Pittsburgh Steelers Team Profile 2016

Pittsburgh Steelers Team Profile 2016 by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

Mike Tomlin became the Pittsburgh Steelers head coach on January 22, 2007, which will make 2016 his 10th year. Tomlin has never had a losing season with Pittsburgh. Despite key players suffering serious injuries, the Steelers had another winning season in 2015, with a 10-6 record. It wasn’t enough to top Cincinnati, who won the division with an even better record of 12-4.

2016 Team Outlook – Over the past 10 years, Baltimore has won the AFC North Division 3 times, Cincinnati has won it 3 times and Pittsburgh 4 times. The team not mentioned here is Cleveland. It’s been 29 years since the Browns won an NFL Division title ( 1989- and it was the AFC Central then.) Pittsburgh and Cincinnati have been taking turns winning the division since 2013…so with the Bengal’s title in 2015, the edge goes to Pittsburgh in 2016.

2016 Fantasy Football Outlook-

QB– The Steelers got into trouble in 2015, then same way the Dallas Cowboys did. When their star quarterback went down, there wasn’t a strong back up quarterback on the roster that could carry the team. Ben Roethlisberger only played in 12 games last season, and only 13 in 2012. He’s a big quarterback who often takes big hits. He has been increasingly prone to injury, but when healthy, Big Ben is a top 5 QB in the NFL.

RBs– For some fantasy football owners, Le’Veon Bell’s two game suspension was a blessing in disguise. (reduced by the NFL from a three-game suspension for being a first-time offender of league policy) Many avoided selecting LeVeon Bell in fantasy football drafts because of the suspension, and unfortunately for Bell, he suffered a season-ending torn MCL in the game vs Bengals. In Week 9, RB DeAngelo Williams became the #1 Waiver Wire pick up. –Week 9 Waiver Wire– ( (While Bell was on suspension Weeks 1 & 2, Williams proved he could fill in with 224 total yards and 3 TDs) Williams ended 2015 as the #4 RB in the NFL, and will return as Bell’s back up in 2016. ( On Mar. 1 st , 2016, LeVeon Bell had been cleared to begin running.)

WRs– Antonio Brown was drafted by the Steelers in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. 21 wide receivers were selected in that draft, before Antonio Brown was selected by the Steelers with the 195th overall in the 6th round. 3 wide outs from the Pittsburgh Steelers ranked in the top 40 in 2015. Brown was #1, Martavis Bryant ranked #32 and Markus Wheaton was #40. (Antonio Brown was the #1 WR in 2014 as well) UPDATE: NFL suspended Steelers WR Martavis Bryant a minimum of one year for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.

TEs– Heath Miller, who QB Ben Roethlisberger has called the best tight end in the NFL, has called it quits after 11 years in the NFL. On February 19, 2016, Miller announced his retirement from football and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Jesse James, drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL Draft, will likely be the starting tight end for Pittsburgh Week 1, 2016. UPDATE: Steelers sign former Charger TE Ladarius Green

K– Shaun Suisham missed all of 2015 with a torn ACL. Suisham was replaced by Chris Boswell, who did well for Pittsburgh, converting 29-of-32 field goal attempts. His 90.6% field goal percentage was 7th best in the NFL. Both Suisham and Boswell will compete for the position in 2016.

DEF– In 2015, it was a whole lot easier to pass against Pittsburgh, than it was to run against them. Pittsburgh’s 2015 group of corners has one of the weakest in the NFL, and now depleted due to CB William Gay, CB Antwon Blake, and CB Brandon Boykin all free agents. The Steelers were 5th vs the run, and held teams to under 95 yards rushing on average per game.

2015 Pittsburgh Fantasy Surprises– If you grabbed RB DeAngelo Williams in  fantasy football drafts last fall, either as RB LeVeon Bell’s handcuff or simply as  a starter for the first 2 games of the season ( Bell was suspended) you were rewarded with the #4 running back for 2015. Williams has 1174 total yards and 11 TDs. Last year QB Roethlisberger was talking up WR Markus Wheaton as a player ready for a breakout season. Many fantasy football owners fed on this, and selected Wheaton over WR Bryant in their fantasy drafts. Bryant and Wheaton’s numbers were very close at season’s end, but Bryant played in 5 less games.

2016 Free Agents that Pittsburgh Needs to Address–  QB Bruce Gradkowski, QB Michael Vick, RB Jordan Todman, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, LT Kelvin Beachum, OG Ramon Foster, CB Brandon Boykin, NT Steve McLendon, CB William Gay, SS Will Allen, ILB Sean Spence, CB Antwon Blake, FS Robert Golden, DE Cam Thomas

2016 NFL Draft– Pittsburgh’s immediate needs are addressing most positions on defense, especially at cornerbacks and safety. The Steelers did not have a legit No. 1 corner going into 2015, and must get at least one for 2016. Protecting QB Roethlisberger starters with their O-Line and they have holes, thanks to free agency. The Steelers also need a quarterback to groom and back up Roethlisberger. PITTSBURGH’S 2015 DRAFT

Did You Know– Steelers’ fullback Rocky Bleier was drafted in 1968 and played his rookie season for the team before being drafted again, this time by the United State Government, and sent to Vietnam. After being wounded in Vietnam, Bleier had trouble even walking without pain yet came back to work his way into NFL shape and star for the Steelers through the 1980 season.

Team Home Page: www.steelers.com

All team reports can be seen at this link- TEAM REPORTS

Where Are They Now- Kordell Stewart

Where Are They Now- Kordell Stewart by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

Do not draft a quarterback early in fantasy football drafts.

The above is advice, that I adamantly scream from the mountain tops in mid August to early September, right before the start of most fantasy football drafts. Despite my fantasy warnings, Indy QB Andrew Luck was drafted in the 1st or 2nd round of every fantasy football draft that I participated in this past season. How many fantasy football owners would have liked that pick back?

In 2014, as always, I drafted my quarterbacks later in my drafts , and ended up with SD Philip Rivers and SEA Russell Wilson, the #6 and #9 quarterbacks for the 2014 season respectively. That was enough to win championships with

So when did my “Do not draft a quarterback early in fantasy football drafts” conviction begin? Two early fantasy football seasons come to mind. 1997- PITT QB Kordell Stewart and 1999 STL QB Kurt Warner. Both were quarterbacks I drafted late in fantasy drafts, and both helped me win my leagues those years

Kordell Stewart played in the NFL from 1995 to 2005. The first 8 years were spent playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Stewart then spent the 2003 season on the Chicago Bear’s roster, and finished his career in Baltimore, 2004 to 2005. Kordell’s versatility as a wide receiver/running back/quarterback in ’95 earned him the nickname of “Slash”

Prior to 1997, Stewart played for the Pittsburgh Steelers as a wide receiver, with Neil O’Donnell as the Pittsburgh quarterback. In 1997, Stewart got his chance as the Steeler’s starting quarterback, and in his first season, he led the Steelers to an 11–5 record and the AFC Championship Game ( which they ended up losing to the Denver Broncos). Stewart would end the 1997 NFL season as the #13 ranked quarterback. With his 11 rushing touchdowns that year, to go with his 21 passing touchdowns, only QB Brett Favre (35) would end with more touchdowns than Stewart’s (32). Stewart would add 476 rushing yards, to his 3020 passing yards in 1997.

A Fantasy football Gem. Twice in 1997, Stewart had 5 touchdowns in a game. The first time he did it was in Week 5 at Baltimore. 324 total yards, 3 passing touchdowns and 2 rushing. Stewart did it again in Week 14 vs Denver. This time he had 352 total yards, 3 passing touchdowns and 2 rushing. In 1997, Stewart had at least one rushing touchdown in 8 of his 16 games played

Kordell Stewart unfortunately wasn’t able to duplicate the magic of his 1997 season. Stewart and the Steelers offense struggled in 1998 and 1999 and failed to make the playoffs in both seasons. The incredibly gifted athlete never passed for more than 11 TDs in a season after that. Still, that 1997 was a memorable one for Kordell and fantasy football owners such as myself. Thanks for amazing NFL highlights, Slash! You were SO fun to watch!

In an interview on the WCNN “680 The Fan”, in April, 2008, Stewart expressed interest in returning to the NFL. Stewart had been working out at his home, to attempt a comeback during following pre-season. He later was put into “free agency” but was never selected by a team. Even though he hadn’t attempted a pass in nearly nine years, Stewart only officially retired from the NFL on May 30, 2012

Since leaving football, Stewart has made guest appearances on the TV shows Deal or No Deal and Pros vs Joes

He appeared in January 2009 as an analyst on ESPN’s College Football Live, and then later appeared again in July during the show’s “50 States Tour” for the show’s episode regarding Colorado athletics.

Stewart was also a sideline reporter for the United Football League and is currently an analyst on various ESPN shows such as NFL Live, NFL 32, Take 2, and Mike and Mike in the Morning

Stewart met Porsha Williams, star of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta, and granddaughter of civil rights leader Hosea Williams, at downtown Atlanta’s Luckie Lounge. On May 21, 2011, they married in a lavish ceremony that was featured on: WE TV’s Platinum Weddings”. Stewart filed for divorce from Williams on March 22, 2013, on the grounds that the marriage was irretrievably broken

Stewart has a son named Syre, with ex-girlfriend Tania Richardson

In October 2012, Stewart began his current position as an afternoon drive radio sports talk show co-host with Atlanta’s WZGC “92.9 The Game”.

Stewart is an avid golfer and had carried a nine handicap when he was an active NFL player. You can follow Kordell and his next tournament (the 2016 Diamond Resorts Invitational celebrity lineup!) on Twitter……@KSlash10

 

 

 

Team Profiles- Pittsburgh Steelers

Team Profiles- Pittsburgh Steelers by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

The Pittsburgh Steelers, the oldest franchise in the AFC, has been led by head coach Mike Tomlin since January 22, 2007. Tomlin is the first African-American to be named head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers in its 75-year history. At age 36, he was the youngest head coach to ever win the Super Bowl and in 2010, Tomlin was the only coach to reach the Super Bowl twice before the age of 40. Tomlin’s record is 76-44 and he is the first Pittsburgh coach without a losing season.

The 2014 season was known for record performances from the “killer B’s”. This trio consisted of WR Antonio Brown, QB Ben Roethlisberger and RB Le’Veon Bell.

2015 Team Outlook – The Steelers won the AFC North division in 2014, topping rivals Cincinnati, Baltimore and Cleveland. 3 of the 4 teams in this Division made it to the playoffs. The 4th, Cleveland, almost did as well (Until they decided to bench QB Hoyer and start Manziel, which ended the Browns chances because they never won again in 2014.) Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Baltimore all have such well coached, well-balanced teams that it’s anyone’s guess who will be champs of that division in 2015. (I guess I’m anybody, and my guess is that it will be Pittsburgh taking the Division once again.)

2015 Fantasy Outlook-

QB– Ben Roethlisberger is the best quarterback in the AFC North division, followed by Baltimore’s Joe Flacco. Every year in fantasy drafts, I am the guy that is willing to wait to the later rounds to get my QBs. I understand wanting QB Rodgers, Brees and Manning early, but I have to say that I am usually able to win my leagues by putting a higher priority on top RBs & WRs, then getting my Tier 2 quarterbacks in the later rounds. In 2014, I drafted Roethlisberger and later Russell Wilson in nearly every league. They ended the 2014 season as the #5 and #6 QBs in the NFL respectively. (I’ll also target Cutler, Rivers and Romo. If you are going to wait on QBs in fantasy drafts, you have to jump in and get 2 of the top 15 rated QBs or it’s too late.)
* Last season Roethlisberger recorded 4952 passing yards with 32 TDs vs 9 INTs. Only QBs Luck, Rodgers, Brees and Peyton Manning had better seasons. His receiving corps with #1 WR Antonio Brown and two young guys, Martvius Bryant and Markus Wheaton will be one the best in the NFL for 2015. Roethlisberger will help you win fantasy leagues this year.

RBs– Le’Veon Bell is really good, and Le’Veon Bell is really going to spend at least the first three games in 2015 sitting on the bench. (appeal to suspension pending ) Bell pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of marijuana on Aug. 20 2014. This suspension will make some fantasy owners pass on him in the first round, which will allow you to steal him. If you subtract three average games from his incredible 2225 total yards from scrimmage and 11 all-purpose TDs in 2014, Bell would still rank in the top 5. He’s an every down back, he’s used on the goal line and no running back in the NFL had more receiving yards last season than Bell (854). UPDATE: The NFL is taking their sweet time on Bell’s appeal and Bell confirmed that he doesn’t know when it will. The NFL should reduce Bell’s three-game suspension. He’s a first-time offender of league policy.

WRs– I pride myself on seeing player potential, finding the fantasy diamonds-in-the-rough and forecasting break out players, but have to admit that I missed the boat on Antonio Brown’s past 2 seasons. I knew that he was a great receiver and the #1 WR on a great team, but from #37 in 2012…to #7 in 2013…to #1 in 2014? WR Antonio Brown got the lion’s share of the passing game last season, pushing Pittsburgh’s #2 receiver Martavius Bryant down to ranking #43 in the NFL. Brown had 1698 and 13 TDs while Bryant had 549 yards and 8 TDs. WR Markus Wheaton ranked #59 with 644 yards and 2 TDs. Bryant and Wheaton are young WRs that were drafted in the past 2 years. I expect Antonio Brown to have another monster year for Pittsburgh, but I also expect that the passing numbers will even out more between the 3 WRs in 2015.

TEs– QB Ben Roethlisberger has referred to Heath Miller many times as the best tight end in the NFL. Statistically Jason Witten, Gronk and Graham beat Miller, but that position carries more with it than just receptions and TDs. After the 2012 season, Miller was voted MVP of the team by his teammates. In 2014, Miller had 761 yards and 3 TDs which ranked him #12 TE in the NFL. He is the only fantasy option at the position for Pittsburgh and is under contract through 2016.

K– On August 1st, 2014 K Shaun Suisham signed a three-year contract extension with the Steelers and is coming off a 30-of-32 campaign, the best of his career. He was the #7 placekicker in the league last season and he plays for a team who’s offense routinely gives him plenty of opportunities. Suisham’s 56 extra points was the most of any team in 2014.

DEF– Pittsburgh’s 5 defensive TDs was tied for tops in the NFL last season. The Steel Curtain was more like the the Lead Curtain when it came to sacking opposing quarterbacks and recording interceptions, as Pittsburgh ranked near the bottom in both categories. The Steelers were so strapped for pass rushers that they were forced to coax back 37 year old James Harrison. With defensive players heading for free agency, asking Troy Polamalu to retire, and others just not cutting it for Pittsburgh, the team has a plenty to fix between now and September. UPDATE: Troy Polamalu has retired from football. Steelers resigned James Harrison.

2014 Pittsburgh Fantasy Surprises– I knew WR Antonio Brown would be great, just not #1 WR in the NFL great. RB Le’Veon is proving to be incredibly durable considering his workload, having played in all 16 games during the 2014 season. His only missed games in 2013 were the result of a mid-foot sprain that he suffered in the 2nd week of preseason. The injury did not require surgery but he missed the first three weeks of the NFL Regular Season.

2015 Free Agents that Pittsburgh Needs to Address– RB Bet Tate (signed late December 2014)- FB Will Johnson- WR Darrius Heyward-Bey- WR Lance Moore (released)- TE Matt Spaeth (resigned)- CB Ike Taylor- CB Brice McCain

2015 NFL Draft– The immediate needs of Pittsburgh are addressing most positions on defense, and at running back. As in indicted by their fewest number of sacks in 5 years, Pittsburgh has to get some pass rushers (DE), the Steelers have two of their corners possibly leaving in free agency (CB), they need depth on their up-front rotation (DL). They also need someone not only backing up Le’Veon Bell, but someone who can start games 1-4 in 2015 if necessary (RB). UPDATE: Pittsburgh’s entire 2015 NFL Draft can be seen at this link- PITTSBURGH’S DRAFT

Did You Know– In 1962 the Pittsburgh Steelers did not have their own logo design until a company named Republic Steel (Who are located in Cleveland – the city of their most bitter rival.) suggested that they adapt the insignia called the Steelmark, used by the American Iron and Steel institute. Pittsburgh liked the idea and their logo was born. The 3 colors in the insignia represent the three materials used to produce steel: yellow for coal; orange for iron ore; and blue for steel scrap. (Prior to 1962, while other teams were already sporting teams logos, since the Steelers didn’t have theirs yet, all they could do was add the players’ numbers and a black stripe to their distinctive gold helmets.)

All team reports
can be seen at this link- TEAM REPORTS

Team Home Page: www.steelers.com