Jonathan Dwyer: Steelers RB a Must-Start with Rashard Mendenhall out

Darin PikeContributor ISeptember 21, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 16:  Jonathan Dwyer #27 of the Pittsburgh Steelers carries the ball against the New York Jets during the game on September 16, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Steelers defeated the Jets 27-10.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Jonathan Dwyer hasn't exactly lit the NFL on fire while filling in for the injured Rashard Mendenhall. He led the Pittsburgh Steelers in rushing yards in the opening two games but has just 94 total yards from scrimmage thus far.

But his opposition lessens this weekend as the Steelers visit the 0-2 Oakland Raiders.

Reggie Bush and Lamar Miller combined for 237 yards rushing on 36 caries against Oakland last weekend. They averaged a whopping 6.6 yards per carry (YPC) with three touchdowns.

John Clayton and the rest of the Twitter universe let us know that Mendenhall is a no-go this weekend.

Troy Polamalu (calf) and James Harrison (knee) are out for the Steelers. So is RB Rashard Mendenhall.

— John Clayton (@ClaytonESPN) September 21, 2012

This will leave the running duties squarely on Dwyer's shoulders. He's only managed 3.4 YPC with 71 yards on 21 attempts but he's been more effective than Isaac Redman. 

Pittsburgh's other big back has just 45 yards on 23 carries, an average just under 2.0 YPC.

After missing Wednesday's practice with a toe issue, Dwyer was able to return to full participation on Thursday and Friday. The Steelers have listed him as probable on their injury report.

#Steelers Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, Jonathan Dwyer, Heath Miller, Marcus Gilbert & Byron Leftwich are all probable to play vs #Raiders

— Steelers RReports (@CBSSteelers) September 21, 2012

Fantasy owners will be leery of starting a player that has done little so far this season, but the Raiders present a unique opportunity for Dwyer to pad his stats.