Stillers Fantasy Football Outlook
I probably should have done this earlier�..I�ve received many queries, most of which, surprisingly enough, have come from non-Stiller fans, asking for my thoughts on fantasy football values for Stiller players.
The fantasy drafts are obviously completed, but nearly every fantasy team can (or must, if hit with injury) improve itself through mid-season acquisitions and cuts.
Here�s my take:
QB: I won�t even elaborate much here. If you drafted either Stewart or Graham, you should immediately contact your league commissioner and demand to be booted from your fantasy league. Graham might get some ok yardage from time to time, once he gets comfortable with Gilbride�s offense, as well if the team shifts its focus less on running and more on passing. Plus, Graham might see lots of passive defenses in the 2nd half of games, when teams are playing mop-up. Outlook: Unless ravaged by injuries on your roster, you�d be a fool to take or hold on to a Stiller QB.
WR: Plexico Burress and Troy Edwards lead this statistically-quiet group. Burress shows loads of promise, both as a downfield threat and a good RAC guy. His size alone gives him a huge mismatch against any defender in the red zone. 3rd receiver Bobby Shaw seems capable of emerging as a trusty 3rd receiver who will see a lot of PT. The team seems intent on using Edwards only on piddly 5-yard routes, making his fantasy value negligible. Outlook: Burress is a keeper. Otherwise, the struggling QB & offensive situation make any of the other WRs a risk.
TE: Mark Breuner is the perennial 19-catch per year wonderboy. His "great blocking" does you nothing for fantasy football. Graham does appear to far more look at his TE than Stewart ever did, so Breuner should easily best his typical 19-catch per year total. Still, Breuner is slow afoot and frequently has brittle fingers, which limit his fantasy value. Outlook: Unless you�re desperate, look elsewhere for a TE.
Kicker: The plus side of Stiller kicker Kris Brown is that Bill Cowher�s nickname is "Field Goal Bill". Cowher never saw a field goal that he didn�t like, unless Matt George was kicking in that one miserable �98 day in Tennessee. This gives Kris chances to kick FGs that many kickers, who are on teams that actually GO for touchdowns instead of playing turtle in enemy territory, don�t get. Kris also was very accurate in �99. The down side is that the Stiller offense doesn�t score many TDs, which will hinder Kris� PAT production, plus if the offense continues to struggle, the team won�t be in field goal position all that often, either. Outlook: Don�t go overboard to acquire Kris, but he�s a better option than many kickers.
Defense/ST: This defense is better than it showed in week 1 versus Baltimore. Kirkland missed most of the game, and Cowher, in his infinite wisdom, dressed only 5 DL while dressing 3 TEs, and when 1 DL left the game early on, the line wore down on that hot, humid day. On paper, the D created no turnovers against Baltimore, but sophomore Joey Porter had an obvious, legitimate strip of Tony Banks in the pocket, which Pittsburgh recovered, but Cowher, again in his infinite wisdom, refused to challenge on replay. Porter, who rotted on the pine almost the entire �99 season, brings an electric speed rusher that the team has been sorely lacking since Greg Lloyd�s heyday. The secondary is fairly solid and will produce some INTs. The rush defense will do better than the week 1 shredding by Priest Holmes. The special teams are as bland as a rice cake. Hank Poteat has done little to impress with his returns, and the main objective while watching any Stiller return is to simply pray that the ball is not bobbled or fumbled away. Outlook: The defense is solid and decent, but the special teams have no spark whatsoever. Unless you�re sucking wind badly with San Fran�s or Atlanta�s defense, avoid this one, primarily due to minimal output from the special teams.
Bottom Line: There are only 3 Stiller players worth agressively trying to acquire: Huntley, Burress, and Kris Brown. Due to their youth and promise, all 3 would be terrific for keeper leagues, and all 3 could provide some oomph to non-keeper rosters as well.