Steelers got 99 problems (but at least AB aint one)
First of all, I would like to air-five all of the Pittsburgh fans out there who are still basking in the glory of the dumpster fire which is Antonio Brown.
And if you aren’t a Pittsburgh fan but are simply a decent human being, you get an air-five as well.
Although that drama is one less thing to worry about, the Steelers and fantasy owners do have many more problems to solve. With the news of Ben Roethlisberger being done for the season after an elbow injury took him out of the first half verses the Seattle Seahawks, it's time to figure out how Mason Rudolph will affect the Pittsburgh Steelers players you may have on your fantasy team.
Let me start out by warning you that this article is not sexy. There are not really any fun predictions or theories because we only have two quarters worth of information. I have broken down the game statistics for each relevant receiver.
Total targets: 4
Targets from Rudolph: 2
Completions from Rudolph: 1
These stats do not give us much help. The one completion Connor did have from Rudolph was for -4 yards. This does not look great. However, James Connor is obviously a great running back. He had one rushing touchdown in the first half. And we need to take into consideration that all units of the Steelers were more than likely out of sync with Rudolph in the game. Things can only look up from here. James Connor is still a must start.
Total Targets: 8
Targets from Rudolph: 6
Completions from Rudolph: 3
Although there has been a lot of talk about how Smith-Schuster's production will go down, I was watching this game and it honestly felt like he was having more success with Rudolph at quarterback. His receptions looked cleaner and he seemed to have a lot more action. Also remember that those 6 of 8 targets that came from Rudolph were only in one half of the game. Since Smith-Schuster's fantasy points have been underwhelming with Roethlisberger, you can't help but wonder if Rudolph is the secret X-factor in Smith-Schuster's fantasy production.
Total Targets: 7
Targets from Rudolph: 4
Completions from Rudolph: 4
Total Touchdowns: 2
Touchdowns from Rudolph: 2
Vance McDonald may be the fantasy player who benefits the most from Rudolph. That was quickly revealed as McDonald hauled in 4 of 4 targets with 2 touchdowns in just one half. Like with most inexperienced quarterbacks, tight ends tend to be the safest and most comfortable players to target. But McDonald is not your average tight end. If you take that factor and add in McDonald's experience and pure beast mode, he can easily be Rudolph's guy along with a very productive fantasy football starter.
Total Targets: 3
Targets from Rudolph: 1
Completions from Rudolph: 1
Yes, these numbers are underwhelming to say the least. And yes, James Washington has been irrelevant in fantasy football. The only reason he is included in this article is because Rudolph and Washington played together in college and were a force. During their four years together at Oklahoma State, the two connected on 206 receptions, 35 touchdowns and 4,188 yards. Although everyone has been waiting for Washington to rise to his potential and he has yet to succeed, these college stats give him intriguing upside with Rudolph as the starting quarterback.
Again, please keep in mind that this is all based off of one half of a game. It is hard to tell what will happen. But this isn’t your typical Landry Jones situation. Hopefully this gives you enough perspective to not immediately give up on your Pittsburgh fantasy players and see what kind of chemistry can unfold.