Jonathan Dwyer

Jonathan Dwyer

Week Fourteen Analysis: Jonathan Dwyer's new role as Pittsburgh's primary back looked frustratingly similar to his old role as the lead dog of a committee. His 16 carries against Baltimore were par for the course, and while he scored his first touchdown of the season, he's now averaged just 45 rushing yards on 3.3 yards per carry in his last four games. San Diego allows less than 4.0 yards per carry, and they haven't surrendered a rushing score in their last four games, so there's not much to like about Dwyer this week.

Week Thirteen Analysis:
Jonathan Dwyer has finally been named Pittsburgh's primary back, and I'm making this ranking based on the gut feeling that Ben Roethlisberger returns with the Steelers fighting for their playoff lives. Dwyer has yet to score this season, but in the four games that he's received at least 15 touches, he's averaged a very respectable 95 combo yards. He'll have a nice opportunity to run away with the job this week against the 26th-ranked Ravens run defense. Dwyer went for 81 combo yards in the same matchup just two weeks ago, and he could certainly improve on that with his new job title.

Week Twelve Analysis:
Last week I described Jonathan Dwyer as the most effective of Pittsburgh's three-headed backfield, and he validated his ranking. Dwyer gained 81 combo yards on 15 touches, while Rashard Mendenhall mustered just 50 combo yards on 14 touches. With Isaac Redman battling back from a concussion, it could be more of a two-man committee this week, and I'm letting it ride with Dwyer over Mendenhall. Cleveland ranks bottom-10 against opposing backs in both rushing and receiving yards, and with Dwyer averaging over 5.2 yards per-carry over the last month, he should be able to get something done.

Week Eleven Analysis:
The Pittsburgh backfield is a fantasy mess. Jonathan Dwyer would appear to be the favorite to lead the team in carries against Baltimore, but Isaac Redman got the start last week, and Rashard Mendenhall looks like he'll figure in to some degree as well. While Dwyer has yet to score this season, he's carried 17, 17 and 19 times in his last three games, averaging a very solid 95 yards. The Ravens have given up eight rushing scores in nine games, as well as 121 rushing yards per contest, which ranks 28th in the league. It would be an exploitable matchup if we just had a little more clarity.

Week Nine Analysis:
Jonathan Dwyer has rushed for over 100 yards in each of his first two NFL starts, which is something Rashard Mendenhall has never done in his 53-game career. Mendenhall looks like he'll miss another week with an Achilles injury. And while Dwyer is nursing a quad injury of his own, he's expected to make his third consecutive start. The Giants have given up either a touchdown or at least 130 combo yards to six-of-eight starting backs this season, so if Dwyer indeed gets the nod, he's certainly a viable fantasy option.

Week Eight Analysis:
There are a million moving parts in Pittsburgh's backfield, but as of now, Jonathan Dwyer looks like he'll be the main man against the Redskins. Dwyer is coming off career highs of 17 carries and 122 rushing yards, and he'll look to build upon that effort against an ordinary Washington run defense that's given up five rushing scores in their last five games. You'll have to keep close tabs on this situation into the weekend, as the statuses of both Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman will affect Dwyer's fantasy outlook.

Week Six Drop:
The return of Rashard Mendenhall meant that Jonathan Dwyer was a healthy scratch while Mendenhall and Isaac Redman split the carries for the Steelers. Dwyer is the third option on a bad running attack, so drop Dwyer now.

  Car Yds TD Rec Yds TD Pts
Week 1 9 43 0 2 11 0 5.4
Season 9 43 0 2 11 0 5.4

Week Two Add: The Steelers running game is a mess right now.  Isaac Redman is hurt, and ordinary even at full strength.  Rashard Mendenhall is trying to come back from reconstructive knee surgery.  Chris Rainey is in the mix as a third down back.  On Sunday, emerging from that dreck, was Jonathan Dwyer, a big runner with remarkable slipperiness.  He brought a spark to the running game that nobody else could. I can't imagine that his play will be overlooked by the coaching staff, and I fully expect that he'll be getting a sizable uptick in carries beginning next week. I'd bid $12 on Dwyer.

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