Let me first acknowledge the bias card; I am a die hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan, so I expect big things of all our players. Hell, It took me two seasons to give up on Limas Sweed. That said, I do have high expectations for Jonathan Dwyer and you'll have to trust me when I say, it's not merely because he's a Steeler.
As I wrote in my Rookie RB Impact article a few weeks ago, Dwyer is my little sleeper pick among the many rookie running backs of the 2010 class. Dwyer is a bulldozer. He reminds me a bit of Shonn Greene. He will power down the field, and find the endzone.
Despite the fact that he dropped into the sixth round and we're all hearing about guys like Ryan Mathews, CJ Spiller, and Ben Tate, the Georgia tech stand out is the closest thing to a feature back in this running back class. Once again the Pittsburgh got another draft steal.
Had he landed elsewhere he might have more outright fantasy value in 2010, but here are some compelling reasons why Dwyer is a solid 2010 fantasy football sleeper candidate.
ADP: 183rd – 51st RB selected
- There may be more opportunity for Dwyer in 2010 first meets the eye. Rashard Mendenhall had a fantastic year in 2009 taking over for Willie Parker. He ended the season as the 11th best fantasy running back and this season he's being taken in the first and second rounds of most drafts. But prior to Rashard's sudden breakout last season, he spent his rookie year on the IR and he struggled out the gate last year. rashard broke out in week 4 with 165 yard explosion, but over the remaining 14 games he only broke 100 yards rushing twice, and one of those came against the Oakland Raiders.
- Parker is gone, and someone is going to have to step in and spell Mendenhall. Dwyer is an excellent complimentary back, with Dwyer playing the bruiser to Mendenhall’s finesse and speed. I have him ranked right at #50, but he’s being drafted around the 19th round. He could be a nice little surprise.
- Ben Roethlisberger's absence to start the season will put more emphasis on the run game, this means more opportunity for Dwyer to get into the mix and prove his value.
- Tackle Willie Colon is lost for the 2010 season, which is going to weaken the offensive line. This puts more pressure on the running game and Rashard Mendenhall. Another reason we're likely to see a lot of Dwyer.
- Lastly, and you pray it doesn't happen, Mendenhall could get hurt, or the team could simply mix in Dwyer to keep Rashard fresh and healthy.
Summary: Mendenhall is considered to be a primary back in this age of RBBCs, but I suspect we’ll see more of Dwyer than you’d think. Any of the reasons above taken individually are a good reason to consider Dwyer a sleeper in 2010, but taken together, he's a definite handcuff for Mendenhall and one of 2010's better late round sleeper options. He's currently being drafted after Minnesota Vikings rookie Toby Gerhart in most drafts, which is crazy considering which player has a better chance to produce in 2010.
ADP taken from our friends at MyFantasyLeague.com