Rashard Mendenhall: Fantasy Outlook for Steelers' RB for Remainder of Season

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 2, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 07:  Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers carries the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles during the game on October 7, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Rashard Mendenhall has frustrated fantasy owners all season long. Hopefully, the second half goes much better. 

The issue so far has been his health. The Pittsburgh Steelers running back tore his ACL at the end of last season and was still recovering at the beginning of this year. When he finally came back to the field, he injured his Achilles' and once again found himself on the bench.

To make matters worse, Johnathan Dwyer seemed to have gotten a hold on the starting job after rushing for 229 yards in the last two games.

However, that seems to be only a short-term situation. Even Dwyer admitted that Mendenhall will get the starting job when healthy. He told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

"I mean, Rac is the guy. Rac has been here for years, and they drafted him in the first round to be a starter. That's his room and we complement him."

It seems that the only thing that determines playing time on this backfield this year is health.

According to Adam Schein of CBS Sports, Mendenhall and Redman are the healthiest ones in the backfield.


Tomlin says Dwyer not scheduled to practice Wednesday. Mendenhall and Redman will. Beat rolls on. #STEELERS

— Adam Schein (@AdamSchein) October 30, 2012


This is good news for Mendenhall owners, who have been waiting to see the player see the field.

However, the important thing is to preach patience. He might take a while, but he should be successful once he plays. 

In his three full years in the NFL, Mendenhall averaged 1,103 yards with just under 10 touchdowns per year. In the one full game he played this season, he averaged a solid 5.2 yards per carry.

Additionally, seven of the last nine games for the Steelers are against teams ranked No. 20 or lower against the run.

He has a very good chance of once again ending the season as one of the best running backs in the league. Keep him on your team until he reaches that point. If he is on another team, he might be an interesting trade candidate for a cheap return.

Either way, Rashard Mendenhall should end up being a fantasy starter within the next few weeks.