When everyone is on the field for the Pittsburgh Steelers, it's hard to find a more prolific attack. Their starting quarterback ranks fourth among active quarterbacks in passing yards; Their top receiver has the fifth-most receiving yards among active receivers; Their starting running back has the second-most yards from scrimmage since he entered the league in 2013. Yes, the Steelers are awesome when they're available. But, of course, they often haven't been. Don't let that discourage you from drafting them.

Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell have been the best at their position even with a few games missed here or there. Everyone gets that. But on a per game basis Ben Roethlisberger has been elite himself, finishing as a top-five option more often than not. 

With the depth at quarterback this season it's become popular to act like they don't matter. That's just not true. You just shouldn't spend an early round pick for one when Roethlisberger will be available so much later. I understand if you fee the need to protect yourself with a backup quarterback, but when Roethlisberger is healthy, you won't need whoever that is.

*Rankings expressed below are in terms of expected Fantasy points. This is a part of our actual Fantasy Football rankings but not a direct correlation to my rankings. Things like injury risk, upside, etc. factor into rankings but they're not being talked about here. This is simply an expectation as the team is currently constructed.

PLAYER

EXPECTED FP

POS. RANK

EXPECTED PPR FP

POS. RANK

Le'Veon Bell

267.8

#3

352.3

#1

Antonio Brown

220.7

#1

333

#1

JuJu Smith-Schuster

145.6

#16

220.6

#17

Ben Roethlisberger

332.9

#4

332.9

#4

Breaking down the touches

We don't have a history of Randy Fichtner's NFL play calling because there hasn't been any. But since he's been under Todd Haley each of the past three years and the offense has been as successful as it has, I'm using the Steelers numbers from the last three years to set my expectations. And this quote from Ben Roethlisberger seems to confirm that methodology:

"We've been so productive the last five or six years. Why would you want to take a step back when the window isn't a huge window? The line is back, a lot of players are back. Let's try to keep the ball rolling. That's why it was important that we don't change a lot."

Steelers touches
Player RuSHARE RuATT ReSHARE TGT REC TD
Le'Veon Bell 78% 321 18% 106 84 11
Antonio Brown 0% 0 29% 170 112 10
JuJu Smith-Schuster 0% 0 18% 10674 7
James Washington 0% 0 14% 82474
Vance McDonald 0% 0 10% 59 33 3
Jesse James 0% 0 6% 35 24 2

Of note: 

  • There is one running back in the breakdown above because Bell takes an enormous share of the touches at running back. One has to wonder if a longterm deal could change that.
  • James Washington replaces Martavis Bryant as the team's deep threat and could be very interesting if one of the other receivers goes down. Washington is already very good at getting off man coverage, and he has the potential to be a big play machine.
  • Vance McDonald wasn't healthy for most of the year, but when he was it was pretty clear the team preferred him in the passing game. I would ignore James unless McDonald gets banged up again.

The Leftovers

James Conner and Stevan Ridley are Bell's backups and the team added Jaylen Samuels in the draft. This has certainly been a productive spot in year's past. While Bell does take almost all of the work when he's active, he's also missed his fair share of time due to injuries and suspensions. Now we have the possibility of a holdout to start the year and it's not hard to see how he'd miss significant time again.

Assuming Conner is fully recovered from his knee injury, I'd expect him to be the primary beneficiary in Bell's absence. Conner was pretty efficient in a very small sample size, and this offense is productive enough that he'd probably be a top-15 back if he was the starter.

The team drafted Washington's teammate Mason Rudolph in the third round, and Roethlisberger has given us plenty of reasons to wonder how much longer he'll play. Rudolph is not much more than a late-round flier in Dynasty leagues, but with Roethlisberger's injury history it wouldn't be that surprising to see him on the field at some point this year.