Jonathan Dwyer: Analyzing Steelers' RB Fantasy Value for Week 8

Pete Schauer@@Pete_SchauerCorrespondent IOctober 25, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 21:  Jonathan Dwyer #27 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs with the ball during 24-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on October 21, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

With Week 8 of the 2012 NFL season being a make-or-break week for many fantasy football owners, I'm here to help analyze the conundrum that is the Pittsburgh Steelers' backfield.

Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer have all carried the rock for the Steelers this season, but a rash of injuries has left fantasy owners in a daze for this upcoming weekend.

As Steelers blog Behind The Steel Curtain tweets, all three running backs missed practice on Wednesday, only adding to the mind-numbing obsession that goes into setting a fantasy lineup each weekend.

#Steelers Injury Report: Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman and Rashard Mendenhall all miss Wednesday

— BTSC Steelers (@btsteelcurtain) October 25, 2012

With all three Pittsburgh RBs iffy for this weekend, let the analyzing commence.

At this rate, Dwyer is your best bet for the Steelers' Week 8 matchup against Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins. According to the Behind the Steel Curtain article, Dwyer did not miss practice on Wednesday due to injury, while Mendenhall is nursing an Achilles injury and Redman an ankle injury. According to CBS Sports, Dwyer is probable for Week 8 while both Mendenhall and Redman are questionable.

While Dwyer is the obvious choice, he finds himself in a tough matchup against a Redskins defense that ranks No. 7 against the run. Dwyer had himself a nice day in Week 7 (17 carries for 122 yards), but that was against a Cincinnati Bengals rush defense that ranks No. 21 in the NFL.

The good news for Dwyer owners is that the Redskins have allowed five rushing touchdowns.

The bad news?

Washington has yet to let an opposing running back eclipse the 100-yard mark, and that includes RBs like Ahmad Bradshaw, Adrian Peterson, Benjarvus Green-Ellis, Doug Martin and Michael Turner.

Taking all that into consideration, Dwyer shouldn't be expected to be anything more than a low RB2 or flex option for Week 8. The Redskins defense has been susceptible to huge plays through the air (just ask Eli Manning and Victor Cruz), and with the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown, I'd expect the Steelers to attack through the air.

Fantasy football is all about playing the matchups and Dwyer's Week 8 matchup just doesn't sit well with me. In fact, it doesn't sit well with most, as none of ESPN's board of fantasy experts ranked Dwyer higher than No. 25 this week.

Tread cautiously, Dwyer owners. 


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