2021 Fantasy Football Pittsburgh Steelers Preview

by Michael Tomlin
2021 Fantasy Football Pittsburgh Steelers Preview

Of all the team previews, the 2021 Fantasy Football Pittsburgh Steelers preview has some of the most firepower. The Steelers already had one of the most dynamic trios at wide receiver then they went and drafted a running back in the first round and a tight end in Round Two.

You will see in this 2021 Fantasy Football Pittsburgh Steelers preview that the Steelers are going all-in on offense in Ben Roethlisberger’s waning years. They have completely loaded him up with every weapon possible. However, will his arm/body be up to the task?

Matt Canada gets promoted from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator. He is known for using a ton of motion and presnap adjustments. Can this help the Steelers' receivers get better matchups?

All of the information in the 2021 Fantasy Football Pittsburgh Steelers preview is up to date as of June 7th.

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2021 Fantasy Football Pittsburgh Steelers Preview

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The 2021 Fantasy Football Pittsburgh Steelers preview might be the most important article in the series regarding backup quarterbacks. Big Ben has played 16 games just once since 2014. In that time frame, he has missed 23 total games. He has just four 16-game seasons in his 17-year career so Rudolph or Haskins will probably get some action at some point.

When he is in though, he can produce solid numbers. Roethlisberger has averaged at least 250 passing yards per game in every season since 2008. Whenever he has played at least 13 games for nearly the last decade, the Steeler has had at least 28 touchdown passes. In his last two seasons with more than two games played, Big Ben has 8,932 yards and 67 touchdowns.

I get it, he is getting old. His air yards per attempt was the lowest it had been since his third season in the league at just 6.6 yards. I counter this with the fact that he has more playmakers at his disposal than he has ever had.

The biggest factor regarding Roethlisberger is his price tag, currently going as QB18 in early drafts. For the wait-on-the-QB crowd like myself, I will gladly scoop the QB12 in Fantasy Points per game last season with one of my last picks.

Running Backs

The talk this offseason is that the Pittsburgh offensive line was bad and thus led to bad rushing numbers. I counter that it was just awful running back play. I have said for years that James Conner just was not good at football and I think the Steelers finally agreed.

Enter rookie Najee Harris into the fold. Harris put together one of the best back-to-back seasons in recent memory for a running back. He ran for 2,690 yards on almost six yards per carry, caught 70 passes, and scored FIFTY touchdowns. He averaged a touchdown about every ten touches.

Obviously, the guy is talented, hence the reason he was the first running back off the board. I just want to accentuate the fact that his talent level is exponentially better than anyone the Steelers have trotted out since LeVeon Bell. He will be a workhorse, three-down back that has Top-Five overall potential.

He is currently being drafted as RB22, but his ECR at Fantasy Pros is RB13 so expect his price tag to go nowhere but up.

Wide Receivers

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I can never remember a more confusing wide receiver room of all legit Fantasy Football prospects. As I highlighted in my Blind Resumes article, the top trio here is like triplets with different skillsets and roles within the offense.

Last season, Johnson led the team in targets and yards, JuJu led them in catches, while Claypool led them in total touchdowns as well as yards per catch. In half-PPR scoring, they finished 18th, 19th, and 23rd at the position…. But in Non- or Full-PPR, the order changes two other ways.

But what do we make of the group going forward? Right now, Johnson is being drafted as WR21, Claypool as WR27, and Smith-Schuster as WR29. How crazy is it that at this time last year JuJu was seen as a Top-5 Dynasty Fantasy Football wide receiver, and is now the third-best receiver on his own team?

With that said, I do agree that Diontae Johnson is the clear lead target. The guy got 144 targets and missed a game. His targets per game were fifth among all wide receivers.

I also think all three are appropriately priced overall. Johnson will be more consistent while the other two will fade in and out. You don’t want Claypool or JuJu as your WR2, but I would not mind them as my WR3.

Tight Ends

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The Steelers drafting a tight end was a bit surprising to me, at least that high. Ebron was not terrible last year with 56 catches, 558 yards, and five touchdowns. He finished as TE15, but if he would have caught one more touchdown, he would have been TE10 in half-PPR scoring.

Nevertheless, the Steelers added Freiermuth from Penn State. Freiermuth is a bit of a project. His blocking needs work but his receiving numbers do not blow you away either. However, he does have massive potential.

Knowing how much even the best rookie tight ends struggle that first season, I am not looking to roster Freiermuth anywhere except deep, dynasty formats. With so many mouths to feed Eric Ebron is not too appealing in any format.

Final Verdict

If Ben Roethlisberger is active and healthy, this offense will easily produce five legit Fantasy Football starters for teams. When he is inactive, the receivers will take massive hits to their production and Najee Harris will see a ton of crowded boxes.

I do think that this is factored into their current ADP though. The receivers are all being drafted as back-end WR2’s or WR3’s, so you are not using massive draft capital to acquire them.

The biggest takeaway from the Steelers is Najee Harris. I think he ends up going at the Round 1/2 turn in most 12-team drafts, which is right where I would take him.

That’s it for the 2021 Fantasy Football Pittsburgh Steelers preview! Click here for more 2021 Fantasy Football content.

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