Can You Trust Steelers Week 1 Starting RB Isaac Redman in Your Fantasy Lineup?

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Can You Trust Steelers Week 1 Starting RB Isaac Redman in Your Fantasy Lineup?
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

If your fantasy football draft didn't go as planned, and you're staring at Pittsburgh Steelers running back Isaac Redman in one of your starting spots, no need to worry. 

He's certainly far from the most enticing running back to have in your lineup, that's for sure. 

However, he's starting for Mike Tomlin's club to begin the season. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Steelers insider Ed Bouchette tweeted the following about Tomlin's confidence in Redman: 

A good development fantasy-wise, no? 

Now, Redman's yards-per-carry average has decreased from 4.8 to 4.4 to 3.7 over the past three seasons, which is not a good development. 

But we must remember that 2012 first-round pick, offensive lineman David DeCastro appeared in only four games as a rookie, all of which came in December. 

DeCastro won't morph the Steelers into a dominating running team, but Redman, a between-the-tackles runner, should benefit from the offensive guard's presence. 

What's more, as an individual, Redman may be more talented than what's widely believed. 

Here's a look at how Pro Football Focus (subscription required) rated him on the 129 total touches he received in 2012: 

Isaac Redman's 2012 Season
Yards Per Touch 5.06
Elusiveness Rating (Positional Ranking) 89.6 (2)
Yards After Contact Per Attempt (Positional Ranking) 3.09 (7)

ProFootballFocus

(Positional ranking based on running backs who received at least 25 percent of their respective team's carries)

This is how Redman's efficiency and elusiveness compared to two other backs who were given the ball close to as many times as he was last year: 

Isaac Redman Comparison
Touches Yards Per Touch Elusiveness Rating Yards After Contact Per Rush
Isaac Redman 129 5.06 89.6 3.09
Bryce Brown 128 4.84 59.7 3.32
Bernard Pierce 115 5.03 75.7 3.48

ProFootballFocus

Quite interesting, especially considering that of those three, Redman is the only feature back. Bernard Pierce and Bryce Brown will get their carries in 2013, but they're the clear backups behind fantasy studs Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy in their respective cities.

According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Brown's current average draft position is 89.8 overall while Pierce's is 94.2 overall and Redman's is 138.8 overall. 

Redman is a sneaky value pick.

Frederick Breedon/Getty Images
But if you're reading this, you've likely already snagged Redman and are trying to decide if he should be kept in your starting lineup against the Tennessee Titans

The effectiveness of offenses and defenses fluctuate every season, but the only logical way to predict how stout Mike Munchak's team will be against the run is to use history as a guide. 

In 2012, the Titans allowed a rather respectable 4.2 yards per carry during the regular season. However, that statistic is a bit misleading. 

They surrendered 2,035 rushing yards, the ninth most in football and 11.05 rushing yards per drive, according to Football Outsiders.

Here's how the five other teams who gave up 4.2 yards per rush fared on a per-drive basis last year:

Rushing Yards Allowed Per Drive in 2012
Titans 11.05
Browns 9.78
Eagles 11.48
Bears 8.47
Redskins 8.65
Panthers 10.35

ESPN

For perspective, the Buffalo Bills allowed 13.03 rushing yards per defensive series in 2012, the most in the NFL

In short, the Steelers shouldn't have an especially difficult time running the football against Tennessee, based on what we saw from the Titans defense a year ago. 

With Felix Jones as his primary backup, running behind a bolstered offensive line against a team that was rather vulnerable against the run in 2012, the deceptively efficient Isaac Redman is actually a surprisingly good fantasy option in Week 1.  

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