Landry Jones' Fantasy Outlook After Ben Roethlisberger's Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 17, 2016

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Landry Jones (3) works against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

Pittsburgh Steelers fans' worst fears were realized Sunday, when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered a knee injury during a 30-15 Week 6 loss against the Miami Dolphins.

Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette provided the latest update on the veteran quarterback's status:

The surgery will "trim" Roethlisberger's torn meniscus, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, who added that Big Ben will be out for Week 7 against the New England Patriots.

Without a timetable for Roethlisberger's return outside of next week, Landry Jones will take over under center for the immediate future.

Jones didn't feature much for the Steelers last year, but he made an impression on many fans. Filling in for an injured Roethlisberger, he went 32-of-55 for 513 yards and three touchdowns with four interceptions in seven games.

Roethlisberger's right shoulder was basically being held together with duct tape in the 2015 playoffs, and Pittsburgh still thought that was preferable to relying on Jones in a high-leverage situation.

In August, ESPN.com's Field Yates ranked the league's backup quarterback situations heading into the year, listing the Steelers at No. 24. Newsday's Bob Glauber ranked Jones No. 26 among backup QBs.

Before last year, one might have assumed Pittsburgh's passing game would hardly miss a beat without Roethlisberger on the field. His absence would hurt, but the team still had Antonio Brown, arguably the NFL's best receiver, and another dangerous downfield threat in Markus Wheaton.

When Big Ben was out of action last year, though, Brown's production suffered, demonstrating that one great receiver can't single-handedly lift an entire offense:

Antonio Brown 2015 Per-Game Splits
SplitGRec.YardsAvg.TD
With Roethlisberger129.9133.213.40.8
Without Roethlisberger44.258.713.80
Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com

Perhaps Jones is a hidden gem who needed a little NFL experience before becoming a productive quarterback. He wouldn't be the first player to emerge from relative obscurity to become a fantasy darling.

Over time, Jones could emerge as a strong QB2 option in standard leagues. For now, demand for the 27-year-old is unlikely to be high, which is a good thing for fantasy owners.

Rather than rushing to the waiver wire to snatch him up, those seeking quarterback help should be able to monitor Jones' progress before making a final decision. Should he put together a strong performance or two, he'd be worth consideration.

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