The Steelers have signed RB Kalen Ballage to a 1-year deal, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. Ballage lands in a backfield with plenty of opportunity currently available. We'll see, though, whether Pittsburgh adds a RB in the draft. We'd bet on the Steelers doing so, with the big question being how early. Ballage saw surprising touch volume with the Chargers last season, after injuries knocked out Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson. But he averaged only 3.3 yards per rush and 5.0 per reception. If you want to take a shot on Ballage at the very end of best-ball drafts, there's little risk. But we'd hope to see more touches go to Anthony McFarland -- who sure looks like he has a higher ceiling -- than Ballage. Even Benny Snell would probably still be a better bet for carries on the current depth chart.
Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster is resigning with the Steelers on a 1-year, $8 million deal, according to NFL Network. Smith-Schuster reportedly chose this path over similar offers from the Ravens and Chiefs that added more money via incentives. So he'll remain in Pittsburgh on a "prove it" contract for 2021. Smith-Schuster's return complicates the target picture for him, Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool. Pittsburgh was the league's 3rd most pass-heavy team in 2020, trailing only the 1-15 Jaguars. The Steelers dumped OC Randy Fichtner and turned to QBs coach Matt Canada. We'd bet on at least a bit more balance to the play-calling in 2019. Check out our 2021 fantasy football rankings to see how the return impacts our numbers for Smith-Schuster and other Steelers pass-catchers -- as well as QB Ben Roethlisberger.
Update: ESPN's Adam Schefter adds that Smith-Schuster turned down a multi-year offer from the Eagles.
The Steelers announced Thursday that they have agreed to a new contract with QB Ben Roethlisberger. That should give the team relief under the lowered salary cap for 2021. For fantasy purposes, it just confirms what we all expected: Roethlisberger will lead the offense for at least 1 more year. We'll see whether he gets JuJu Smith-Schuster back (don't bet on it) and how the backfield settles out (James Conner looks likely to leave). Roethlisberger is a solid pick in mid-QB2 range in current best-ball drafting.
The Steelers announced that QB Ben Roethlisberger will be back for the 2021 campaign. Team president Art Rooney added that they'll need to "work out Ben’s contract," which is set to pay him a whopping $41 million this year. Roethlisberger went in the tank down the stretch last season, averaging just 6.0 yards per attempt with 15 TDs vs. 10 INTs over the final 7 games, including the playoff loss to Cleveland. Turning 39 in March, Big Ben isn't a great bet to bounce back in 2021.
The Steelers signed QB Dwayne Haskins, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. Haskins flamed out on and off the field in Washington but is certainly worth a flier for Pittsburgh. He was the 15th overall pick of the 2019 draft after chucking for 4,831 yards and 50 scores at his final season at Ohio State and is still just 23 years old. QB Ben Roethlisberger is tentatively expected back for 2021, but the Steelers need to find their QB of the future.
The Steelers have promoted QB coach Matt Canada to OC. The 48-year-old had been in that previous role for just 1 season, spending the rest of his coaching career in the college ranks. Canada had 9 different OC stints, most recently with LSU in 2017 and Maryland in 2018. Those teams ranked 76th and 69th, respectively, in points per game.
NFL Network's Mike Garafolo hears that there's "optimism" within the Steelers organization that QB Ben Roethlisberger will be back for the 2021 season. "Optimism" is an interesting word choice. Roethlisberger had a solid start to 2020 but averaged just 6.0 yards per attempt with 15 TDs and 10 INTs over the final 7 games, including the playoff loss to Cleveland. He turns 39 in March.
The Steelers are parting ways with OC Randy Fichtner, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports. Fichtner has been with the team since 2007, taking over as OC in 2018. The Steelers offense struggled mightily down the stretch this season, averaging just 22.1 points and 347 yards over the final 7 games. There were also whispers of a bit of a power struggle between Fichtner and QB Ben Roethlisberger. We'll see who the Steelers tab as their next OC -- and if Roethlisberger returns for 2021.
Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) returned to a full practice on Friday and isn't listed on the final injury report. It looks like Thursday was just a rest day. JuJu should be ready for his usual role vs. the Browns on Sunday night.
Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster was added to the injury report on Thursday with a knee. He didn't practice. We'll get another update on his status for Sunday's game vs. the Browns tomorrow.
Steelers TE Eric Ebron has been activated from the COVID list. So he'll be back for Sunday night's Wild Card game vs. Cleveland's 31st-ranked TE defense.
Steelers TE Eric Ebron has been placed on the COVID list. He's out for Sunday's game against the Browns and will likely miss Pittsburgh's postseason opener next week if he tested positive for the virus. We'll update his status when we know more.
Update: Ebron is believed to be a close contact of CB Joe Haden, who tested positive, according to ESPN's Dan Graziano. So, barring a positive test, Ebron will be eligible to return next weekend.
The Steelers have ruled S Terrell Edmunds out with a shoulder injury for Sunday's finale against the Browns. He joins DE Cameron Heyward and OLB T.J. Watt as missing starters, with the other 2 reportedly set to be rested. We'll see whether any other defensive starters land among the game-day inactives.
The Steelers will rest OLB T.J. Watt and DE Cameron Heyward for Sunday's finale against the Browns, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. This is why you don't play season-long fantasy into Week 17: IDP Edition.
Steelers HC Mike Tomlin announced on Tuesday that QB Mason Rudolph will start this weekend's finale vs. the Browns. Pittsburgh can't fall past the #3 seed and can only climb to #2 if the Bills lose at home to the Dolphins. So QB Ben Roethlisberger, whose arm has looked tired lately, will get the week off. Tomlin said "the vast majority of guys will be playing" vs. Cleveland, but we wouldn't be surprised if guys like James Conner, Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster at least had their snaps limited.
Washington has released QB Dwayne Haskins. He's had issues off the field and been a mess on it, averaging just 6.0 yards per attempt and tossing 5 TDs vs. 7 INTs this season. We'll see where the 15th overall pick of the 2019 draft lands. Washington is expecting to get QB Alex Smith (calf) back for Sunday night's win-and-in game vs. the Eagles.
Steelers K Chris Boswell (groin) is out for today's game vs. the Colts. Matthew Wright will kick for Pittsburgh in this one but is a weak fantasy play.
Steelers RB James Conner is returning from his quad injury for today's game vs. the Colts, but it sounds like Benny Snell might remain the lead back. "The overall arrow of the trajectory of his play has been an upward one, and he has merited more playing time, and he'll get more playing time because of it," HC Mike Tomlin said this week. Conner has fallen short of 3.2 yards per carry in 4 of his last 5, while Snell has fared pretty well in a few starts in place of Conner. This is a backfield to try to avoid in Week 16 fantasy lineups, but Snell looks like the better bet of the 2.
Steelers K Chris Boswell (groin) is listed as questionable for this weekend's game vs. the Colts. He was added to the injury report and limited on Thursday -- and then sidelined on Friday. Look elsewhere for your Week 16 fantasy kicker.
Steelers TE Eric Ebron (back) isn’t listed on the final injury report after putting in full practices on Thursday and Friday. He’ll play against the Colts this weekend. But a struggling Pittsburgh passing game and Indianapolis’ 5th-ranked TE defense make Ebron a shaky fantasy option.
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