In a surprising move, the Steelers have activated Rashard Mendenhall off the PUP list. This move is surprising because everyone, including Steelers GM Kevin Colbert himself, believed that Mendenhall would begin the season on the PUP and have to miss at least 6 games after tearing his ACL last December.
Mendenhall is doubtful for week 1 and, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, “could miss most” of September. The Steelers play 3 times in September before a week 4 bye. GM Kevin Colbert also seconds this report by saying that Mendenhall should be ready by “week 5 or week 6.” Obviously, they think he can go in the first 6 weeks of the season or they wouldn’t have made this move. Schefter also said that they made this move to “get him back into football shape” for October.
This obviously puts a damper on Isaac Redman’s fantasy value as he’ll have half, at most, of the games he would have originally had to prove he is in the superior back, which his play last season suggests he is. He’ll be the lead back for about 3 weeks and then will probably split carries, at most, with Mendenhall, even though he is more talented and Mendenhall is in a contract year coming off a torn ACL.
Expect about 15 carries per game for 3-4 games and then 8-10 carries per game for 12-13, which puts him right at about 160-180 carries. Mendenhall, meanwhile, will probably carry the ball 120-140 times and is now back on the fantasy radar. Unless someone gets hurt or a clear starter emerges, Pittsburgh’s backfield will be one to avoid in fantasy circles after the first few weeks of the season. Redman is being overdrafted with a 7th round ADP, while Mendenhall is being overdrafted with a 10th round ADP.
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