Many viewed the fantasy football performance of Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger last season as a letdown. However, the veteran still threw 28 touchdowns and added 4,261 passing yards, both of which were the second highest total of his career.
After a seven-game cold streak, Roethlisberger really turned it on at the end of the season. The veteran threw 21 touchdowns (2.3 TD/G) over the final nine games and legitimately played like a QB1 down the stretch. He even threw at least once touchdown in every single contest, which is rather impressive considering the distain for him around the fantasy world.
Roethlisberger formed a strong connection with WR Antonio Brown, and as Big Ben improved, so did Brown. The wideout averaged 99.8 receiving yards over the final eight games to go along with five touchdowns. The duo will carry that confidence over in tot he 2014 season and should pick up right where they left in 2013.
Big Ben threw just eight touchdowns in the first seven games of the 2013 season to go along with seven picks. He seriously struggled throughout the first half of the fantasy season and the two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback was suddenly a free agent in almost every format. He obviously turned it around, but his early-season problems are worth noting.
As much as everyone thought the team wouldn’t miss WR Mike Wallace last season, the team obviously had a whole on the outside. Brown emerged as a legitimate receiving threat, but the lack of a speedster to stretch the defense out kept the team rather one-dimensional.
Even worse, Pittsburgh let WR Emmanuel Sanders go this offseason. The wideout was a veteran in the team’s system and hauled in 740 yards with six touchdowns last season, but he left to join the Denver Broncos this spring. Big Ben will now need to learn to trust other wideouts, because without Sanders running routes, defenses will be shifting even more of all their attention to Brown.
Roethlisberger can be a steal as a mid-level quarterback in deeper leagues. The offense will be much better in 2014 with a steady running game and Roethlsiberger will only get more room to operate. Look for him to have another 4,000-yard season with 25-plus touchdowns and be a steal as a low-end starter this summer.
Bye Week: 12
Projected Round: 10
Auction Value: $8