The Pittsburgh Steelers host the Kansas City Chiefs in the third preseason game on Saturday night. There are a few starting spots left to be decided, and fantasy owners will get a better look at players as the first team is expected to play most of the first half. Let's look at a few storylines to follow as the fantasy world heads into the biggest draft week on the calendar.
Who's playing RB in Pittsburgh?
Le'Veon Bell was set to win the starting job, but he will be out for about six weeks with a foot sprain. Hopefully you didn't have your draft yet, because that's a huge blow to owners who were taking him in the fourth and fifth rounds. The good news is that he avoided a Lisranc injury, so he still has a chance to help fantasy owners in 2013. Just wait until the late rounds to take him as a roster stash.
In the meantime, that leaves Pittsburgh's running game in a lurch. They're back to using the underwhelming duo of Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer. Neither player did much last year and I don't expect that to change this year. There are way better RB2 options around the league.
Markus Wheaton looking up
Emmanuel Sanders is the presumed starter opposite Antonio Brown, but rookie Markus Wheaton is making a strong case for more playing time. The speedy slot receiver caught four passes for 70 yards in the preseason so far and has looked dangerous after the catch. He's running with the second team right now, but he should have little trouble winning the slot role over Jerricho Cotchery. Wheaton is an excellent stash in Dynasty leagues.
Steelers running out of TEs
Heath Miller is still hurt and will probably start the season on the PUP. Matt Spaeth had a Lisfranc injury and is out for several months. None of the other TEs on the roster are worth mentioning. Look for the Steelers to run a lot of 3-WR sets this year.
Alex Smith limiting the offense?
Alex Smith's arm strength issues are well-documented, but it's been even more pronounced in this year's preseason. Dwayne Bowe has seen only one target in two preseason games as Smith has barely even looked downfield. Michael Crabtree's fantasy ceiling was hurt for years by Smith's weak arm, and Bowe appears to be in the same predicament. He's a terrible value at his fourth round ADP.