Fantasy Team Previews: Pittsburgh Steelers

Fantasy Football NFL Team Fantasy Analysis

Pittsburgh Steelers

The make or break stretch

Nov. 2 Baltimore Ravens, 8:30*

Nov. 9 at New York Jets, 1

Nov. 17 at Tennessee Titans (Mon), 8:30

Nov. 23 BYE

Nov. 30 New Orleans Saints, 1

Dec. 7 at Cincinnati Bengals, 1

Dec. 14 at Atlanta Falcons, 1

Despite QB Ben Roethlisberger starting all 16 games for the first time since 2008, the Steelers finished 8-8 last season and missed the playoffs again. Pittsburgh missed the playoffs in back to back seasons for the first time since 1998-2000. However, the Steelers, after starting 0-4, finished the season 6-2 and were the last team to be eliminated from AFC playoff contention.

Unless OC Todd Haley and Big Ben find a happy medium in the Steel city, it’s likely to be another up and down season. However, signs pointed to just that happening when Pittsburgh won their final three games. Roethlisberger threw for under 200 yards in each victory. Haley is expected to try to get the Steelers back to a more balanced attack and the acquisition of RB LaGarrete Blount will help. Along with Le’Veon Bell, the duo are looking to provide a little lightning and thunder to a ground attack that finished 27th in the league last year.

Pittsburgh must be successful on the ground. The receiving corps can run but they aren’t very consistent. Big Ben, 32, finished 10th in fantasy points scored among quarterbacks last season (19.76 FPG – standard scoring).  His 28 passing touchdowns ranked seventh in the league.  However, 16 of those passing scores were to receivers no longer with the team –Emmanuel Sanders (six) and Jerricho Cotchery (10).  Roethlisberger helped Antonio Brown set career receiving records in yards (1499) and trips to the end zone (eight). Prior to the Steelers drafting Martavis Bryant out of Clemson, Roethlisberger didn’t have a wide receiver who stood over six feet to target.


The 2013 season marked a lot of firsts that weren’t considered positives in the Steel City. One of them was not ranking in the top 10 for the first time since 1999 – which means the first time under current defensive guru Dick LeBeau (2004-Present) – the unit finished outside the top 10 in total defense (yards) – 337.6 YAPG / 23.1 PAPG. They ranked 21st against the rush and ninth against the pass. This year’s unit has a chance to return to the glory years (albeit 2 seasons) when they were swarming and feared. GM Kevin Colbert decided not to retain a lot of stalwarts such as DL Bret Keisel, LB LaMarr Woodley and S Ryan Clark but S Troy Polamulu remains and is entering his 12th year. The future Hall of Famer still has a nice mix of veteran and young talent in front of him. Linebackers Lawrence Timmons & Jason Worilds return and will be aided by second year man Jarvis Jones and rookie Ryan Shazier. If the linebackers stay healthy and the Steelers get satisfactory play in the secondary, the two year playoff drought is likely over. From a fantasy perspective, the last time a Steelers player led the NFL in interceptions was in 1975 when Mel Blount snagged 11. The point of this is that Pittsburgh hasn’t produced many turnovers as a defense the last few seasons. With the defense getting a tad younger at key positions, look for LeBeau to be even more aggressive, forcing more turnovers in 2014.


Special Teams:

The good news is kicker Shaun Suisham (129 points) posted career highs in 2013 with 30 FG’s made and a 93.8 percent conversion rate. He is entering a contract year, so he may be even better in 2014. The bad news is he didn’t make any of those kicks from 50 or beyond and has just four in that range over the past nine seasons. Antonio Brown returns punts and is dangerous while LaGarrete Blount may return KO’s


Best Fantasy Player:

Ben Roethlisberger:


Big Ben still remains large and in charge. The Steelers will indeed look to run more but Ben always finds a way to get the ball down the field. look for another solid season from Roethlisbereger. With speedy additions such as Dri Archer, Pittsburgh may look to confuse teams which could creat potential speedy mismatches and some long TD passes for the two time Super Bowl champ.


AFC/NFC Crossover: AFC South, NFC South
Swing Games: Kansas City, at NY Jets
Opponents ’13 Record: 46.9% (23rd)

The AFC North gets a nice draw with the AFC South as its crossover competition within the conference and both Houston and Indianapolis come to the Steel City. Games against Kansas City (home) and the Jets (road) are winnable swing games for a team expecting to be above .500 and in the playoff hunt as well. Pittsburgh will have played the Browns and Ravens twice each by Week 9 and have to play the Bengals twice in the final four weeks, including the season finale at home. In fact, the bye week falls perfectly in line with a nasty five-game stretch to end the season featuring the Saints, Bengals (twice), Falcons, and Chiefs.

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