Pittsburgh Steelers NFL Draft Fantasy Preview
Lining Up a Replacement For Le'Veon Bell?
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It was business as usual for the Steelers in 2017. They again came away with a division title, the offense performed as usual and the young players on defense started to show a little promise. The top three players on this offense - Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown - all found themselves finishing the season as top options at their respective positions.
Roethlisberger is one of the names in Fantasy that shines on your draft board, but it rarely feels good making that selection. Yet, he always seems to put forth quality numbers by years’ end. Granted, he often scores in bunches, but he is still a QB worth targeting if you like to wait on drafting a QB. Out wide, you know what you are getting with Brown, a top-tier receiver that is one of the most consistent points scorers in all of Fantasy. With the development of JuJu Smith-Schuster, the Steelers have a reliable second option to Brown and could let the oft-disappointing Martavis Bryant walk after the 2018 season. Smith-Schuster has found himself in the conversation as a low-end WR2/high-end WR3 in Fantasy drafts for the upcoming season.
The Bell situation continues to be one to monitor yet again this season. He was franchise-tagged for the 2018 season in hopes to get a long-term deal done, but the team seems to keep putting off talks giving the impression that they may look to go in another direction next year. Bell has said that he will honor the tag and play through it if need be, but he did sit out most of training camp last year. It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on because his slow start after missing camp was an issue for Fantasy owners early on in 2017. Nonetheless, he will remain a Top 3 pick regardless of the format this season.
Looking ahead to the draft, the Steelers are in the enviable position where they are looking to find depth and playmakers at certain spots. With the injury to Ryan Shazier, the team will obviously find a linebacker to add to the mix. Outside of that, focus on the secondary will be an option as well as the addition of a running back behind Bell … just in case.
Team Needs: LB, S, RB
Projected Top Three Picks
First Round: Derrius Guice, RB LSU
Second Round: Arden Key, EDGE LSU
Third Round: DeShon Elliott, S Texas
Call it a hunch, but I have had a feeling from the beginning of this process that the Steelers would take a shot on Derrius Guice at the end of the first round. With the contract situation with Bell being a sure distraction, the team may look to find his replacement. Guice, and his hard-nosed running style, could be just what the Steelers want. His combination of speed, power and balance fits in very well with how the Steelers offense is operated. Just like Bell, he runs with patience as he waits for his blocks to develop then hits the hole with a pop. His often-overlooked ability to catch the ball will give him added value in PPR formats as a pro, as well. If this pick comes through, Guice will be more of a handcuff to Bell in re-draft leagues for 2018, but in Dynasty/Keeper formats, Guice could be a player that turns your team into a contender rather quickly.
The next two selections will be key additions to the Steelers defense. Arden Key gives the team a quality pass rusher as an outside linebacker in this 3-4 scheme. Key uses his length to his advantage to get around blocks and into the backfield. He will offer little to no value in IDP formats as he will be a situational player for this team in his rookie season.
DeShon Elliott’s size and physicality will fit in seamlessly in this Steelers defense. Elliott is always looking for the big hit, which can sometimes get him out of position. Elliott also has a nose for the ball with nine career interceptions in 26 games. If the play is right in front of him, he can diagnose it rather quickly, but coverage is not Elliott’s strong-suit. If Elliott can garner a starting spot on this defense early in the season, he could be a player worth adding in IDP formats later in 2018.
Derrius Guice Featured Image: (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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