Fantasy Football Injury Reaction: Steelers lose with Ben Roethlisberger out for the season

The Steelers offense hasn't been what we expected through two weeks this season, and that isn't likely to be made better by Ben Roethlisberger's elbow injury. Roethlisberger left Sunday's game against the Seahawks and will require season-ending surgery the team announced Monday. 

Roethlisberger suffered a non-contact elbow injury Sunday, and the recovery time and likelihood of him playing in 2020 is not yet known at this time. Roethlisberger gave way to backup Mason Rudolph, who performed surprisingly well in the veteran's absence, and who will now lead the team moving forward. 

After throwing an interception on his second pass, Rudolph completed a long flea flicker to JuJu Smith-Schuster on his next drive and tossed a pair of touchdown passes to Vance McDonald later in the game. Even with those encouraging signs, however, the 76th pick in the 2018 draft is clearly no Roethlisberger. 

JuJu Smith-Schuster hasn't made the adjustments I expected him to as a No. 1 receiver in the Steelers offense. The Patriots and Seahawks both did a good job of taking him away for large parts of their games. While that would have been expected to improve over the course of the season with Roethlisberger as his quarterback, it's harder to guarantee Smith-Schuster is a top-15 wide receiver with Rudolph under center. It's simply too much to ask of the young receiver to beat double coverage with a first-year starter at quarterback. 

This would have a negative impact on James Conner as well. Defenses have to give Roethlisberger a certain amount of respect that Rudolph won't be afforded unless he proves otherwise. Conner should expect to see more stacked boxes and fewer touchdown opportunities. I'd still view him as a starter, but more as a No. 2 option that the top 10 back you drafted him as — and we'll have to see how the knee injury Conner dealt with Sunday will limit him moving forward

As for McDonald, Donte Moncrief and the rest of the Steelers weapons? I'd have a hard time trusting them as anything more than low-end options. The two scores to McDonald were encouraging, but this figures to be a low-volume, low-scoring offense at least until we see something from Rudolph that proves otherwise. Rudolph's college teammate James Washington could benefit from the move, if you want to take a flier on waivers, but that's another connection we'll have to see before we believe in it. 

As for Rudolph himself, he is worth an add in a two-quarterback league, but nothing more. Maybe he can exceed those expectations, but for now, you have to be concerned about what this means for the Steelers' offense. 

Senior Fantasy Writer

Heath Cummings is a Senior Fantasy Writer that covers Daily Fantasy Sports of all types. Before coming to CBS Sports he was a staff writer for Footballguys and the host of The Fantasy Football Show on... Full Bio

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