FFL mailbag: June 30
Engel: I have Roethlisberger ranked ninth among QBs, which means I consider him a viable fantasy starter. When you consider that the QB field is filled with many question marks this season, Roethlisberger has given me clear indications he can at least be a stable statistical performer, and maybe better. His final numbers from 2005 aren't a true reflection of the terrific game manager and team leader he has become, and those qualities should translate into consistent playmaking in 2006. He threw for seven TDs and rushed for two more during the playoffs, when it became apparent he could make important plays at needed times. Pittsburgh's running game will be weakened by the retirement of Jerome Bettis, and Roethlisberger will have an improving Heath Miller as a key target. Plus, a smart and heady QB like Roethlisberger can make the most of whatever receiving targets he has by spreading the ball around. Tom Brady and Drew Brees are past examples of QBs who have distributed the ball well among lesser receivers at times. The Steelers might not engage in too many shootouts, but Roethlisberger can still provide steady TD totals even if he isn't explosive. I look for at least 3,300 yards and around 24 passing TDs, plus at least three rushing scores if he can play the full year. Let's not forget Roethlisberger can also scramble for scores. I think he will be reliable and sometimes above-average. Roethlisberger made clear strides forward in his development late last season and in the playoffs. I'm not saying he's an elite passer, but he'll be steady, and that's very important when you look at many other QBs who have injury questions or are plagued by inconsistency. He'll be solid enough to be a safe starter in most leagues as long as he has no residual effects from his recent unfortunate accident.
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