You can’t be encouraged by virtually anything the Steelers showed on offense in this game. Their OL looked terrible – guys like C Maurkice Pouncey, and G David DeCastro who are well thought of players – looked lost and gave up tons of pressure all of the 1st half.
RB Le’veon Bell ran the 1st 4 plays of this game. He seemed to be a little slow, but he was finishing his short runs by at least moving the pile. Then he developed a foot injury (to go with his recovery from a minor knee injury) and had to leave the game. Bell has to be frustrating dynasty owners, who have now seen so little of him after probably drafting him high, and frustrating re-drafters who are trying gauge his value as a 5th-7th round back. All I can say is cross your fingers and hope we get to see him in at least one more preseason game before you draft – b/c this guy is quickly becoming a “buyer beware” type of player. He had average talent and was drafted into a fantastic situation, but if he’s not healthy enough to win the starting RB job in his rookie season his value takes a huge hit even for future seasons.
2 offensive players who did look like they were ready for the season were WR Emmanuel Sanders & Marcus Wheaton. Sanders made some great catches in traffic and appears ready for his contract year break out season. He has had health issues in the past, but barring injury he’s a great WR 3 or 4 for your fantasy team this season. Rookie Marcus Wheaton hauled down a 57 yard TD, on a route that was basically just a speed on a fly patter – when he beat a 3rd string CB. Wheaton’s value is higher in a dynasty league right now – but he will get his chances this season as well working out of the Wr3 role.
I don’t often do this, and even players in IDP leagues won’t necessarily benefit from this guy this season…but S Shamarko Thomas is a man crush of mine. He seems to be a combo of Ryan Clark (who’s already on the Steelers) and Bob Sanders (who was a game changer). The Redskins who had a great need at safety this season ignored Thomas in the draft instead taking TE Jordan Reed (more on him below), and Shamarko repaid them in this one by making several bone crushing hits including causing a fumble. If you play IDP in a dynasty format this guy should be a 1st round pick – he has to wait his turn behind the vets in Pittsburgh but he is going to be a major player in this league.
QB Kirk Cousins led the injured cast of Redskins from this one. He left after being tackled awkwardly trying to get out of bonds and has a sprain of his right foot. The MRI is to come with the dreaded “lisfranc” being a concern. I’m not that concerned. For 1 thing Lisfranc injuries are rare, but we focus on them like it’s the only type of mid foot pain one can have. There are stats out there that suggest x-rays can pick up 85% of lisc franc injuries, so on top of a rare injury there’s only a 15% chance that you’ll find one by the time you get to the MRI stage.
And for the 2nd thing: Kirk Cousins is a backup QB people. Sure there’s an outside chance he starts a game or 2 a season – even the 1st week (although RG3 was seen in good spirits joking with Shanahan and Dr James Andrews during the game), but for ffl in 2013 and probably beyond he has no real fantasy relevance. Cousins may give the Redskins chances to win games in a pinch, but you’ll have better QB’s on your fantasy roster should any of your QB’s go down.
WR’s Aldrick Robinson and Leonard Hankerson also suffered minor leg injuries in this one. Both of these guys are deeper WR 4 or 5’s for your 2013 season.
TE Jordan Reed made his debut in this one. He’s a “move TE” that people like to compare to Aaron Hernandez (or at least they did before that murder thing) – he caught one short pass, dropped another, and ran such a terrible route on one that he caused a Rex Grossman interception b/c he was nowhere in the right area. He’s a project player at best (and they could’ve had Shamarko!!)
RB’s Chris Thompson and Jawan Jamison made their NFL debuts in this one. Jamison ran well, but against the absolute last stringers in “give up” time. Thompson an intriguing speedback, ran the ball twice got blasted by Shamarko Thomas and fumbled the ball. He also had a minor shoulder injury that he recovered enough from to check back into the game. These 2 are competing for 1 spot behind RB Roy Helu – and Helu cemented his role on the team by ripping off a 30 yard TD on his only carry.