Rashard Mendenhall's fantasy value could finally exist with probable return in week 5

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Mendenhall might finally make his 2012 debut. We break down the fantasy implications.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall appears set to finally come back to the field after tearing his ACL late last season. Mendenhall has been practicing over the last couple of weeks but Pittsburgh wanted to exercise caution and not bring him back before he was ready and have been targeting this date against the Eagles for awhile. If reports that he looks "explosive" are true then it could be a match made in heaven since the Steelers are currently led in rushing by Isaac Redman with 72 yards in three starts.

Fantasy Take: So far the Steelers have been terrible at running the ball with only 2.6 yards per carry and neither Redman or Jonathan Dwyer (2.9 yards per carry) have done anything to supplant Mendenhall for any amount of carries once he's ready to go. It sounds like this exercise in caution will be worth it and fantasy owners might be able to get value out of Mendenhall (4.1 yards per carry, 9 TD in 2011) right away much like the Vikings got with Adrian Peterson.

For more fantasy info, head over to the SB Nation Fantasy War Room 4-8:30pm ET Monday through Friday and 8am to 1pm on Sunday. Check out SB Nation's own Fantasy Football game, Pick 6!

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