The Pittsburgh Steelers have had an extremely tough go at things to kick off the 2019 NFL season. Yet if starting the year 0-2 for the first time since 2013 wasn’t enough bad news for Pittsburgh, we found out Monday morning that they will now be without their franchise signal-caller for the rest of the season.
With Roethlisberger on the mend for the foreseeable future, it will be second-year man Mason Rudolph under center for a Steelers team entering must-win.
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Steelers Believe in Rudolph
Pittsburgh has continuously shown faith in the former quarterback from Oklahoma State. From selecting him in the third round a season ago, despite Roethlisberger’s displeasure, to trading away Josh Dobbs to the Jaguars following week one.
In retrospect, the Steelers would most likely not pull the trigger on that trade had they known Big Ben would go down with injury. However, the fact that they moved on from a former fourth-round pick, showed that Rudolph is trusted internally, and the team has faith that the young QB could eventually become the team’s starter. They just didn’t expect that time to come so soon.
Yet, if you listen to Rudolph’s teammates, he’s ready to be the guy in Pittsburgh, at least a few Steelers offensive linemen believe so. Guard Ramon Foster stated, “Mason Rudolph prepares like a man, he wants this.” Fellow guard David DeCastro followed up Foster’s praise with some of his own. DeCastro stated “We like our chances. He’s a guy who cares a lot. That means a lot in this league.”
The quotes go on and on. From tight end Vance McDonald stating “Mason did a really, really, really good job today.” To DeCastro throwing his in the ring one last time proclaiming he was “Really, really, really impressed.”
One thing’s clear, the Steelers are really, really, really excited about Mason Rudolph as their new starting quarterback. However, should you be as enthralled about Rudolph’s outlook as a fantasy option moving forward?
Rudolph’s Fantasy Value
If you dig into Rudolph’s performance on Sunday you begin to realize that the love he’s been berated with may actually be warranted.
Rudolph registered a 92.4 QB rating, 63.2 completion percentage, and two touchdowns in his first-ever regular-season game action. His efficiency on Sunday is nothing new to people who have followed Rudolph’s game throughout the years.
While this season’s Steelers may lack the talents of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell in their lineups, they still have the skill level to help Rudolph produce.
He may not be AB, but JuJu Smith-Schuster is a legitimate WR1 in this league. James Conner finished last season as the sixth-best running back from a fantasy perspective. Vance McDonald is a reliable tight end. If the Steelers will stop being hard-headed and let James Washington overtake Donte Moncrief as their WR2, Rudolph will have of the more talented group of skill players in the NFL at his disposal.
Five of Rudolph’s next six games will be plus-matchups from a fantasy perspective. Two of which (Bengals and Dolphins) are bottom eight defenses in 2019 up to this point.
Ben Roethlisberger averaged out as the fifth-best fantasy quarterback from 2017-2018. Even if Rudolph is half of what Roethlisberger was, he becomes a viable fantasy option based on matchup.