Fantasy Football: Ben Roethlisberger is a QB1 Being Drafted as a QB2

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger

For whatever reason Ben Roethlisberger isn’t being mentioned with the elite fantasy football signal callers this off-season. Whether it has to do with Mike Wallace leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers to sign with the Miami Dolphins or Roethlisberger missing three games last season due to a shoulder/rib injury whenever the topic of elite fantasy football quarterbacks comes up Roethlisberger’s name isn’t included in the discussion.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throws a pass against the Cleveland Browns during the second half of the game at Heinz Field Jason Bridge USA TODAY Sports

It could also have something to do with how many really good fantasy football quarterbacks there are at the moment and that the NFL and the fantasy football community has a “What have you done for me lately mentality?” Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Robert Griffin III, Tom Brady, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan. Those are the guys getting the pub lately and rightfully so.

That, however, doesn’t mean Roethlisberger should be forgotten. Right now in 12-team leagues Roethlisberger has a QB ADP of QB14. With an actual ADP of 124.21, which has him going on average in the middle of the 10th round. His ADP last year was 92.95 (early eighth-round range), and he was the 13th QB drafted on average. In 2-QB fantasy football leagues that puts him right at the top of the QB2 chain.

There has also been an injury-prone label attached to Roethlisberger, which he might not ever be able to shed because he plays the most high profile position in football and that he always seems to be playing banged up. But that label isn’t entirely justified and why you shouldn’t be afraid of his injury-prone label is because the most amount of games he’s ever missed in one season was in 2010 when he was suspended for four games.

Since being named the Steelers’ starting quarterback in the third game of the 2004 season Roethlisberger has only missed a total of 12 games due to injury and while he only has one full 16-game season on his resume he has played in 15 games four times in his career.

As for Roethlisberger’s fantasy football career a reason why he might not be considered among the best of the best could be that he hasn’t consistently been a top fantasy football performing quarterback, when you look at it from a QB1 perspective.

Below I’ve posted how Roethlisberger finished the season in terms of fantasy quarterback rankings in standard scoring leagues:

  • 2004 – QB20
  • 2005 – QB17
  • 2006 – QB13
  • 2007 – QB4
  • 2008 – QB19
  • 2009 – QB9
  • 2010 – QB15
  • 2011 – QB13
  • 2012 – QB18

Every season Roethlisberger has been a QB2 with two QB1 performances and two additional years where he missedQB1statusbythismuch.

Roethlisberger’s fantasy production probably has something to do with why he’s not being drafted as a QB1 at the moment in these very early mock drafts that have been going on. While Roethlisberger’s 2012 fantasy points season only saw him as the 18th highest scoring quarterback in standard scoring and the 16th highest scoring fantasy quarterback in 6-point passing touchdown leagues there was one stat that caught my eye during my off-season research that had me intrigued with Roethlisberger’s 2013 potential: weekly average fantasy points rankings.

When you take a look at average points rankings from last season Roethlisberger was the 12th highest weekly scoring fantasy QB in standard leagues with a weekly average of 17.22 fantasy points and in 6-point passing touchdown leagues Roethlisberger was the 8th highest scoring weekly fantasy quarterback with an average of 21.22 fantasy points. Roethlisberger’s weekly averages over the span of a full 16-game fantasy season would have amounted to 275.52 points in standard scoring leagues and 339.52 points in 6-point passing touchdown leagues last season. Both of those averages and total fantasy points would have had him in the QB1 range of fantasy football quarterbacks last year.

Being able to draft a QB1 with a QB2 ADP in fantasy football is the goal of all 2-QB fantasy football owners and Roethlisberger fits that bill perfectly right now.

There’s not much I can do with projections other than to try and come up with a stat line for Roethlisberger for next season but how accurate and useful would that be? On the other hand using the RotoViz QB Similarity Scoring APP and plugging in Roethlisberger’s 2012 season, minus the three games he missed due to injury, gives us a better idea as to what we can expect out of Roethlisberger in 2013 and it’s looking pretty good for Big Ben.

The similarity scores for Roethlisberger has some very favorable comparisons and below is the top comparisons, or Roethlisberger’s “ceiling” and where the comparable players finished in terms of fantasy football rankings the year after their comparable 2012 Roethlisberger season:

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Roethlisberger has the potential to put up those types of fantasy points in 2013 based on the RotoViz QB Similarity App and there’s no way you can’t get excited by those numbers.

RotoViz also shows the downside of comparable players, or Roethlisberger’s “floor” and for Roethlisberger’s 2013 stay-away-from potential the RotoViz QB Similarity App spit out these names and this is how they did the year after their comparable 2012 Roethlisberger season:

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Yikes. Right? You want to know the good and the bad when it comes to researching fantasy football players and RotoViz does a great job in showing you both sides of the coin. But in this case there’s more good than bad when it comes to Roethlisberger.

Just take a look at the chart for yourself and you’ll see what Roethlisberger’s upside and downside is for next season in easy-to-digest chart form. You’ll want to ignore 2008 Matt Hasselbeck, 2010 Tony Romo, 2005 Billy Volek and 2011 Kyle Orton comparisons because they each appeared in nine games or less.


This is how the rest of the quarterbacks that I didn’t mention earlier in the above chart fared in the year after their comparable 2012 Roethlisberger season:

Screen Shot 2013-04-01 at 11.25.21 PM

Minus Roethlisberger’s 2010 season each of those comparable quarterbacks finished as a QB1 in the year after their comparable 2012 Roethlisberger season and that should give you a reason to target Roethlisberger later in your draft as your QB2 in 2-QB drafts, as you can walk away from your draft having two QB1 quarterbacks on your team if you draft one of the elite fantasy quarterbacks earlier in your draft. In 2-QB fantasy football leagues it’s harder to find value at the quarterback position but Roethlisberger could potentially turn out to be the best value of them all.

Stats used in this article courtesy of, The Fake Football, RotoViz and

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Salvatore Stefanile
Salvatore Stefanile is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and believes that 2-QB fantasy football leagues will be the future of fantasy football. You can read about his 2-QB fantasy football opinions and analysis at