Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 Fantasy Preview

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Have no doubt about it, the Pittsburgh Steelers are still one of the premier teams in the NFL, but unfortunately that doesn’t always equate in the game of fantasy. Injuries and a resulting inconsistent offense has fans and fantasy owners alike hoping for more than the petty 20.3 points per game (tied for 21st) they put up in 2011.

Here are the guys in Pittsburgh that you should have on your list come time to do the fantasy draft.


*Credit to Cold Stone Creamery for inspiring the categories for this set of fantasy previews. However, I cannot guarantee the fantasy players will live up to high expectations like their delicious ice cream does.

GOTTA HAVE THEM (Elite Category – These guys are must have for any fantasy team)

No Current Steelers Fit In This Class

LOVE THEM (These guys are game-changers who are a breakout season or two from becoming elite)

WR Mike Wallace (2011 Finish: 9th ranked WR, 10.1 points per game)

The speedster Wallace is so close to moving up to the elite class (over 1,000 yards and 7+ touchdowns in the past two seasons), but realistically needs one more solid season to reach that plateau. He’s arguably the best deep threat in the game and really improved on the inside/under routes in 2011. Those are the facts following the 2011 season, but it gets even better when previewing 2012. Todd Haley is the new offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh, famously known for his work with Kurt Warner and the high-flying Cardinals and not so much his disaster with the Chiefs and Wallace also has an excellent young receiver lined up on the other side (Antonio Brown), drawing a lot of attention away from him. As a projected late second-early third round fantasy pick, Wallace has tremendous upside and could be that elite receiver you didn’t have to spend one of your first couple of draft picks on.

WR Antonio Brown (2011 Finish: 23rd ranked WR, 7.1 points per game)

For many of the same reasons that I love Wallace, I love Antonio Brown. Unlike Wallace, Brown is projected to go in the seventh or eight round of most fantasy drafts. Brown actually led the team in targets with 121 (nine ahead of Wallace) and is more of a possession receiver than the deep-threat Wallace. Brown’s pitfall in 2011 was his two touchdowns, but expect that number to go up because he’s way too elusive to not find the end-zone more in 2012. With Haley calling the plays and a questionable backfield, expect both Brown and Wallace to have a fast start to the season.

Pittsburgh D/ST (2011 Finish: 10th ranked D/ST, 7.6 points per game)

Over the past couple of seasons, the Steelers’ defense couldn’t help but get older and older. This upcoming season will be a bit of a change as some young guys like Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward will attempt to replace veteran leaders who have moved on. With the most important piece still in tact, safety Troy Polamalu, I’m not willing to give up on this defense in 2012, they should surely be in the top-10 once again.

LIKE THEM (These guys are solid fantasy options who should help any fantasy team win)

QB Ben Roethlisberger (2011 Finish: 13th ranked QB, 12.9 points per game)

I know what your thinking …. If I love Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown, how can I not love Roethlisberger? The answer comes down to dependability and Big Ben’s health remains a huge question entering each and every season, he’s one of the most  beat-up signal callers in the game. Roethlisberger has played all 16 games only once in his eight-year career. Not to be completely pessimistic, he could be primed for a career year in what projects to be a pass-happy offense, but picking him in the sixth round ahead of guys like Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan could be a bit of a stretch.

RB Isaac Redman (2011 Finish: 49th ranked RB, 3.8 points per game)

Redman looks to be the lead-guy for the starting running back position over teammates Jonathan Dwyer and Rashard Mendenhall. Dwyer has yet to prove he can make an impact in the league and Mendenhall is coming off a treacherous ACL tear. What’s striking about Redman is how he excels at carrying the ball up the middle between the tackles. Luckily for him, Pittsburgh went out in the NFL Draft and picked up offensive lineman David DeCastro and Mike Adams with their first two picks. In the sixth or seventh round, Redman could be a steal if he performs well when given a chance early in the season.

OUT OF STOCK (These guys can not yet be counted on to bring greatness to a fantasy team)

RB Jonathan Dwyer
RB Rashard Mendenhall
TE Heath Miller
WR Emmanuel Sanders
WR Jerricho Cotchery

What do you think of the 2012 Pittsburgh Steelers Fantasy Outlook? Did I miss anything or was it pretty spot on? Let me know by commenting below!

Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, and Milwaukee Brewers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice and pretend to be a Golf expert from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best.

More TSB Fantasy Team Previews:

AFC EAST
Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots
New York Jets

AFC North
Baltimore Ravens
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns

Pictures:

Mike Wallace (sportsmediamasters.com)

Troy Polamalu (stillernationrise.blogspot.com)


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