Week 13 of the 2012 NFL season looks like a straight-up disaster with regards to the relevancy of Pittsburgh Steelers players to the fortunes of millions of fantasy football players.
There are, obviously, two pretty major red flags that stand-out against Steelers players that are limiting their attractiveness as fantasy football options.
Red Flag #1: Ben’s Status is in Doubt
Ben Roethlisberger has a chance of coming back from injury this week and playing against the Ravens. But there’s always a chance Ben will suit up. He is as indestructible as quarterbacks get so you can never count him out.
However, Roethlisberger doesn’t sound like a guy who is going to be competing in the NFL this week. A more realistic scenario for the Steelers in Week 13 is more Charlie Batch distributing the ball. That’s bad news for fantasy football players with Steelers pass-catchers on their roster. Batch is a hundred years old. His passer rating last week against Cleveland was 38.7. It’s hard to imagine a drastic improvement coming in Week 13 against the Ravens.
The woeful absence of Roethlisberger has troubled owners of Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace and Heath Miller each of whom have seen a 25% of more drop in expected fantasy output with the non-lethal tandem of Byron Leftwich and Batch taking snaps.
Red Flag #2: Game is at Baltimore
Just to kick Steelers fans while they’re down, not only will they likely have to deal with Charlie Batch at quarterback this week, but the game is being played in the stadium of Pittsburgh’s biggest rivals. This amounts to even more dreadful news for Pittsburgh Steelers fantasy football players. The Ravens might be aging and injury-battered. Indeed, they are ranked in the bottom half of most team defense statistical categories in the 2012 season. But there’s no game on the schedule Ravens defenders hope to show up for than the home game against Pittsburgh. You’d be wrong to think they’ll be in any way a soft match-up for Steelers fantasy players in Week 13.
The Silver Lining
In need of a flex option for your Week 13 NFL fantasy games? The Steelers have one hero to offer up: running back Jonathan Dwyer. Mike Tomlin cleared up any confusion regarding the Steelers backfield this week in naming Dwyer his starter. Dwyer’s fantasy value is by no means immense for Week 13, but he should be a decent flex option for most fantasy leagues and could be available to pick up as a free agent in your league.
Look for Dwyer to generate around nine fantasy points in PPR leagues or around seven in non-PPR leagues. It’d be unrealistic to expect Dwyer to be a tremendously productive, but he’s a fine flex option for fantasy owners in need of a plugging a quick hole en route to the playoffs of their league.
What to Really Hope For
At the end of the day, fantasy players need Ben Roethlisberger on the field in order for Steelers players to have any relevancy in their leagues. Bench Mike Wallace. Bench Antonio Brown. Bench Heath Miller. There are better options in your league if Charlie Batch is playing quarterback for the Steelers.
However, keep an eye on the Roethlisberger situation. His presence on the field Sunday would be a boon to the fortunes of not only the Steelers chances of pulling off a surprise win in Baltimore, but also for fantasy football players hoping to see the value of their Steelers pass-catchers restored to its proper level.