Rashard Mendenhall: Injured Steelers RB Not a Reliable Fantasy Option Yet

Nicholas GossCorrespondent INovember 15, 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 is listed as probable for the Pittsburgh Steelers' Week 11 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens, according to ESPN, but he's still not a reliable option for fantasy football owners.

If Ben Roethlisberger has to miss a lot of time with his injuries suffered on Monday night, the Steelers will have to rely on their running backs to win games.

That sounds good for fantasy owners with Mendenhall on their roster, but he will be battling teammates Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer for carries in a competitive Pittsburgh backfield.

The Steelers rushing attack is ranked 21st in the NFL with 103.8 yards per game, and even though the Ravens are surprisingly ranked 26th against the run, dominating the line of scrimmage won't be easy for the Pittsburgh offensive line.

Mendenhall has rushed for just 74 yards on 19 carries in two games this season. Dwyer has been the Steelers' most efficient running back this season with a 4.6 yards per carry average and a team-leading 355 rushing yards.

Redman struggled last week, but in Week 9 versus the New York Giants, he rushed for 147 yards with one touchdown.

Dwyer and Redman are also better receivers than Mendenhall, so the chances that they take part in more plays this week are probably high.

It's unlikely that the Steelers will make Mendenhall a large part of the offense on Sunday since he hasn't played in over a month. Head coach Mike Tomlin will not want to rush him back and risk further injury.

Fantasy owners who need an extra running back this week should consider starting Dwyer or Redman in Week 11. Starting Mendenahll is a risk not worth taking at this point in the fantasy football season.