The NFL is delaying the start of the offseason workout program, and that means we have to wait a little longer to see previously injured players getting back on the field. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is one of the most notable examples. He injured his elbow early last season and had to have season-ending injury following Week 2.
In a recent interview, Roethlisberger told The Athletic he is making such good progress in his rehab that, “I was going to be ready to go for OTAs and the minicamps. That was going to be the plan. Now I don’t know how much I was going to do, I don’t know if I was going to be doing team stuff or stuff like that, but I would have been definitely going to be out there ready to go.”
The Steelers were surprising not atrocious after Roethlisberger got hurt. After an 0-3 start, the team won eight of ten games and finished the season 8-8. It was a disappointment compared to preseason expectations, but it could have gone a lot worse. Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges were not clear long-term answers in place of Roethlisberger, but they were solid enough placeholders.
Roethlisberger just turned 38, and it’s tough to tell how much time he has left in his career. Prior offseasons brought retirement rumblings, but he continues to chug along. In 2018, he had one of the most prolific seasons of his career, throwing for a career high 5,129 yards and 34 touchdowns. He struggled out of the gate in 2019, but with less than two full games to consider, we can’t say if he was set to take a step back.
Roethlisberger was the third ranked fantasy quarterback in 2018, following a 10th ranked season in 2017 and 18th ranked season in 2016. If we’re trying to project out the 2020 season, somewhere in the top 15 seems a reasonable bet. He could work his way into the top ten on sheer volume, but given his age and coming off an injury, you should probably take a conservative approach to Roethlisberger when your drafts roll around.