even more in 2014.

Pittsburgh got off to an incredibly poor start last year, but during the second half, they changed things up. They implemented more of a no-huddle offense starting in Week 9 against the Bills. It was successful, as from then on, Pittsburgh turned it around. Roethlisberger was upright far more often, only being sacked 11 times during that span. To compare, he was sacked 32 times during the games prior. That differential is very comforting, especially when you consider how badly the Steelers offensive line has been in recent years. Of course, with this turnaround, Ben (as well as the Steelers) saw their numbers improve.

From Week 9 on, Pittsburgh scored 223 points, 67 more points than before the no-huddle was implemented. That, via Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. And, from a fantasy perspective, according to CBS leagues, Ben averaged about 22 fantasy points per game with the new offense, a very safe number for a guy you are likely trying to stream.

Will Ben finish as a top-five fantasy signal caller? No, probably not. But you aren’t drafting him to post those types of numbers, if even drafting him at all. You are picking him as a guy at the end of your draft that you can stream throughout the season, along with another quarterback, if that’s the approach you’d like to take. A guy like Ben is an incredibly safe option to stream week-to-week because he has a fairly safe floor. But, with the way Ben has been playing over the years, he is finishing as more than a streaming option.

He’s been quietly serving as a QB1.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.