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2016 Pittsburgh Steelers Coaching Tree

Fantasy Football Expert Joe Jefferson dives into the Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive system and which players could provide value for Fantasy owners.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Offensive Coordinator:  Todd Haley (Same as 2015)

Head Coach:  Mike Tomlin (Same as 2015)

Head Coach Involvement:  Not much involvement from Tomlin because he is a defensive guy, serving as the DC in Minnesota before becoming HC here in 2007. He hired Haley (actually, I think the front office did) and he has let him call the shots. So Tomlin is out of the mix of analysis here.

Offensive Basis:  Vertical Passing game with one dominant WR and good TE use but room for another fantasy relevant WR. Power running game with Heavy Lead RB Use and Heavy RB Targets. Haley loves to get his RBs involved in the passing game.

Where the OC comes from:  Haley is from the Bill Parcells’ branch of the coaching tree. He expects his WRs to block first then go catch passes but has coached some pretty dynamic fantasy stars in Arizona (when they went to the Super Bowl in 2008 with Fitz and Boldin) and Dallas as a WR coach with Owens, Terry Glenn and Romo back in 2006. He was last HC in Kansas City in 2011 before taking over as OC here in 2012.

Steelers 2015
2015 RB Reception Total Rank: #24
2015 WR Receptions Total Rank: #2
2015 TE Receptions Total Rank: #23

2015 QB FF Rank: #16
2015 RB FF Rank: #19
2015 WR FF Rank: #1
2015 TE FF Rank: #29

Steelers 2014
2014 RB Reception Total Rank: #4
2014 WR Receptions Total Rank: #4
2014 TE Receptions Total Rank: #17

2014 QB FF Rank: #5
2014 RB FF Rank: #6
2014 WR FF Rank: #3
2014 TE FF Rank: #17

2016 Offensive Player Outlook Overall:  Ben Roethlisberger is expected to continue to be Big Ben in this system, which means a top 10 QB performance with upside. I like targeting Ben as about the sixth or seventh QB off the board even with his teammates dropping like flies around him.

Le’Veon Bell is suspended for the first three games of the year. He is an elite fantasy option in all formats when healthy and playing, and he looks healthy. Bell does it all, so I like him as a late first round option or early second round option in most leagues. I expect Deangelo Williams to fill in admirably against a tougher schedule for those first three weeks Bell is out. Williams has huge upside if Bell gets injured again as we have seen. I want Williams in about the seventh or eighth round if I own Bell or need a starter at RB for the first few weeks. Williams makes an amazing handcuff play or RB5 with elite upside. Fitzgerald Toussaint will get a few carries early with Bell out, but he should then fade as Bell comes back and remains irrelevant for fantasy purposes.

At WR, it’s Antonio Brown and everyone else. The connection that Brown and Roethlisberger have is incredible. When they are on the field together for a whole game ten catches and 100+ yards seem to be the floor most weeks. I love AB, as most people do, as the consensus No. 1 pick in most drafts. Markus Wheaton and Sammie Coates are competing for playing time opposite Brown. I view this as a split that will likely continue into the season and could divide and dilute the fantasy production here in 2016. Therefore, I’m generally not targeting the WR2 here but Wheaton is my choice, and I would expect him to be drafted several rounds before Coates in most drafts. Eli Rogers should be used in the slot, and should see some significant opportunity, but he is only a late round flier that I like for deeper leagues at this point. Someone could emerge here as I love the system but it’s too muddled to me to target anyone here for now.

Sleeper/Value Players: The TE position will be interesting this year with Heath Miller’s retirement. If Ladarius Green can get over his health issues and reported headaches, he has huge potential and should quickly become a top 10 TE. However, I suspect he is done or out at least for some time, so I’m not drafting him until I hear otherwise. Right now I do like Jesse James a lot. He has big potential now so target him late as your backup TE if you wait. If Green fades as I expect, James should step up and become a younger Heath Miller early on because they use the TE so much in this offense.


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