Last year looked to be the year for the Pittsburgh Steelers to make one final push for the ring with Ben Roethlisberger at the helm, but they ended up falling short in the Wild Card Round. Well, Big Ben decided to forego retirement another year and try one more time. Unfortunately, not everyone on the team got the memo as their once stout offensive line has just about all left either via free agency, cuts, or retirement. Outside of the offensive line and losing one of their star LBs, Bud Dupree, in free agency, the team is returning a lot of their key players on offense and defense.
Instead of heavily addressing the offensive line early in the NFL Draft, they elect to get their star RB that they have desperately missed in recent years with Najee Harris. The Steelers followed that by picking up a TE in Pat Freirmuth. They finally take back-to-back offensive linemen in the 3rd and 4th round in an extremely deep offensive line class but ignore it the rest of the way. The defense looks to be just as good as 2020, but it’ll be the offensive line that will be key in dictating the team’s performance in 2021. Will they be able to keep Ben upright and create space for Najee Harris? Or will we be back to the dink and dunk offense because Ben doesn’t have time to do any more than that?
2021 Fantasy Preview Pittsburgh Steelers- Projected Depth Chart
- Najee Harris: The first RB off the board in the 2021 NFL Draft. Everyone is projecting Najee for a ton of volume this upcoming season, and rightfully so. He is uber-talented and athletic and will demand the volume this upcoming season. With the question marks surrounding the offensive line, it’s hard to tell how efficient he’ll be with that volume, but he can be an RB1 this season with that workload and his talent alone.
- Ben Roethlisberger: Big Ben threw the third-most pass attempts in the league last year but was 16th in yards per game. They ran a dink and dunk offensive scheme and heavily relied on their WRs to make plays, especially towards the end of the season. With a new Offensive Coordinator coming through, most expect that to change. Roethlisberger can still be a low-end QB1/high-end QB2 for fantasy teams because he will most likely still get a good amount of passing volume and has great weapons in JuJu, Claypool, and Diontae. The offensive line is still a question mark here and a lot depends on whether they can keep him upright since this isn’t the same spry Ben Roethlisberger as before.
- JuJu Smith-Schuster: JuJu was on a great pace to start his career in 2017 and 2018, developing very nicely as a very young player. He has had unfortunately disappointing seasons the previous 2 years but was still fantasy relevant in 2020. With more competition for targets than he’s ever had in his young career (Claypool, Johnson, Freiermuth, Ebron), a mid-tier WR2 with a high-end WR2 ceiling is about the best fantasy managers can hope for. He signed a surprisingly cheap 1-year deal, so he could be looking at a much more open situation next year. Someone to keep an eye on in dynasty as an investment now could be cheaper than this