Fantasy Football Injury Reaction: Steelers lose with Ben Roethlisberger out for the season
Ben Roethlisberger's season is done with an elbow injury, and Heath Cummings says that is a bad thing for everyone else on the team for Fantasy.
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.
Fantasy Football Today Newsletter
Get tips, advice and news to win your league - all from the FFT podcast team.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest sports news.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Fantasy Football Today Podcast
Join our Free $1,000,000 Parlay Challenge
David Johnson unexpectedly played a limited role in Week 7. Did Chase Edmonds do enough to...
More key injuries are marring Week 7 Sunday. Here's the likely impact heading into Week 8.
There's no shortage of big injury news to catch up on ahead of Sunday's action. Here's the...
Heath Cummings gives his top plays and contrarian lineups for Week 7.
Are you sure you're setting your best Fantasy lineup? Dave Richard went through every matchup...
Heath Cummings gives you everything you need to know about Week 7 including what you should...