Plaxico Burress: Is Steelers WR a Viable Fantasy Pickup?

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 2012

Nov 25, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Plaxico Burress (80) is unable to make a catch in the second quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

The Pittsburgh Steelers added former New York Giants and New York Jets receiver Plaxico Burress this week for depth at the position, but is he worth adding in your fantasy league at this point?

Despite not seeing an NFL field in about 11 months, Burress made his debut with the Steelers against the Cleveland Browns in Week 12 but failed to make much of an impact. He was targeted twice by quarterback Charlie Batch but failed to catch either pass. 

This wouldn't be the first time Burress has unexpectedly joined a team he is unfamiliar with, as he joined the Jets last season after being released from jail and had a positive impact on the team.

In 2011 with the Jets, after having not seen the field since 2008, Burress caught 45 passes for 612 yards and eight touchdowns. 

While Burress and the Jets decided to part ways this past offseason, he was an intriguing free agent option despite now being 35 years old. Burress is still a massive redzone threat at 6'5" and 230 pounds, so how he didn't land a job before this is curious. 

In terms of fantasy football, it's hard to get a read on whether Burress will be able to have an impact. The Steelers brought him in to play in place of the injured Antonio Brown,  but what happens when Brown is healthy?

Burress is seemingly buried on the depth chart behind the aforementioned Brown, Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders and even the veteran Jerricho Cotchery, so how much playing time he receives is up in the air. 

What gives Burress some fantasy value is not his placement on the depth chart, but rather his ability to hawk touchdowns from the other receivers when the Steelers are inside the 20-yard line. 

While his teammates have revealed what a leadership role Burress has taken in the locker room already, his real value here is that the team has confirmed he will be used in a variety of red zone packages (h/t

Wideout Mike Wallace confirmed to Kinkhabwala the team has written Burress into the game plan as a red-zone target after he pulled in eight touchdowns with the New York Jets a season ago. Burress hasn't played since then and he hasn't been in Black and Gold since 2004.

The role for Burress makes sense at this point. As the source says, he hasn't played in black and gold in eight years, so his limited knowledge of the playbook prevents him from doing much outside of the redzone. 

For fantasy football owners, that's a good and bad thing. While it helps that Burress could land a touchdown every now and then, if the Cleveland game is any indication, the lack of being on the field every down will severely limit his production. 

Sure, Burress caught eight touchdowns last year, but that was over the course of a 16-game season. He won't product much with the Steelers over the next few weeks thanks to his lack of familiarity with the Pittsburgh offense. 

Further contributing to the lack of Burress' fantasy value is the injury to Ben Roethlisberger. While he is expected back soon, an injured starting quarterback does nothing but further drive his fantasy value into the ground. 

Burress is not worth picking up in any fantasy leagues. He'll score a few times this season, but not consistently enough to warrant a roster spot.