Friday, October 30, 2015, 6:45pm
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (knee, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 8. Roethlisberger’s return is a big boost for Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Heath Miller.
Thursday, October 29, 2015, 6:14pm
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (knee) took full practice reps again Thursday. We think he’s going to play. If he does, it’s a big boost for Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Heath Miller. The full participation is a good sign. Owners can pencil him in for Sunday.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015, 6:45pm
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (knee) practiced fully Wednesday. Roethlisberger experienced swelling in his knee last week which was determined to be “normal” by his doctors. He’s going to practice this week and see how the knee responds, but told reporters, “I’m not getting my hopes up for Sunday.” If he plays it’s a big boost for Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Heath Miller, though Landry Jones helped to make both Brown and Bryant fantasy relevant last week. The full participation is a good sign.
Friday, October 23, 2015, 7:16pm
Steelers QB Michael Vick (hamstring, out) missed practice all week and is out for Week 7. Landry Jones is likely to start for the Steelers, which is an upgrade for Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant. Five of his 12 pass attempts were to Brown — six if you include the two-point conversion attempt. Jones completed 4-of-5 passes to Bryant for 129 yards and two touchdowns.
Steelers WR Antonio Brown and QB Michael Vick weren't able to be on the same page as Brown's streak of 35 consecutive games with at least five receptions and 50 yards was snapped. Brown dropped a touchdown pass from Vick, and the two couldn't connect on a critical fourth-down pass in overtime that led to Baltimore's game-winning field goal.
“Last week, it just wasn't (Vick's) fault,” Brown said. “There is a lot of blame on me. I left a lot of plays out there. All of us are getting more comfortable, not just him. I am more confident and comfortable this week with him.”
Had Brown held on to the potential touchdown catch, we wouldn't be panicking about his situation with Vick. Still, the comfort level that Brown has with Ben Roethlisberger just isn't there with Vick. Brown is still a fantasy WR1, but he's not the sure bet that he seems to be with Roethlisberger under center.
Martavis Bryant rejoined his teammates Friday after serving his four-game drug suspension, and it’s not a moment too soon for the Steelers, whose anemic passing game was one of the many reasons they fell to the Baltimore Ravens Thursday night, 23-20, in overtime at Heinz Field.
New quarterback Mike Vick, subbing for injured Ben Roethlisberger, threw for just 124 yards, the fewest in a game for the Steelers since September 19, 2010, when they managed just 21 in a 19-11 victory in Tennessee. Backups Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon played quarterback for the Steelers that game while Roethlisberger was serving a four-game suspension.
Bryant, who had 26 receptions for 549 yards and 10 touchdowns as a rookie in 2014, should help Vick immensely. The Ravens double-teamed All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown and held him to five receptions for 42 yards.
Vick and Bryant didn’t play together much in the preseason, but when they did it was spectacular, the story claims. In Vick’s first game with the Steelers against the Buffalo Bills in the fourth preseason game, his first pass was a 63-yarder to Bryant. Later in the drive, Bryant drew a pass-interference penalty in the end zone that set up a touchdown. In one half, Bryant finished with three receptions from Vick for 138 yards. The hope is Bryant's presence could also prevent double teams on Brown. Overall, Bryant's return should mean good news for the Steelers offense.
But things are about to change for the Steelers. And change for the better.
The Steelers offense is about to get stronger, and then perhaps even scary in Week 5 when WR Martavis Bryant returns. For Bell owners, Williams has proved his value as a handcuff so it may be a good idea to keep him around. Williams' play may also earn him a little more time on the field and the Steelers may not have to ride Bell as hard as they did last year. The return of Bell could mean Antonio Brown sees more one-on-one matchups.
And the Steelers have Roethlisberger, who is coming off a 4,952-yard, 32-touchdown season. Roethlisberger, who attempted 608 passes last year, will be called upon to carry the offensive load.
Behind Williams, the Steelers are so thin, they have moved H-back/tight end Will Johnson into the running back room as the No. 3 option behind change-of-pace back Dri Archer, who has 10 career rushing attempts.
"When you have No. 7 and a guy like 84 [Brown], anything is possible," Johnson said. "We can go as far as we want."
It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Steelers be pass-happy in Week 1 with no Bell in the lineup. That's great news for owners of Roethlisberger, Brown and Wheaton especially, as the season kicks off this Thursday night. Ben is ranked seventh among our QBs this week in what is a pretty good matchup against the Pats.
Tuesday, September 1, 2015, 2:46pm
The Pittsburgh Steelers have created nearly $6 million of cap room for this season after restructuring the contracts of receiver Antonio Brown, tight end Heath Miller and kicker Shaun Suisham on Tuesday, league sources told ESPN.
The Steelers plan to use the majority of the extra cap room to offset the large number of injured players who have been counting against the team's salary cap.
The move is expected to end Brown's contract demands for now. Sources tell ESPN that the Steelers, in a rare move for the team, moved up $2 million of Brown's salary into a signing bonus for this season, sources told ESPN. The restructuring raises Brown's salary from $6 million to $8 million this season.
When Ben Roethlisberger speaks, Pittsburgh listens. So when the two-time Super Bowl champion predicts a breakout star, it's worth paying attention.
Most of the Steelers talk heading into the 2015 season has been about Antonio Brown, LeVeon Bell and Martavis Bryant, but Roethlisberger believes a different player will steal the headlines offensively this season.
"I think Markus Wheaton is our breakout player of the year," Roethlisberger said on Sirius XM NFL Radio. "I want that. I want him to have that pressure. Because when we're in two wide receivers, he's our No. 2. And we're asking him to play outside. And we go three wide receivers, we ask him to move inside."
Wheaton, a third-year pro out of Oregon State, has recorded 59 receptions for 708 yards and two touchdowns in his first two seasons.
It was widely believed Bryant, not Wheaton, would line up opposite Brown to start the season in two-wide sets. But it appears Bryant will miss some time with an infection in his elbow. This could cause a bit of a rankings shakeup among the Steeler WRs and is definitely something to watch during camp and heading into the season. Bryant was our 18th ranked WR while Wheaton wasn't even getting drafted in 12-team leagues. Bryant also put up fringe WR2 numbers while only playing 60-percent of the snaps.
The Steelers set team record in points, first downs, and yards per game, powered by the superstar trio of Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. The quarterback -- who reported to training camp with teammates on Saturday -- sees no reason why Pittsburgh can't top those numbers.
"We want to start fast and we want to be able to put 30 points on the board in every game," Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sunday.
Roethlisberger has strong belief in his supporting cast, from Bell and Brown, to an improved offensive line, the story said. Roethlisberger is now 33, but he's coming off his two best statistical seasons of his career. We're buying in on the Steelers this year, too, as Big Ben jumps to sixth on our QB list and is looking like a great option to target in the middle rounds of drafts. Brown is our top WR, and despite a suspension, Bell is among our best RBs.
Tuesday, July 7, 2015, 11:57am
After spending the last four years trying to make it as an NFL quarterback, Terrelle Pryor is now in Cleveland, trying to make it as a wide receiver. He says he has the talent not just to earn a roster spot, but to be a great wide receiver.
“I believe I can get great at anything,” Pryor told KDKA. “Just need the reps and just got to prove it.”
Pryor said he has the work ethic that only the great ones have.
“There’s not a lot of guys who work like I work,” he said. “I truly believe that. I believe somebody who works extremely hard is Antonio Brown. Definitely I’ve worked with him, I have had to opportunity to work out with him an awful lot. We spent a lot of time together in 2011 down in Florida, so I saw his work ethic. The drive, the nights we would run in the sand along the ocean, run 6 miles every night.”
We had a story on this item last week. Browns beat writer Mary Kay Cabot said there just may not be enough time for Pryor to learn all the details involved in the transition from QB to WR, but that it was definitely worth a shot to try and convert Pryor.
Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson was a week from returning to the Vikings' roster after a three-game suspension for drunken driving, when ESPN reported on Sept. 18 that Simpson had been cited in July for misdemeanor marijuana possession and driving with an open bottle. The Vikings released Simpson later that day, and signed Charles Johnson off the Cleveland Browns' practice squad the next day.
It seemed at the time like a move to replenish the Vikings' wide receiver depth with a known commodity -- quarterbacks coach Scott Turner had been Johnson's position coach the previous year in Cleveland -- but Johnson was less than a year removed from knee surgery, and didn't play more than 20 snaps in a game until Nov. 16. From that point on, though, he caught 25 passes for 415 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and supplanted Cordarrelle Patterson as the team's "X" receiver.
"He was recovering from that knee surgery a year ago and I don't know that he was ever 100 percent," offensive coordinator Norv Turner said. "I think he's 100 percent. He's got great work ethic, and he's a big, strong guy. He's a 218-pound receiver that can run. He's got everything you need to be a productive player in this league."
In organized team activities and minicamp, there was no mystery about where Johnson figured in the Vikings' plans, the story went on to say. He was lined up at split end all spring, and teamed with Mike Wallace and Jarius Wright in the team's three receiver sets. According to ESPN, 33 of Johnson's 58 targets were at least 10 yards downfield, and 13 of those 58 were 20 or more yards downfield. Johnson worked out in Southern California with Bridgewater and a number of the Vikings' receivers this offseason, and also spent time in Houston with Rischad Whitfield, the "Footwork King" who has counted Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins among his clients. Johnson is one of 4for4.com Senior Editor John Paulsen's potential sleepers this year. We rank him 37th on our WR list and he looks to be in a good situation with the offense under OC Norv Turner and a developing QB in Bridgewater.
Monday, June 29, 2015, 8:22am
Pittsburgh TE Heath Miller is a No. 3 or 4 option for the offense but nothing more.
He might’ve been a 1,000-yard receiver as a 25-year-old in Haley’s offense. Miller’s scoring rate is concerning. After 27 touchdowns in his first five years, Miller has 16 in his last five, for an average of 3.2 per year. He surpassed three scores in one of those five seasons.
The Steelers placed a waiver claim for tight end Tim Wright, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. When coupled with reported interest in second-round tight end Maxx Williams during the draft, the Wright claim indicates the franchise is at least exploring tight end alternatives.
The story went on to say Miller isn’t an elite tight end but he’s still very solid. He can put up 600 yards in this offense at age 32. And the truth is the Steelers still need him. He’s a safety valve for QB Ben Roethlisberger. In fact, we predict Miller for 588 yards and just under 3 TDs for 2015. However he's ranked 20th on our list and likely won't get a lot of draft attention in typical leagues. With Antonio Brown, LeVeon Bell and Martavis Bryant, that's a strong core of talent to monopolize the red zone touches.
A quick canvas of the league revealed 10 No. 1-caliber receivers: Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, Alshon Jeffrey, A.J. Green, Dez Bryant, DeMaryius Thomas, Jordy Nelson, T.Y. Hilton, Odell Beckham and Antonio Brown.
Robinson, the Jaguars’ second-year receiver, is below that level, but on this team at this moment, he’s the best.
Robinson averaged 5.2 catches for 61 yards and 0.22 TD from Week 2 to Week 10, which extrapolates to an 84-974-3.6 over the course of a full 16-game season. He posted fringe WR2-type numbers before suffering a stress fracture in his foot. The Jacksonville receiving corps should feature Robinson, Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns. If QB Blake Bortles can progress, this could be a dangerous passing game, and Robinson would be the primary beneficiary.
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