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2008 Steelers Fantasy Buzz
2008 Steelers Fantasy Buzz
This is the time of the year to start thinking about your fantasy football draft. In my eyes, fantasy football is by far the major stage for fantasy sports. To some people, it is hard to stay true to your home team while putting together your fantasy team. Try to look at your fantasy team as a business and not the players you love to cheer for. Keep your emotions out of your drafting strategy. Sure, your home town players can bring you value and help you win big. Understand that if there is a better choice on the board, don’t factor your fan loyalty into the decision making process.
I will break down the Steelers main point getters in each major position: QB, WR, RB, TE, and K. These will be players I believe will get you points and help bring home the championship.
QB: Ben Roethlisberger
Ben is set for his fifth season as the Steelers leader. Fresh off the new 8 year $102 million dollar contract ($33.2 million guaranteed), Ben is set to prove that he is worth the dough that the Steelers shelled out.
I would rank Big Ben as a top 10 fantasy quarterback. In the ESPN fantasy drafts, Ben is currently being drafted around 34th overall. Ben is a solid choice but he is not in the top tier of quarterbacks. The top tier is reserved for Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer, and Tony Romo in my eyes.
Where would I draft Ben? I would start to look to draft Ben during the 4th round (this will vary due to different scoring systems used in your league). I personally like to get my stud running backs in rounds 1 and 2. This will probably change because of the use of the dual backfield we are seeing across the league. If you need a QB in round four, Ben would be a steal.
So how will Ben do? I believe this will depend on two main factors that are not under his control. Mainly the offensive line is the main key to any Pittsburgh success. A big question is can we fill the Faneca gap? Many thought that the Steelers front office would target a top guard or tackle in this year’s draft. They seem pretty confident with the returning players filling in the gaps.
The running game is another big factor in Roethlisberger’s success. Did the Steelers draft Mendenhall because of Willie Parker’s knee injury? A solid running game will open up the passing game. Having a dual threat such as Parker and Mendenhall will help.
I predict Roethlisberger will have a successful season. He should pass for 3800 yards, 39 throwing TDs, and 3 rushing TDs.
RB: Willie Parker
Dynasty owners of “Fast” Willie Parker cringed over the drafting of Rashard Mendenhall. Parker will not share the duties with Mendenhall. Parker last year was leading the league in rushing before his knee injury. In fact, he better led the league in rushing, with all of the carries he was getting in the Steelers offense.
Parker will get you the rushing yards if healthy, but seemed to have trouble getting the ball in the end zone. This will probably be the case again this year. I foresee Mendenhall getting most of the short yardage carries, goal lines handoffs, and some catches in the passing game. Also, with Roethlisberger having two solid tight ends to go to in the red zone, they are hard to pass up.
I would hesitate to draft Willie Parker in the 1st or 2nd rounds. If he is available in the 3rd round I would pick him up in a heartbeat. Willie’s knee injury and the shared duties are the main reasons. Steelers also have plans on going to pass more this year. I’ll predict Parker to have 1,100 yards rushing, 250 yards receiving, and 5 rushing TDs.
RB: Rashard Mendenhall
Before the 2008 NFL Draft, ask any Steelers fan or sports reporter what position would they address with their 1st pick. No one would have said running back. I agree with the Steelers picking the best available player. Mendenhall gives them depth at a position where injuries are common.
Running backs coming into the NFL have an easier time producing right away compared to wide outs and quarterbacks. Every fantasy owner is drooling for the next Adrian Peterson. I would say that Mendenhall has as opportunity to be a force in the league. I see Mendenhall as a Maurice Jones-Drew, a short yardage back that gets you touch downs but a better pass receiver.
Depending on what kind of fantasy league you are in will determine Mendehall’s draft position. Rashard is a player I would draft in the mid to late rounds in a regular yearly draft. He would be a good insurance policy to have in case of a Parker injury. He can be someone to fill in on your bye weeks when they start coming around. In a keeper league where you already have your core players in place, I would draft Mendenhall in the first round.
I’ll predict Mendenhall will rack up 750 rushing yards, 400 receiving yards, 10 rushing touchdowns, and 1 receiving touchdown.
WR: Hines Ward
Hines Ward is one of the most loved Pittsburgh players in history. When I look to draft Ward in my league I see caution flags. Ward is coming off of offseason knee surgery and age is becoming a factor.
I would stay away from Ward with the emergence of Santonio. Ward will no longer be the go-to guy. If you want to gamble on Ward, take him before the 5th round in your draft. Anywhere after that is a quality pick in the later rounds. I’ll predict 8oo receiving yards, 65 receptions, and 6 touchdowns for Hines Ward if he stays healthy.
WR: Santonio Holmes
Santonio Holmes will carry the Pittsburgh passing game into the future. Holmes and Hines along with the emergence of newly drafted Limas Sweed, should cause defensive matchup problems.
In his third season, Holmes will continue to develop and continue to produce. If you plan on drafting Santonio, you do not have to get him in the early rounds. Do no over spend on Holmes. He can be had usually in the early 4th round.
I predict good things with Holmes: 1,200 yards receiving, 75 receptions, 11 touchdowns. I strongly recommend drafting #10.
WR: Limas Sweed
The Steelers got Ben his “big” receiver. In the second round of the 2008 draft, the Steelers nabbed the 6’5” receiver out of Texas. Sweed brings the option for Roethlisberger to go long.
It will take Sweed a few years to develop into a prime receiver. Sweed should be the #3 receiver in the Steelers offense.
In you regular fantasy league Sweed probably should not be drafted until the later rounds. If you’re in an established keeper league, Sweed should be drafted in the late 1st or early 2nd round.
I predict Sweed will have 50 receptions, 800 yards receiving, and 3 touchdowns. I recommend grapping Sweed as your last pick in your draft.
TE: Heath Miller
Heath has become a top 5 tight end in my opinion. The top tier of tight ends: Gates, Witten, and , will go in the late 3rd to 4th round. Miller should be available in the late 6th, early 7th round. Opposing team linebackers have trouble defending him off the line. Miller is also great at picking up YAC (yards after carry) yards.
Miller is quality pick up in the 4th round. I see him doing good things this year. I predict 50 receptions, 600 yards receiving, and 6 touch downs.
K: Jeff Reed
Reed is a very consist mid to short range kicker. He doesn’t get very many chances at kicking 50 yards and over. Most of the reason is Heinz Field. Heinz Field has become a night mare for kickers trying field goals over 50 yards. In fact, no one has successfully kicked from 5o yards in a regular season or playoff game.
Draft your kickers towards the end of the draft. Reed is a top 15 kicker. I would recommend drafting a kicker who kicks in an indoor stadium. I would not recommend Reed.
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