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Sunday, August 2, 2015, 6:18pm
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.
Posted by Dale Lolley
Monday, July 27, 2015 - 4:15pm
Ben Roethlisberger is coming off perhaps his best overall statistical NFL season, one in which he matched Drew Brees for the NFL lead in total yards passing with 4,952 to go along with 32 touchdown passes. The offense returns intact and, with young receivers such as Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton emerging, it could be even better.
Roethlisberger is now 33, so there is a question regarding how long he can play at a high level. Also, without LeVeon Bell in the playoffs last season, he and the Pittsburgh offense struggled. As of this writing, Bell remains suspended for the first three games of the season, so the offense could sputter early.
After Bryant was inserted into the lineup following a Week 6 loss at Cleveland last year, the Steelers’ offense average 29.9 points per game the rest of the season, including the playoffs. Look for more of that as Roethlisberger now has total command of Todd Haley’s offense. There’s no reason he shouldn’t be a top-five quarterback this season, both in reality and fantasy football. 5,000 yards and 35 touchdown passes are within reach. He’s played in all 16 games in two consecutive seasons, so injuries aren’t as big a concern as they were earlier in his career as well.
2015 Strength of Schedule - PIT
Schedule difficulty based on schedule-adjusted, positional defensive ranking. Top DEF = 1, bottom DEF = 32.
2014 Game Stats