Steelers news: Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger landed on the reserve/COVID-19 before Week 10 following an outbreak. With the Steelers set to face the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, Roethlisberger’s availability for the AFC North clash seems to be decided.
After sitting next to tight end Vance McDonald, who tested positive for the coronavirus, the Steelers immediately placed Roethlisberger on the reserve list as a high-risk close contact. Fortunately for the team, things seem to be trending in the right direction for Big Ben’s return.
Steelers news: Ben Roethlisberger expected to play in Week 10?
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Roethlisberger is expected to be activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday. He has continued to test negative for the virus since isolating and hasn’t shown any symptoms associated with COVID-19. With one final negative test result on Saturday morning, he would be cleared to return and would start in Week 10.
Following numerous COVID-19 outbreaks, the NFL further enhanced its protocols. Beginning in October, any players who contact tracing determined were “high-risk” close contacts of someone carrying the virus had to be quarantined. Under the guidelines, a player or staff member must test negative for five consecutive days before being allowed to practice or play.
The Cleveland Browns recently went through this situation with quarterback Baker Mayfield. He was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list the Sunday of Week 9, after coming in close contact of a coach who tested positive. Fortunately, he was cleared to return on Wednesday and will star in Week 10.
While the Steelers will get some of their players back for Sunday’s game, McDonald will not be able to play. If he continues to show no symptoms, there is a chance he could return in Week 11. Barring a sudden outbreak on Saturday, with the virus spreading to a significant number of players, the Steelers will play the Bengals on Sunday.
Fantasy impact of Ben Roethlisberger’s return
The news is great for the Steelers and fantasy football players. If Mason Rudolph stepped in at quarterback, it would be a massive blow for this offense and Pittsburgh’s contention hopes.
Entering Week 10, Cincinnati’s defense is allowing 260.6 passing yards per game with a 91.6 quarterback rating. There are some weaknesses for Pittsburgh to attack, with JuJu Smith-Schuster and Chase Claypool facing favorable matchups against Cincinnati’s No. 2 and No. 3 cornerbacks.
Big Ben isn’t the quarterback he used to be, which isn’t a surprise in his age-38 season. However, he recorded 306 passing yards and three touchdowns in Week 9 against the Cowboys. While this matchup isn’t as favorable, 250 passing yards and two touchdowns can be accomplished.
Consider Roethlisberger a top-12 quarterback for Week 10, with a safe floor. He should be avoided in DFS, given there isn’t much of a ceiling to his potential fantasy output.
Pittsburgh Steelers schedule
As the NFL’s lone undefeated team, the Pittsburgh Steelers are in a great position to finish with the best record in the AFC. It’s even more important this season with only one team in each conference, the No. 1 seed, receiving a first-round bye.
Sitting at 8-0, the Steelers are poised to continue their winning streak. They are favored to beat the Bengals and the schedule after that is still comfortable.
- Week 10: vs. Cincinnati Bengals
- Week 11: @ Jacksonville Jaguars
- Week 12: vs. Baltimore Ravens
- Week 13: vs. Washington Football Team
- Week 14: @ Buffalo Bills
- Week 15: @ Cincinnati Bengals
- Week 16: vs. Indianapolis Colts
- Week 17: @ Cleveland Browns