Jonathan Dwyer: Steelers Running Back Is Must-Start in Fantasy Football

Mike MoraitisAnalyst IOctober 20, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 16:  Jonathan Dwyer #27 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after a first down during the game against the New York Jets on September 16, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/Getty Images

With injuries to Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman, the Pittsburgh Steelers will look to Jonathan Dwyer to pick up the slack, making him a must-start in fantasy football leagues.

Dwyer started off the season as the Steelers' No. 2 running back behind Redman with the injury to Mendenhall. However, once Mendenhall came back, Dwyer didn't see the field after that.

Baron Batch was Pittsburgh's go-to back last week against the Tennessee Titans, but Batch was only able to muster up 22 yards on 10 carries which was good for an average of 2.2 yards per carry. That production simply wasn't good enough, especially against the Titans lackluster run defense.

So that will help give Dwyer the nod this week.

The Steelers' Week 7 opponent will be the Cincinnati Bengals who are ranked No. 21 against the run in the NFL. Last week against the Cleveland Browns, Cincy allowed 110 yards on the ground against Cleveland's weak rushing attack.

That's good news for Dwyer and whatever fantasy owners decide to give him a chance this week. Dwyer should be able to accumulate a solid amount of yardage against the Bengals.

Ranking No. 7 in the NFL, the Steelers passing attack, headed by Ben Roethlisberger, will be the Bengals' biggest concern this week. Such an approach will take the attention off Dwyer, and that will no doubt open things up for the Steelers' back.

Not to mention, Dwyer has caught four passes for 24 yards this season, so he is a solid option to throw to out of the backfield. While those numbers don't look great, more time on the field should help Dwyer improve on his receiving numbers.

Even if the Steelers go heavy on the pass, Dwyer will still get some love.

Dwyer's chance to be the Steelers' starting back in Week 7 will be a golden opportunity for fantasy owners to rack up some extra points if their starting running back has a bye week.