Big Ben’s a Check Your Fantasy Team Can’t Cash
With fantasy players waiting longer than ever to select their quarterbacks — even 2QBers — there has been a bevy of fantasy-viable QBs available late. … That said, there is still an elite group of quarterbacks who warrant an early round selection. While Ben Roethlisberger is being drafted as one of those quarterbacks, I don’t think he belongs. Here’s why you fantasy team can’t afford this overpriced luxury.
Martavis Bryant is Out
One of the biggest news items of the offseason occurred when the NFL suspended Martavis Bryant for the entire 2016 season due to multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy. While I wish the best for Bryant and his family as they deal with his issues, it is important to also understand the ramifications this will have in fantasy, particularly for Roethlisberger.
We can see using the RotoViz Game Splits App that Roethlisberger’s production has been much better the past two seasons with Bryant on the field rather than off it. He is averaging a lot fewer pass attempts per game without his number two target, and that has resulted in much lower yardage and touchdown totals.
It’s possible someone else like Sammie Coates or Markus Wheaton steps into that role and produces, but I don’t want to assume that. It’s very likely nobody can fill Bryant’s role, and Roethlisberger’s bottom line will be affected as a result. By taking him as the QB6 right now in drafts, you’re assuming everything will break right, and that he can produce like a top-end quarterback. Meanwhile, his 16-game pace without Bryant over the last two seasons would rank him as QB16 last season in fantasy points per game (excluding Geno Smith).
Bell is (Mostly) Back
The other big split that looks bad for Roethlisberger is his production when Le’Veon Bell is on the field.
These splits aren’t as dramatic as the ones for Bryant, but they are still fairly significant. Roethlisberger attempts fewer passes with his bell-cow runner on the field and averages a full yard less per attempt.
Of course we know by now the Steelers will probably be without Bell for the first four games of 2016, which could give a temporary boost to Roethlisberger. Still, I don’t want to pay full price for a player just because I like how he may open the year. Even planning to draft and trade Big Ben is risky business in my opinion because you can’t guarantee a market for him, especially if you guess wrong and he doesn’t play well.
Ben Roethlisberger’s Recent Play
Probably the most bizarre thing about Roethlisberger’s ADP is how it relates to his recent performance. Take a look at his production the last five seasons:
|Year||FP||FP Rank||PPG||PPG Rank|
Roethlisberger’s 2014 season is the only time in the last five years he finished better than QB9 in total points or QB12 in points per game. Most of the time, he is a low-end QB1, not the high-end one he is being drafted as.
Roethlisberger represents one of the most perplexing quarterback ADPs of the 2016 season, and I simply cannot advocate for drafting him right now. By taking him at QB6, you are paying for a career year that happened two seasons ago. Meanwhile, he is missing his second best receiver and the team may run the ball more as a result. Save your fantasy money this season by passing on Roethlisberger. You won’t regret you did.