For Big Ben at least, there actually doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to how the quality of his receivers interacts with his RANY/A performance. In the last 2 seasons alone, he’s been of pretty equal effectiveness working with both good and mediocre receiving groups, and he’s also had below-average seasons in the past despite really good receiving corps (2008 particularly stands out in this regard). So between that and the uncertainty over what the future peak TRY will actually be for the young receivers Pittsburgh must rely on, it’s tough to definitively predict a receiving-talent-related dip in Roethlisberger’s passing efficiency in 2013.
In fact, it’s safe to say the Steelers’ offensive fortunes in 2013 ride more on Big Ben simply staying upright and healthy all season than any decline in the quality of the players catching his passes. With a re-tooled offensive line and more experience in Todd Haley’s system, Pittsburgh hopes they won’t have to endure a repeat of last season, when a Roethlisberger injury forced them to give 21 percent of their dropbacks to Charlie Batchand Byron Leftwich (who oversaw an atrocious -2.0 RANY/A passing attack when they were under center). Given that the backup situation (Bruce Gradkowski; Landry Jones) isn’t exactly inspiring in 2013, the biggest key to the Steelers’ season will be to keep Roethlisberger in the lineup — no matter what group of receivers he’s throwing to.
Since joining the RotoViz staff a few months ago, a few NFL teams have stood out to me in terms of having players I want to draft. Pittsburgh, or “Arbitrage City” as I like to call it, is one of these teams. As noted in the Football Perspective article written by Neil Paine, Roethlisberger will probably maintain a lot of his production even with the loss of Mike Wallace. In his RotoViz piece, Shawn Siegele calls Roethlisberger a “stealth star.” In my mind, Roethlisberger satisfies both your LRQB and your QB by committee needs. At wide receiver, our staff believes that opportunity is knocking for the new WR1 for the Steelers, Antonio Brown. With the progress of Heath Miller’s ACL recovery, he is definitely an underrated asset that may win you some late season games in your league as your starting TE. Speaking of injuries, don’t forget about Le’Veon Bell, who Davis Mattek says wants you to win your fantasy league. Even though he’ll be out a few weeks, he’s probably worth a bench spot based on his upside. And let’s not sleep on rookie WR Markus Wheaton, who has serious value in dynasty leagues as shown by our RotoViz staff. The amazing thing about pretty much every fantasy-related player on the Pittsburgh Steelers is that they present a ton of arbitrage value. With their low ADPs, you can obtain them in later rounds of your draft for very cheap costs instead of drafting trap-guys. Make sure to check out the profiles on the various Pittsburgh players to see where they fit in your draft plan. And if you don’t have a draft plan, make sure to check out the Snake-Draft Planner App on RotoViz.