Pittsburgh Steelers July Scouting Report
The Steelers had their first padded practice at training camp in Latrobe on Sunday July 28th. The preseason opener is at home against the Buccaneers on Friday August 9th. The regular season kicks of on Sunday night September 8th in a tough prime time matchup against the Patriots in Foxboro.
Not much is going on with the Steelers in late July. No injuries yet, knock on wood. Not as much buzz as in recent seasons with the Browns and too a somewhat lesser extent the Ravens getting most of the press in the AFC North. Most consider the Steelers a borderline playoff, perhaps 9 or 10 win team. With WR Antonio Brown and RB LeVeon Bell gone both the drama and fantasy prospects of the offensive skill position players is lower than in the recent past.
QB: The battle at quarterback is for the backup job behind QB Ben Roethlisberger. The hope is that QB Mason Rudolph can take a step forward. QB Josh Dobbs is unlikely to lose his roster spot in any case. The Steelers almost always keep three quarterbacks.
RB: Barring injury camp and the preseason from a fantasy perspective is about seeing whether RB Jaylen Samuels or RB Benny Snell is the proper handcuff for RB James Conner. The versatile Conner is a solid mid-to-late first round fantasy pick in an offense with a coaching staff that clearly prefers a single feature back. One interesting early camp revelation is the pass protection ability of Snell. He could get unexpected playing time in passing situations.
WR/TE: The unquestioned top target for Roethlisberger will be last year's team MVP WR JuJu Smith-Schuster. He is a solid top fantasy wideout, late second or early third round pick. So far in the early going veteran WR Donte Moncrief seems to have a leg up on rookie WR Dointea Johnson and second year WR James Washington. How each performs in camp and the preseason is something to watch. The free agent defection of TE Jess James enhances the fantasy status of TE Vance McDonald. There isn't much depth at tight end.
K: Can PK Chris Boswell rebound from last year's awful performance? No matter how he performs in preseason there is no reason for a fantasy team to gamble on him. Find another kicker. Should Boswell perform like he did in '16 and '17 there should be plenty of chances to pick him up.
ST/DEF: The key to the defense is first round pick ILB Devin Bush. His presence in the middle would make everyone better. So far in the early going he has been as good as advertised. The key for eveyone else is health. Especially aging CB Joe Haden.
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Sunday, September 13th, 2020
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