NFL Fantasy football: Roethlisberger’s red-zone woes

Scoring troubles: The Pittsburgh Steelers offense struggled in 2011, finishing 21st overall in scoring with an average of 20.3 points per game. Part of the issue was the play of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, as his completion percentage fell nearly 15 percentage points in the red zone. Although the team addressed offensive line issues during the offseason, receiver Mike Wallace is still in the midst of a contract dispute, and running back Rashard Mendenhall might start the season on the physically unable to perform list list. Throw in the quarterback’s relationship (or lack thereof) with OC Todd Haley, and more questions than answers remain if the offense can improve this season. After Roethlisberger finished 13th among all fantasy QBs and was plagued by turnovers, fantasy owners should take a more cautious approach. Though the quarterback is expected to see plenty of passing opportunities this year, his status remains as a borderline No. 1 or 2 quarterback.

Now or never?: According to NFL.com’s Michael Lombardi, Tony Romo is the key to the Cowboys’ success in 2012. “If Romo works hard and prepares hard, great things can happen for the ‘Boys this year.” Compounded with owner Jerry Jones‘ belief the “window is getting shorter,” expectations are as high as ever for the quarterback. After coping with injuries to key offensive players last year, Romo looks to enter training camp with all his weapons healthy. There is no reason to believe Romo won’t maintain his status as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in 2012. Although his play has been called to question on the field, he has been one of the more consistent producers at the position in fantasy leagues. Expect him to go off the board in the second or third round.

Losing patience: Playing in a celebrity softball game over the weekend, Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel was booed by hometown fans. With a losing record (18-22) when at the helm, the clock is ticking on Cassel to produce. Even if he does perform well on the field, his fantasy potential is limited. The offense is expected to feature a run-heavy attack behind Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis, leaving little scoring opportunity for the 8th-year quarterback. Expect to find Cassel on the waiver wire after fantasy drafts, as he will be picked up only if owners suffer a rash of injuries at the position.

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