There have been plenty of things to worry about in fantasy football this season, but the Steelers aren’t one of them.
Aside from Michael Vick’s failed cameo in place of starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers’ offense largely has been humming along, ranking seventh in the league in yards per game. Even with Roethlisberger (foot) likely out for the second time this season, that doesn’t figure to change.
Landry Jones would fill in for Big Ben. He has one full game under his belt (he took over after Vick went down in Week 6), and though his numbers didn’t stand out, he didn’t adversely affect the passing game the way Vick did.
In that Week 7 game against the Chiefs, Jones threw for 209 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions and a fumble. But wide receiver Antonio Brown caught six passes for 124 yards, equating to 12 points. It snapped a three-game run of single-digit scoring, the first two of which came with Vick at the helm for their entirety.
The running game hasn’t been affected at all by the turnover at quarterback. In Vick’s two complete games, Le’Veon Bell rushed for more than 100 yards and a touchdown in each game. Bell also had a 100-yard outing in Jones’ full game.
And with the way DeAngelo Williams is running — 90 carries, 480 yards, 5.3-yard average, five touchdowns — he doesn’t figure to be affected by Jones, either. With Bell out for the season, Williams plugs right in as a top-10 running back the rest of the way, though he’ll sit out practice Wednesday as a precaution with swelling in his foot.
This week, the Steelers face the Browns, whose defense ranks 29th in yards allowed. Expect a heavy dose of the running game to take pressure off Jones, but don’t expect Jones to be handcuffed in the passing game. Brown and fellow receiver Martavis Bryant are too talented to be neglected.
Fortunately, Roethlisberger is expected to miss only one to two weeks, and the Steelers are on a bye after facing the Browns. The schedule gets much tougher when they return, with three of their next four games against defenses ranked in the top 12 overall (at Seahawks, at Bengals, vs. Broncos). But with the way this team has been going, matchups mean little. Start your Steelers with confidence.
Beyond the box score
– Bills backup running back Karlos Williams returned from a concussion Sunday and scored two touchdowns, giving him six in his five games. He has outscored starter LeSean McCoy 73-67. Williams is one of the stronger flex plays you’ll find.
– Owners of Saints running back Mark Ingram can take solace in his nine-point outing Sunday. He out-touched C.J. Spiller 26-3 and out-snapped him 67-6. It appears the backfield belongs to Ingram.
– Dolphins running back
Lamar Miller appears to have a new handcuff. Rookie Jay Ajayi played only seven offensive snaps Sunday, but Jonas Gray played none. Ajayi rushed five times for 41 yards.
RB LeGarrette Blount, Patriots : While everyone debates whether Brandon Bolden or James White becomes more prominent with Dion Lewis out for the season, Blount is pushing his way toward top-10 status going forward.
WR Dorial Green-Beckham, Titans: He’s coming off a season-best performance with five catches for 77 yards on 10 targets, and he’ll face the Jaguars in two of the next four weeks.
RB Eddie Lacy, Packers: He’s no longer a top-10 running back going forward. Injury has followed ineffectiveness, and that’s too bad with the Lions’ third-worst run defense on tap.
WR Donte Moncrief, Colts: After a strong start to the season, he’s being passed by Griff Whalen, who had 10 catches in the last two games to Moncrief’s five.
Follow me on Twitter @JeffreyA22.