|By Mark Morales-Smith, Friday, September 12, 2014|
QB Ben Roethlisberger - Quality Backup
At the age of 32, Big Ben is coming off one of his best fantasy seasons. Roethlisberger threw for 4,261 yards and 29 TDs. He attempted the most passes of his career last season by more than 70 attempts. This stat could take a drastic downward turn in 2014. The Steelers allowed Roethlisberger's second and third receivers (Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery, respectively) to walk via free agency in favor of an aging Lance Moore and promising, yet still unproven talents Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton. Pittsburgh will also have a healthy Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount in the backfield to help them get back to Steelers' smash-mouth football. Roethlisberger was sacked 42 times and turned the ball over 20 times. The offensive line must better protect him. In spite of the questions with the offense, the former Miami of Ohio QB is still a seasoned veteran with two Super Bowl rings on his hand. His fantasy value has been underrated his whole career. He knows how to make something out of nothing and get the job done. It also helps to have budding superstar Antonio Brown at his disposal. The duo connected for 110 receptions in 2013. If healthy, Roethlisberger can be one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL.
QB Bruce Gradkowski - Not Draft Worthy
Gradkowski is a career backup and journeymen quarterback who saw his most playing time with Oakland Raiders in 2009 and 2010. He is a very serviceable backup, but he will not outplay Big Ben like he did JaMarcus Russell and Jason Campbell in Oakland. Gradkowski's only hope at playing time is an injury to Roethlisberger or garbage time. Even if Gradkowski does get a shot to start, he would be nothing more than an emergency replacement in the deepest of formats.