Bad Vibes in Pittsburgh

It’s time to start monitoring the vibes around the league because they will give us a good glimpse of fantasy’s future in 2010.

And right now, the vibes in Pittsburgh are pretty bad.

Not only is QB Ben Roethlisberger out 4-6 weeks – and possibly hurting overall team chemistry as well – they have now lost RT Willie Colon for the season. There’s no easy replacement for the Steelers, so this is yet another strike against their team this year.

This is particularly bad news for their passing game because, not only was it looking shaky to begin with after losing Santonio Holmes, you have under center possibly the worst QB in the league in terms of handing pressure in Byron Leftwich. Leftwich’s issues against pressure aren’t mental, they’re physical. He’s slow as molasses, and when he’s forced to move in the pocket and reset, you sometimes feel you can watch the Godfather Trilogy in the time it takes him to reset (okay, maybe just the first two films). Losing possibly their best offensive lineman will only make Leftwich’s problems worse. I seriously wonder now if this will help the more mobile Dennis Dixon’s chances of beating Leftwich out. I’m kind of hoping it does.

Overall, I just don’t have a good feeling about this passing game. I’m not sold on WR Mike Wallace on the outside. He could prove to be all that, but it’s very fair to question his effectively transitioning to the #2 role, as we’ve outlined repeatedly on the site. And Antwaan Randle El and Arnaz Battle don’t do much for me. It would have been really nice if they had Limas Sweed entering his third season at their disposal, but he’s done too. Sweed’s been a bust, but he is pretty talented. Now they’re going to be relying heavily on the 34-year old Hines Ward, who’s already talking about retirement in the near future, and also TE Heath Miller. Miller’s solid, but he’s no savior. Ward played at a very high level in 2009, but you always worry about him starting to break down or slow down, given his age and the beating he’s taken.

If the bad vibes in Pittsburgh continue, we're going to have to downgrade Rashard Mendenhall

If vibes continue to be bad in Pittsburgh, Rasahrd Mendenhall will have to be downgraded

The thing that really scares me is how this all effects RB Rashard Mendenhall. The guy’s still a little bit of an enigma. I can certainly envision him running hard and “bringing it” all season, as he did last year, and if so his high-end talent will come to the surface. On the other hand, if the ship starts sinking, I can also envision him contributing to their descend. After all, this is a player who did not look good at all last preseason and who was probably a week or two away early last year to establishing permanent residency status in head coach Mike Tomlin’s doghouse. I’m trying my best to figure this guy out, but it’s not easy. He’s very talented, and they do want to/need to commit to him more than ever. But in the past he’s a guy who has underwhelmed, and I’m still not 100% convinced he’ll show us his best 100% of the time. Ray Rice, for example, I have zero questions about in this regard.

So Mendenhall is officially on my watch list. If I see any negative vibes in the summer in terms of his attitude or desire, or if he looks sluggish in the preseason, we’re going to have to move him down and outside the top-12 RBs. As the bad vibes mount up in Pittsburgh, Mendenhall’s margin of error decreases.

Category: Fantasy Football


11 Responses

  1. JBeau says:

    He is already off my list, and really never was. Stay away at all costs…not worth a 1st or 2nd round pick.

  2. Brent says:

    I disagree. Maybe some truth to avoiding in 1st round….maybe even early 2nd….but Flozell Adams is there today. If the Steelers sign Adams and move Max Starks back to RT….I think their OL is actually BETTER.

  3. Jason says:


    While I agree he is not a legit 1st rounder now, but I must say if he is there is the 2nd rd. that is pretty good value in your draft. It’s obvious now the vibes are not very good now in Steeler land.

  4. James says:

    I agree with you on the Steeler passing game. THough it will be Leftwich throwing the rock when Ben is out. He has a slow delivery and can’t move in the pocket. In short, you will have the slowest QB in the league throwing to the slowest WR in the league, Hines Ward.

    Wallace is unproven as a # 1 WR.

    There is a sliver lining here though. Mendenhall might be the # 1 passing target for Leftwich until Ben comes back.

    PPR owners take note!


  5. Nicholas says:

    John, I totally agree with your article. The fact that I’m a lifetime Cleveland Browns fan doesn’t hurt either. All of this couldn’t happen to a better team! GO BROWNS!!!

  6. […] Pittsburgh has been a hot bed for off-the-field trouble this offseason. The Steelers shipped one problem child, Santonio Holmes, out of town already but still have to deal with Ben Roethlisberger’s baggage. All the negativity hanging over the team this summer could spill onto the playing field once the season starts, leading to fantasy disaster across the board. [Fantasy Guru] […]

  7. JBeau says:

    Jason, I will take him as a #2 RB in the 2nd round, but if I happen to go WR in the 1st round, I am not depending on him as my #1 RB.

  8. Mike says:

    I just cannot see taking Mendy where he is going. He has potential bust written all over him. He may prove me wrong, and I hope he does (have him in a keeper), but I would never select him over more proven players at other position.

    Remember, every year RBs become more and more irrelevant. After the big 4, its a 50/50 chance they pan out…based on recent history anyway.

    No thank you, let some other owner take the chance. Ill draft Brees or Rodgers or even Manning and lock up 30 TDs.

  9. DK says:

    “Bad Vibes”…in Pittsburgh.

    What’s next? “Water is wet” or “Fat Chicks are Fun”?

    Geez, where’s the insightful commentary and analysis you can’t get anywhere else? I could have gotten this kind of ‘analysis’ from Grandma.

  10. Earmuffs says:


    You’re criticizing the analysis but only address the title, nor did you add any helpful insight yourself. There’s a big difference between the two, but I guess someone who takes shots for the sake of taking shots wouldn’t know the difference.

    The bad vibes have been there all off season, yet Mendenhall continues to go high. Some assume the bad vibes will generate a stronger focus on the running game–some think Ward will be relied on even more and boost up his receptions. John’s analysis takes it a step further and cautions against that way of thinking. He also addresses the obvious for those subscribers that don’t stay as current and rely on the site for the basics as well.

    I’m not sure if you’ve been part of the website for very long, but the articles about good vibes and bad vibes have helped many subscribers win their leagues with ease. It all starts with thoughts and articles like this.

    Why don’t you address the other 10,000 pieces of content of the site and let us know how they’re no help either.

  11. John Hansen says:

    Thanks Earmuffs! Brilliant, razor sharp retort!

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