Jonathan Dwyer: Fantasy Owners Should Avoid Steelers RB in Week 10

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistNovember 11, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 28:  Jonathan Dwyer #27 of the Pittsburgh Steelers carries the ball during the game against the Washington Redskins on October 28, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/Getty Images

There may be a time when Jonathan Dwyer is the starting tailback each week for the Pittsburgh Steelers. That time is not Monday night.

In large part, that's due to the solid game Isaac Redman had a week ago against the New York Giants, when he rushed 26 times for 147 yards and a touchdown. That was apparently enough to get him the start, according to Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Isaac Redman told me he will start Monday against the Chiefs.

— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly_Trib) November 10, 2012

Given how unpredictable this Steelers backfield has been this season, there's always the possibility Redman will look poor and Dwyer will end up being the back with the most value. With Rashard Mendenhall listed as doubtful to play, Dwyer would be next in line for carries.

But are you really willing to risk it knowing he won't even start?

Yes, the Chiefs have been very friendly to running backs this year. Kansas City has given up 100 or more rushing yards in six of its eight games and allows 21.4 fantasy points in standard-scoring leagues to opposing running backs, 26th in the NFL.

And then there's this tidbit from ESPN Stats and Information:

The Steelers averaged the fewest yards per rush in the league over their first 5 games but they average over 2 yards more per rush since then. Thanks to stronger run blocking lately, they are averaging more yards before contact per rush and getting contacted in the backfield less often in their last 3 games than they were before that.

Of course, all of this information could simply mean that Redman will have another epic afternoon. There's no guarantee there will be a shared wealth of touches or fantasy productivity in the Pittsburgh backfield on Monday night.

Plus, we don't know just how healthy Dwyer is after missing last week's game with a quad injury. Redman could be getting the start as much because he's the hot hand as because Dwyer isn't quite healthy enough to shoulder a full arsenal of carries.

If you are in a really deep league and the reservoir of decent running backs has gone dry, you can stick Dwyer in there and hope for the best. I understand where you're coming from—do to injuries and byes, I have to start Taiwan Jones of the Oakland Raiders and Mark Ingram of the New Orleans Saints in one of my leagues.

It happens.

But if you can help it, avoid Dwyer this week. There simply isn't enough upside to counteract the risk. Dwyer will have his day, I firmly believe that.

But patience, my fantasy grasshoppers. Patience.


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