Fantasy Football: Which Pittsburgh Steelers to start and sit vs. the 49ers
The Pittsburgh Steelers are opening up Heinz Field for the first time this 2015 regular season when they host the 49ers. Be sure to set your fantasy football lineup accordingly with which Steelers to start and sit heading into this matchup.
With the National Football League finally opening their regular season doors for business last week, the quest has begun as fantasy owners compete for extra holiday cash, a cool trophy, bragging rights and not suffering the fate of having a picture of Justin Bieber tattooed on your leg (some leagues punish last place with embarrassing tats). No more talk of cheat sheets, snake drafts or keepers. All of the drafts are over and so let the boasting and bawling commence.
We know how the Steelers looked on the field in last week's depressing Gronkfest, but how did the boys from the Steel City perform on the fantasy Landscape? Let's take a look.
Here is the weekly forecast of how certain Steelers project for fantasy purposes. I have chosen to use point projections from NFL.com Fantasy, Yahoo Fantasy Football and ESPN.com Fantasy Football.
QB Ben Roethlisberger
Week 1 Stats: 26/38 351 yds 1 TD/1 INT
Week 1 Avg Position Rank: 7
Week 1 NFL.com Points: 18.04
Week 1 ESPN Points: 18.00
Week 1 Yahoo Points: 19.04
Week 2 NFL.com Projected Points: 16.56
Week 2 Yahoo Projected Points: 17.50
Week 2 ESPN Projected Points: 18.59
Analysis: Despite the loss, Ben Roethlisberger had a good fantasy performance against New England last week. This week at home against San Francisco, Ben faces a much better pass defense that ranks fourth overall in total yards allowed (248), sixth in passing yards allowed (177) and second overall with five sacks.
Roethlisberger was 26 for 38 with 351 yards in the air in the opener. He had only one touchdown through the air. Roethlisberger should have but didn't have a second scoring hurl, because Darius Heyward-Bey (unaccustomed to being in the end zone presumably) showed no sideline awareness and stepped out-of-bounds with nary a New England soul near, thus negating a 26-yard score and the stat. He also tossed an interception in the contest.
Last week #7 put up an average of 18.36 points. Ben is throwing well, and despite facing a better foe on the defensive side, is expected to throw early and often. With Antonio Brown at his disposal, Rothlisberger is one always a great QB1 start. He ranks an average of seventh fantasy-wise. Start him, unless he's on your team with Aaron Rodgers or another over-the-top tier QB or if you're a myopic Raven fan.
RB Deangelo Williams
Week 1 Rushing Stats: 21 car/127 yds
Week 1 Receiving Stats: 1 rec/5 yds
Week 1 Avg Position Rank: 15
Week 1 NFL.com Points: 13.20
Week 1 ESPN Points: 13.50
Week 1 Yahoo Points: 13.20
Verdict: Start as an RB2
Analysis: Barring an injury to Le'Veon Bell or the aforementioned running back finding a bag of the chronic in the back of his locker and getting busted for partyin' like it's 1999, this should be the last game that the 32-year-old Williams will carry the full load.
Although he did not find the end zone, DWill impressed by collecting 127 rushing yards on 21 carries for an average of 6 ypc in his debut with the Steelers. However, the Steelers are not expected to run at will against a San Francisco defense that held Adrian Peterson to a mere 31 yards Monday night. As mentioned above, expect Roethlisberger to pass more in this game, instead of trying to pound the ball against a defense that ranks seventh in the league against the rush after Week 1, with 71 yards allowed to Minnesota.
Also, the Steelers showed an affinity for handing the ball off to Will Johnson on the goal line against the Pats. This limits Deangelo's FFL scoring potential.
Williams had an average of 13.3 fantasy points week one, but is not likely to repeat that performance. However, with a lack of quality running backs, still consider Williams as a solid RB2 or a flex option in a larger league.
WR/RB Dri Archer
Week 1 Rushing Stats: 0
Week 1 Receiving Stats: 0
Week 1 Kick Return Stats: 1/22 yds 22.0 avg
Week 1 Avg Position Rank: 94
Week 1 NFL.com Points: 0
Week 1 ESPN Points: 0
Week 1 Yahoo Points: 0
Analysis: In the offseason, I was one of those making a huge case for Dri Archer. I cited his blazing speed and the need for Todd Haley to develop schemes to utilize his strengths. But Archer's lack of size and experience seems to be way too much to overcome and it is becoming clear that he is not displaying enough in practice to make a meaningful contribution to the Steelers or to fantasy teams.
If your league accounts for return yardage, then there's a possibility of points. But still, there is currently no fantasy impact here.
WR Antonio Brown
Week 1 Stats: 9 rec/133 yds 1 TD
Week 1 Avg Position Rank: 2
Week 1 NFL.com Points: 19.30
Week 1 ESPN Points: 22.00
Week 1 Yahoo Points: 19.30
Analysis: This guy is a fantasy goliath. With a score, 9 grabs and 133 yards receiving, Brown extended his streak of five catches for 50 yards to 34 games last week. The next closest was Lavernius Coles back in the early part of the century. Coles, when he was not stealing shoes from a Dillards department store, did it in 19 straight. I always thought of that as a so-so stat, because in my mind your star receiver should be doing that every week. The fact is that even the greatest haven't. Since Brown is the only guy to do it over more than two seasons, the stat is pretty impressive. Fantasy-wise, to quote George Costanza, "I tell you it's gold Jerry...Gold!".
Against New England, Antonio was not slated to extend that streak. Reports out of Patriots camp had him devising schemes to shut Brown down. It didn't happen. San Francisco is better, but look for Antonio Brown to continue his mastery. Last week #84 averaged in the neighborhood of 20.2 fantasy points.
Always start him. He is truly the master of his own domain.
WR Markus Wheaton
Week 1 Stats: 3 rec/55 yds, 2-point conversion
Week 1 Avg Position Rank: 33
Week 1 NFL.com Points: 7.50
Week 1 ESPN Points: 8.40
Week 1 Yahoo Points: 7.50
Analysis: I started Wheaton last week and while he seemed merely pedestrian (3 catches for 55 yards) on the field, an average of 8 points for a flex option for a WR2 or WR3 is not terrible. I think this weekend, Wheaton needs and will make a statement. With the 49ers attention all on AB, look for Markus to break out. But then again, I said that last week
In a smaller league, Wheaton is on the bubble. In a 12-team league, #11 is a definite start.
WR Sammie Coates
Week 1 Stats: NA
Week 1 Avg Position Rank: NA
Week 1 NFL.com Points: 0
Week 1 ESPN Points: 0
Week 1 Yahoo Points: 0
Analysis: It's very disconcerting to see the third-round pick out of Auburn not dressing against the Pats. The NCAA-accomplished Coates, a healthy-scratch, was drafted at wide receiver mainly because of the pending suspension of Martavis Bryant, but could not beat out an undrafted quarterback who converted to wide receiver, Tyler Murphy. At this point, Coates should not even be kept on your roster. You can pick him up later, if he starts to make a statement.
WR Darius Heyward-Bey
Week 1 Stats: 4 rec/58 yds
Week 1 Avg Position Rank: 39
Week 1 NFL.com Points: 5.80
Week 1 ESPN Points: 7.00
Week 1 Yahoo Points: 5.80
Analysis: Heyward-Bey almost had a better stat line than Markus Wheaton in the season opener, but his gaffe at the end of the first half cost the Steelers a crucial touchdown and his owners could not collect six points. DHB went from an average of around 14 to 6.2 fantasy points when a fraction of his foot touched the white line. #88 seems to be of strong-enough mind to rebound from the costly error.
Field awareness aside, Darius will continue to be an option for Big Ben during the Bryant suspension, but he's maybe a WR3 option in a deep league at best.
TE Heath Miller
Week 1 Stats: 8 rec/84 yds
Week 1 Avg Position Rank: 12
Week 1 NFL.com Points: 8.40
Week 1 ESPN Points: 8.40
Week 1 Yahoo Points: 8.40
Analysis: Miller is a good, low-end option to start at TE1 this weekend against the 49ers at home. Last week Miller snagged eight Big Ben balls for 84 yards. With Wheaton and DHB merely a little more than pedestrian and Bell out another week, Heath is a great club for Ben to pull out for his short game against a depleted linebacking corps from San Francisco.
K Josh Scobee
Week 1 Stats: 2 FG (44,24) 2 Missed FG (46,44) 1 XP
Week 1 Avg Position Rank: 19
Week 1 NFL.com Points: 7.00
Week 1 ESPN Points: 6.00
Week 1 Yahoo Points: 8.00
Analysis: So far, the third kicker was not a charm for the Steelers. Scobee's miscues cost the Steelers dearly at Gillette Stadium last week. I don't know who suffered more because of his two errant kicks, Steeler Nation or Scobee-owners. Scobee did knock two through, but his misses lowered his point total to an average of seven points.
I look for Scobee to right this ship, but there are plenty of quality options at kicker to go to instead of Josh. Look elsewhere.
Week 1 Stats: Surrendered 28 points, 4 TD passes, 0 turnovers
Week 1 Avg Position Rank: 27
Week 1 NFL.com Points: 1
Week 1 ESPN Points: -2
Week 1 Yahoo Points: 1
Analysis: Even if you are in a 16-team league, I don't for see the Steelers defense or special teams being a startable option. The defense surrendered 80 rushing yards (NFL Rank #11), which is respectable. But this time around they face a tough test in Carlos Hyde, who dashed for a league-best 168 yards last week and two scores.
Where the problem lies is the pass defense which surrendered a massive 281 passing yards (NFL Rank #24) of a tally of 361 total yards (NFL Rank #21) and 28 points (NFL Rank #24) to the Patriots. They did manage to garner two sacks of Brady by Bud Dupree and Will Allen.
Tyler Murphy had one reception for 16 yards late in the Patriots game.
Will Johnson had four carries for seven yards and a touchdown.