We’re back to the rough-and-tumble AFC North in today’s segment of the Inscriber Magazine Fantasy Football series. Today, we will take a look at the perennial Super Bowl contenders, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Drafting from Pittsburgh is almost a no-brainer, given the level of talent within the organization, but there are still five things that you need to know before draft day.
Number 84 Will Carry Your Team
We already went over Baltimore and the fact that you shouldn’t draft their wide receivers in standard leagues. In Pittsburgh, there is one wide receiver that you should draft, no questions asked, as soon as you can. Antonio Brown is arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL, and regardless of what kind of league you are in, he should be drafted as such. In many mock drafts, Brown is going number one overall, and with good reason.
Last season, Brown racked up 136 receptions for a staggering 1,834 yards, and ten touchdowns. This was in a year where his starting quarterback was out for four games. In almost every game last season, Number 84 was unstoppable. Draft him first, or risk not getting him at all. In both standard leagues and PPR leagues, Brown can carry your team on his back.
Be Cautious With Big Ben
Look, Ben Roethlisberger is a good quarterback, nobody can argue that. However, he has only played a full season 3 times in his career, and he is only getting older. Through 12 games, Ben threw 319 completions out of 469 attempts, for 3,938 yards and 21 touchdowns against 16 interceptions. Decent enough numbers, especially when you take into consideration the amount of running touchdowns made by the Steelers’ running backs.
However, 16 interceptions over 12 games isn’t a good thing, and this is where I start to advise caution. Ben has also never been sacked less than 20 times a year (20 times over 12 games, again, not good), which, given his injury this past year, makes you start to have health questions. I’m not saying to stay away from Ben. Draft him, in any league. But make sure that you have a solid backup.
Ring the Bell
At the running back position, the Steelers have, again, a player who is arguably the best in the league, with Le’Veon Bell. There are question marks surrounding his availability in the first four weeks, given the possibility of him being suspended due to missing a drug test, but you should still be drafting him high, even if that suspension stands. There are question marks surrounding his availability because he has only had one full season played in his three year career, but you can still take him high, considering that when he is on the field, he WILL produce.
Keep in mind, when he played 16 games, he rushed for over 1,300 yards, punching in 8 TDs. If he plays even half of a season, you’ll gain some good points. But keep an eye on his health, and make sure you have a good backup, just in case the Le’Veon Bell cracks.
Second Guess the Defense
While the offense in Pittsburgh is feared by many teams, the defense in general, and the secondary specifically is not looked at in the same light. They’re ranked 21st going into the 2016 campaign, and were ranked lower in the 2015 campaign. Stay away from the Pittsburgh defense on draft day, as any offense with a decent quarterback and okay receivers should be able to slice up the secondary like butter.
Antwon Blake is no longer on the team, and he was the biggest issue in the secondary last year so that they may show improvement in the 2016 campaign. However, until you see the improvement, stay away on draft day.
Look Elsewhere For Your TE
While the Pittsburgh offense has the potential to be very high-powered, there is one position that you should avoid, and that is the tight end position. Heath Miller was the go-to for awhile in Pittsburgh, but he has since retired, and been ‘replaced’ by Ladarius Green. Matt Spaeth has been released, and he functioned as Miller’s co-star, which means the #2 spot will likely go to Jesse James.
Heath was a blocking tight end, not a receiving tight end, and neither of the other two TEs has shown a propensity for blocking, which changes the game in Pittsburgh. There are plenty of options throughout the NFL to choose from without having to delve into the Pittsburgh depth chart on draft day.