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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Team Talk: Pittsburgh Steelers

By Adam Filadelfo (@Frostt24)

Coming off of a disappointing season, the Pittsburgh Steelers still made fantasy owners happy with the talent they produced in 2013. 2014 could see some of those same faces produce again for fantasy owners and maybe bring the Steelers back to the playoffs after a two year absence.

Ben Roethlisberger
- Big Ben had himself a very good fantasy season in 2013. Written off by some fantasy owners, Big Ben threw for over 4,200 yards which is the second most in his career and threw 28 touchdowns to 14 interceptions. He also managed to rush for a score as well. Big Ben averaged over 21 fantasy points per game but the loss of Emmanuel Sanders may hurt a little bit. Markus Wheaton will have to step up in 2014 in order for Big Ben to repeat his numbers.

Le'Veon Bell- The second year back dazzled in his rookie season. He missed the first few weeks of the season with a lower body injury and still managed to compile 860 rushing yards and 408 receiving yards with a total of eight touchdowns. He also averaged more than 13 fantasy points per game and should have even better numbers in his second season. Bell will have no problems finishing 2014 as a top fantasy back.

LeGarrette Blount- Coming over from New England, Blount resurrected his career rushing for 772 yards and seven scores. He really came on strong at the end of the season when the Patriots decided to become a run heavy offense but fantasy owners shouldn't get too excited for Blount in 2014. His 7.7 fantasy points per game should not be expected to be duplicated with the Steelers with Le'Veon Bell as the every down back.

Dri Archer- Fantasy owners shouldn't expect too many touches from the rookie out of Kent St as long as Le'Veon Bell stays healthy. Archer's numbers in college were impressive as he rushed for 2,342 yards and 24 touchdowns and added 1,194 yards on 99 receptions and 12 touchdowns.  As impressive as those numbers may be, it will take an injury to Le'Veon Bell for Archer to become any type of fantasy relevant in 2014.

Antonio Brown- Fantasy owners always knew the talent was there and the numbers were never a question. With Mike Wallace out of town, Brown was expected to take over as the number one receiver for Big Ben and did he ever. Brown amassed a whopping 110 receptions for almost 1,500 yards and eight touchdowns. Fantasy owners will be snatching Brown up in drafts much earlier than they did last season seeing how Antonio Brown will probably finish 2014 with equal or better numbers. He should also have no problems averaging over 12 fantasy points per game again either seeing how he saw 165 targets in 2013.

Markus Wheaton
- With Emmanuel Sanders in Denver, fantasy owners are expecting Markus Wheaton to step up and take his place. While Wheaton only received 13 targets in 2013 and averaged just over one fantasy point per game, fantasy owners should expect an increased role for Wheaton this year which should lead to increased production. Wheaton may be the perfect late round draft pick.

Lance Moore
- Last season with the Saints, Lance Moore averaged just over four fantasy points per game and probably won't be much of a factor in Pittsburgh in 2014.

Darrius Heyward-Bey
- In 2013 with the Colts, DHB once again underwhelmed fantasy owners with his three fantasy points per game. At this point, DHB is a fantasy bust and probably won't crack fantasy rosters unless it's a deep roster or 16 team league.

Heath Miller- Heath Miller was once again a useful fantasy tight end in 2013. He finished 2013 with 58 catches for almost 600 yards and a touchdown. Big Ben often looks for Miller in the end zone and he should be a viable fantasy option again heading into 2014.

D/ST- Once thought of as a top fantasy defense, the Steelers defense has fallen quite a bit in the last couple of years. With Troy Polamalu unable to stay healthy and an aging defense all around, the Steelers defense isn't what it used to be in fantasy circles and won't be a top defense in 2014 either.