Is it possible the Steelers are not as good as we think (I think) they are? I mean, they’re good. They’ll win the sad AFC North division. But are they just ‘pretty good’ and taking a serious hit with losing Joe Haden going forward?
Haden was worth a grade bump…if you thought this team was a ‘B’…Haden made them a ‘B+’. If you thought they were already a ‘B+’ then Haden took them up to ‘A-’…a high-end team. A top pass defense in the NFL after Jacksonville. Haden gets hurt in this game the Colts drop two 50+ yard TD passes in almost defeat of the Steelers.
I think the Haden injury should be seen on a level as the Richard Sherman injury for Seattle – it hurts, it affects multiple fantasy ‘things’. It takes a really good defense and drops them back a bunch. When Sherman went out last week, all of a sudden Drew Stanton was lighting up the right side of the field. Haden lost here and Brissett started dropping bombs. Haden out may be a bigger deal then we think. Richard Sherman has more commercials so it seems more important.
The Steelers are still tracking as a 12-win team, and the Super Bowl may be riding on their Week 15 game hosting New England. I thought the Steelers would win that game a few weeks ago, now minus Haden and watching the Patriots regroup – it’s the Patriots game/season to lose, again. I think the Patriots blow past Pittsburgh minus Haden. We’ll see if Haden can get back for Week 15.
Credit the Colts…they don’t give up easily. You see teams like the Giants go through the motions/quit but the Colts bring all they got every week. They just don’t have the horses.
The Colts had this game. A 10-0 lead. 17-3 lead in the 3rd. A fluky INT off Jack Doyle’s hands around their own 20-yard line in the 4th-quarter breathed life into the Steelers – and credit Pittsburgh for making the plays and winning it in the end.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Many of us started the season with the Steelers DST and that’s been a nice ride. Week 10 wasn't great, and that was the first ‘no Joe Haden’ event we’ve had to deal with…and I don’t like the preview.
We judged the Steelers as having a ‘B’ defense with an ‘A+’ early-season schedule before the season started. Then they acquired Joe Haden at the last second and things got exciting. A ‘B+’ defense with an ‘A+’ schedule. It worked out swimmingly. Longer than I expected because Andrew Luck wasn’t going to be there for this Week 10 and no Aaron Rodgers Week 12.
Now, how good are they without Joe Haden? Not as great versus the ‘bad’ Colts.
I don’t love this Week 11 matchup with Tennessee. Marcus Mariota is too good for an ‘awesome’ DST event to occur…but a TNF game at Pittsburgh helps boost the motivations. Past Week 11, we have Hundley-Dalton Weeks 12-13 which are DST useful. Week 14 versus Flacco, I like. Week 15 versus the Patriots is a no-go. Week 16 versus Houston is sweet, assuming they still have something to play for…and maybe Haden comes back by this spot.
You can still use the Steelers DST, but it’s not as exciting without Haden. Let’s see how they do against the Titans tonight. Try to hold them this week and re-evaluate next week.
-- I’ve pointed out this week that Antonio Brown’s (3-47-0/7) numbers have really tumbled. He’s on pace for 5.3 TDs this season. He’s been kind of a dud the past three games.
I just want to note something from this game that caught me odd. The Steelers were down midgame, and it was getting a little nervous for them. You felt like Pittsburgh would pull it together but it was not looking so good.
Midgame, from midfield, Antonio Brown got free on a bomb. His double coverage ran into each other and fell down. He was running wide open down the sidelines with a safety coming over as fast as he could. Ben lofted it right on the money into Brown’s hands 2-3 yards away/inside from the sidelines. However, that safety was running over at the same time, about a second behind. If Brown caught the pass he might take a good hit. It’s a pass you see Brown make a million times. He dropped this one. Instead of going towards the ball to catch it, Brown drifted towards the out of bounds…almost in fear of the safeties hit. Brown dropped the pass because his body was heading out of bounds and the pass was firmly in bounds.
It was a critical junction of the game and that’s where you usually see Ben-Brown make big plays. Ben held up his end. Brown protected his money maker and begged off the big play not wanting to take a hit. We’ve seen Brown’s numbers dipping and him throwing temper tantrums, and him driving elaborate, fancy cars to training camp and him on several commercials. Has Antonio Brown become ‘that guy’? Has the money softened him? See: Dez Bryant and Julio Jones.
Maybe this JuJu Smith-Schuster (5-97-1/7) ‘pop’ isn’t just a favorable coverage situation because of so much attention on Antonio every play. Maybe Ben is going where things work?
-- Marlon Mack (7-7-0, 2-19-0/4) hasn’t worked for two weeks now after a nice run before that. The pattern seems to be – Colts up, they sit on the lead with Gore. Colts down, they throw a lot of dump passes and Mack is a beneficiary. The past two weeks the Colts beat Houston and should’ve beaten the Steelers…and they held leads for most of those games.
Mack isn’t a must-keep in his BYE week but I still think he can pump numbers in PPR because the Colts should be down in most games ahead.
-- Chester Rogers (6-104-1/6) had a big game, but much of it on a 60+ yard TD where he was left wide-open and then defenders missed a tackle allowing him to race an extra 20 yards for the score. Solid player but nothing magical happening for FF.
-- Vance McDonald (2-16-1/2) caught a TD pass in this game, which was surprising because early in the game it looked like he hurt his foot and was done. Regardless, I don’t see any VMD uprising here. Just a guy open sometimes. He misses too much time with injury to build any consistency.
-- Sean Davis (8 tackles, 1 TFL), who we love, has had a nice IDP run his last 6 games – 6.0 tackles, 0.7 PDs, 0.7 TFLs per game in that span.
Snap Counts of Interest…
34 = Gore
24 = Mack
45 = Jesse James
30 = Vance McDonald
10 = Joe Haden