Note: all points are calculated with PPR scoring
Team Reception Breakdown
Ben Roethlisberger: 298.8 total, 18.7 ppg (390/600 passing, 4800 yards, 33 TD, 13 INT; 28 yards rushing, 0 TD, 1 fumbles lost)
With Todd Haley out, Big Ben should have a little more freedom to have a say in this offense. Whether or not you consider Ben elite, there’s no question that he’s among the better QB’s out there right now; if he wants to call an audible, I’d trust his judgement. A happier and more comfortable Ben should result in a bit better efficiency and probably higher volume too. Aiding his cause is the rise of Juju Smith-Schuster and the addition of rookie James Washington. Ben is set up for career numbers across the board. Even without much in the way of running ability, he’s a safe QB1 who could sneak his way into top 5.
Le’Veon Bell: 374.9 total, 23.4 ppg (350 carries, 1470 yards, 10 TD, 2 fumbles lost; 85 Rec, 689 yards, 3 TD)
Just like last year, Bell appears intent on holding out until the last possible second. As a result, I would expect a similar slow start as he re-acclimates to the offense. However, once he does expect Pittsburgh to run him into the ground. Bell is not happy with his contract situation and the Steelers probably won’t use the franchise tag a third time. There’s a very high probability that this is Bell’s last season in Pittsburgh, so why not use Bell for all he’s worth? The volume should easily keep Bell in elite RB1 range. He should be a top 3 pick in all formats.
Antonio Brown: 325.5 total, 20.3 ppg (105 Rec, 1565 yards, 11 TD, 1 fumble lost)
Juju Smith-Schuster: 195.6 total, 12.2 ppg (60 Rec, 876 yards, 8 TD, 0 fumbles lost)
James Washington: 105.5 total, 6.6 ppg (35 Rec, 525 yards, 3 TD, 0 fumbles lost)
Antonio Brown isn’t necessarily the surefire WR1 overall this year, but that’s more due to the rise of DeAndre Hopkins than it is any fault of Brown’s. He will more than likely be one of the top 2 wide receivers this year and will be a first round draft pick in all formats. Juju and Washington are more interesting in terms of analysis. Juju looked primed for a WR1/2 season of his own after the departure of Martavis Bryant, but then Pittsburgh went and drafted James Washington. Washington has come as advertised, which will almost certainly take some looks away from Juju. Nevertheless, Juju is still the second receiver in one of the league’s most potent offenses. His floor is WR3 numbers, but he could easily find himself in the middle of the WR2 group. Washington likely isn’t fantasy relevant, but he could have himself the occasional boom week on a long touchdown catch.
Vance McDonald: 152.9 total, 9.6 ppg (55 Rec, 759 yards, 4 TD, 1 fumble lost)
The tight end position has been neglected in Pittsburgh since Heath Miller retired. McDonald could be the one to change that…if he can ever stay healthy. He’s an explosive playmaker when on the field, but he’s struggled to stay on the field throughout his career. The fact that he is currently nursing a foot injury is not encouraging. Jesse James would be the beneficiary of any missed time by McDonald. James isn’t much of an athlete, but he does have a reliable set of hands. McDonald is a good second TE if you’re looking for possible sleepers. If McDonald is injured, James is only really useful as a bye week fill-in.