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Projecting Pittsburgh Steelers skill position depth chart and fantasy impact

The Steelers look to take some of the burden off Ben Roethlisberger’s arm with an improved ground game with first round draft pick Najee Harris at the center.

Wide receiver Chase Claypool#11 celebrates a touchdown with fellow wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster #19 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field on November 22, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Steelers defeated the Jaguars 27-3. Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers went 12-4 and won the AFC North in 2020, but things weren’t as positive as the totals make them look. After winning 11 straight games to start the season, the Steelers lost five of their last six games, including back-to-back losses to the Cleveland Browns in Week 17 and in the Wild Card game.

With no running game and a weak-armed Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh had trouble moving the ball and put their top defense in poor positions to succeed. They now take on a better AFC North than they faced in 2020, as the Browns continue to improve, the Ravens won’t likely face COVID-19 trouble again and the Bengals will have upgraded, while also getting their No. 1 pick Joe Burrow back from injury.

Quarterback

  1. Ben Roethlisberger
  2. Mason Rudolph
  3. Dwayne Haskins Jr.
  4. Joshua Dobbs

Running back

  1. Najee Harris
  2. Benny Snell Jr.
  3. Anthony McFarland Jr.
  4. Kalen Ballage

Wide receiver

  1. Diontae Johnson
  2. JuJu Smith-Schuster
  3. Chase Claypool
  4. James Washington
  5. Ray-Ray McCloud
  6. Cody White

Tight end

  1. Eric Ebron
  2. Pat Freiermuth
  3. Zach Gentry

Biggest offseason changes

Probably the biggest moves were the non-moves. Bringing Ben Roethlisberger and JuJu Smith-Schuster keep the team beholden to Roethlisberger’s ailing arm. Could a year away from surgery and a better running game keep his arm from falling off? Maybe. If offseason quarterback pick up Dwayne Haskins can take a step forward, there is a chance he supplants Roethlisberger, but at this point that doesn’t seem likely.

That uptick in the rushing attack should happen after drafting Najee Harris in the first round. They need to keep looking for offensive linemen, but Harris will help. James Conner and his inconsistent health have moved on to Arizona and Harris is in line for a huge workload as a rookie.

Biggest questions for fantasy football

The biggest question for fantasy is Roethlisberger’s arm. He likely won’t be asked to throw 608 times in 15 games this season. A more balanced offensive attack should help his efficiency, which could still keep the receivers in the fantasy realm.

Harris should be counted on as a strong fantasy producer based on expected workload, while rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth will likely hang behind Eric Ebron for the time being, but could hurt Ebron’s fantasy upside.