Fanelli’s Fantasy Files: Pittsburgh Steelers Bold Fantasy Predictionsby Mike Fanelli July 24, 2021 0 comments
While the 2021 NFL season is still months away, it is never too early to prepare for the fantasy season. Whether it’s research, mock drafts, or going with your gut, everyone has a way to prepare for their fantasy drafts. However, this isn’t another article to help you prepare for the fantasy season. Today, I am going to give three bold fantasy predictions for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2021.
All stats are base on PPR scoring.
Be sure to check out all of Fanelli’s Fantasy Predictions.
Ben Roethlisberger Finishes as a Top-15 Quarterback
Coming off major elbow surgery, many had concerns about Roethlisberger entering the 2020 season. However, despite a career-low of 6.3 yards per pass attempt, Roethlisberger averaged 17.8 fantasy points per game, finishing as the QB14. Furthermore, Roethlisberger finished less than 14 fantasy points behind Matt Ryan for the QB12 finish. Despite another year removed from elbow surgery and his trio of excellent receivers, Roethlisberger is undervalued. According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Roethlisberger is getting drafted later than quarterbacks like Tua Tagovailoa and Jameis Winston on average. The addition of Najee Harris will cut back on the number of pass plays the Steelers call this season. However, Roethlisberger should still average enough pass attempts per game to still finish in the top-15.
Najee Harris Finishes Outside the Top-12 Running Backs
When the Steelers used their first-round pick on Harris, many immediately put him in their top-12 running backs. While Harris should see plenty of volume this season, several other factors make him a risky pick. Last year, the Steelers had one of the worse units in the NFL. To make matters worse, the Steelers will have at least four new starters this season. On top of that, until Roethlisberger proves he can throw downfield, defenses will stack the box. Lastly, the Steelers have three talented wide receivers, who all saw over 100 targets last season. Then, the Steelers used a second-round pick on tight end Pat Freiermuth. Unless Harris is super efficient with his rushing attempts, there are too many obstacles keeping him from finishing as a top-12 running back.
Diontae Johnson Finishes as a Top-12 Wide Receiver
Despite missing a game and leaving several others, Johnson led the team with 144 targets. Furthermore, his 144 targets finished eighth in the league. Yet, even with the high number of targets, Johnson caught only 61 percent of his targets and averaged 14.8 fantasy points per game, finishing as the WR21. However, removing the three games Johnson played under 50 percent of the snaps last season, he averaged 17.7 fantasy points per game. On a points per game basis, Johnson’s 17.7 fantasy points per game would have finished as the WR6. Furthermore, while Johnson is not the same level of talent Davante Adams is, both players struggled with drops in their second year in the league.
In 2015, Adams’ second year in the league, he dropped 12 of his 94 targets (13 percent). By comparison, Johnson dropped 16 of his 144 targets last season (11 percent). Then, in 2016, Adams broke out. That year, Adams averaged 15.4 fantasy points per game and finished as the WR9. Despite leading the league in drops, Johnson put up top-12 numbers when healthy and on the field. Much like Adams, expect Johnson to put the drops behind him and have that breakout third season and turn into a superstar wide receiver.
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