Player News

Date: Team: Pos:

Sammie Coates earned two catches for 34 yards on five targets Sunday in the Steelers' AFC Championship Game loss to the Patriots.

Coates alligator-armed a perfectly-thrown deep ball by Ben Roethlisberger on the Steelers’ opening possession. He had a few more chances and eventually hauled in a 30-yard catch for the Steelers’ longest gain of the night. It looked like Coates was onto something when he averaged 84.2 yards over his first five games this season but he faded quickly while battling finger and hamstring injuries. A boom-or-bust deep threat with suspect hands, Coates has a ways to go before he's back on the fantasy radar.
Jan 22 - 11:24 PM

Jesse James delivered five catches for 48 yards on seven targets Sunday in the Steelers' AFC Championship Game loss to the Patriots.

James was busy in the first half but only caught one-of-three targets for six yards after halftime. It looked like he had a 19-yard touchdown late in the second quarter but replay showed that James was down about one foot shy of the end zone. The Steelers would eventually settle for a field goal. James was expected to take a backseat to Ladarius Green this year, but as usual, Green couldn’t stay healthy. The Penn State alum won’t be worth drafting in fantasy leagues this summer.
Jan 22 - 11:22 PM

Eli Rogers snagged seven-of-10 targets for 68 yards Sunday in the Steelers' AFC Championship Game loss to the Patriots.

In a surprising turn of events, Rogers emerged as Ben Roethlisberger’s go-to target on Sunday. He led the team with 10 targets and did a nice job finding space against a Patriots secondary that was preoccupied with covering Antonio Brown downfield. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy put a damper on Rogers’ day by stripping him in the third quarter, leading to Pittsburgh’s first turnover of the game. It wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies, but Rogers definitely showed potential in his first season of NFL action after missing his entire rookie year due to injury. Look for him to maintain his role as the Steelers’ primary slot receiver in 2017.
Jan 22 - 11:20 PM

DeAngelo Williams contributed 34 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries while absorbing all seven of his targets for 51 yards Sunday in the Steelers' AFC Championship Game loss to the Patriots.

Williams took over as the lead back after Le’Veon Bell went down with a groin injury late in the first quarter. D-Will offered a handful of nice runs including a five-yard touchdown dash in the second quarter, but was mostly bottled up against a stout Patriots’ run defense. He fell flat in the second half, recording just 10 yards on six carries after halftime. Williams made up for his lack of rushing success by playing an important role in the passing game, though none of it was enough to top a New England team that came ready to play on Sunday. It’s unclear what the future holds for Williams. He’s the oldest back in the NFL at age 33, but showed he still has something left in the tank by rushing for 258 yards during Bell’s three-game suspension earlier this season. The impending free agent may have one year left in him.
Jan 22 - 11:18 PM

Le'Veon Bell rushed six times for 20 yards and wasn't targeted in the passing game Sunday in the Steelers' AFC Championship Game loss to the Patriots.

Bell exited with a left groin injury late in the first quarter. He returned later in the half before leaving again on the same drive. Bell remained in uniform for the duration of the game, though it was pretty obvious he wasn’t coming back in. He ended up playing just 11 snaps while ceding workhorse duties to DeAngelo Williams. It was a disappointing end to a marvelous year for the fourth-year back. Bell is headed for free agency but the Steelers have made it clear they plan to give him the franchise tag if the two sides are unable to reach a long-term deal. You could make an argument for taking Bell first overall in fantasy drafts next summer, though Arizona’s David Johnson is also in that conversation.
Jan 22 - 10:51 PM

Ben Roethlisberger completed 31-of-47 passes for 314 yards with one touchdown and one interception Sunday in the Steelers' AFC Championship Game loss to the Patriots.

Roethlisberger matched Tom Brady punch for punch in the first half, completing 16-of-22 passes for 136 yards before the break. New England pulled away in the second half, however, and Roethlisberger couldn’t do much to stop the bleeding. Roethlisberger didn’t have much success throwing deep, often settling for check-downs to Jesse James and slants over the middle to Eli Rogers. His fourth-quarter interception was nowhere close to his intended target. Roethlisberger redeemed himself by throwing a 30-yard touchdown pass to Cobi Hamilton on the following drive, but it was too little too late. It didn’t end the way he would have liked, but Roethlisberger was still pretty darn good this year, even with a relatively thin receiving corps. It would be a huge boost to Roethlisberger and the entire passing game if suspended wideout Martavis Bryant returns to start opposite Antonio Brown next season.
Jan 22 - 10:46 PM

Antonio Brown pulled in seven-of-nine targets for 77 yards Sunday in the Steelers' AFC Championship Game loss to the Patriots.

As expected, Brown drew shadow coverage from Malcolm Butler whenever he was lined up outside. The Steelers were wise to shuffle Brown around the formation and he made a few nice plays out of the slot. Brown was a little sluggish in the first half but got going late with four catches for 51 yards after halftime. It wasn’t the ending he had hoped for, but the 2016 season proved once again that Brown is a rare talent and one of the most consistent receivers in all of football. He probably won’t go first overall like he did in most leagues last summer, but Brown remains a consensus top-five pick in all fantasy formats.
Jan 22 - 10:44 PM

Dion Lewis tallied 11 yards on six carries while securing both of his targets for eight yards Sunday in the Patriots' AFC Championship Game win over the Steelers.

Lewis emerged as New England’s clear lead back last week but played fewer snaps than both LeGarrette Blount and James White Sunday against Pittsburgh. New England’s run game was nonexistent until the second half and at that point the Patriots mostly leaned on Blount to kill clock. No team is more game-plan-dependent than the shape-shifter Patriots. We’ll see what they cook up against Atlanta in Super Bowl LI.
Jan 22 - 10:23 PM

James White carried the ball once for no gain while catching three-of-four targets for eight yards Sunday in the Patriots' AFC Championship Game win over the Steelers.

During the regular season, White finished third among running backs in both catches (60) and receiving yards (551). However, he’s had a hard time carving a role for himself since Dion Lewis returned from knee surgery. He only played two fewer snaps than LeGarrette Blount on Sunday but was out-touched 17-4. At the very least, White will mix in on passing downs when he suits up against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI.
Jan 22 - 10:20 PM

Malcolm Mitchell nabbed just one-of-four targets for five yards Sunday in the Patriots' AFC Championship Game win over the Steelers.

Mitchell’s only catch came on the Patriots’ opening drive. On that same possession, Mitchell dropped a pass on third down, forcing New England to settle for a field goal. He was only targeted twice more after that. Mitchell was understandably rusty coming off a month-long absence. The fourth-round rookie will look to redeem himself against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI.
Jan 22 - 10:18 PM

Martellus Bennett secured all five of his targets for 32 yards Sunday in the Patriots' AFC Championship Game win over the Steelers.

Bennett did well to catch all of his targets but took a backseat to Chris Hogan and Julian Edelman as those two combined for 298 of New England’s 384 passing yards. It was reported Sunday that Bennett has been playing with a cracked bone and bone spurs in his ankle and will likely need surgery after the season. He’ll get one more game in before he goes under the knife. That will come two weeks from now when the Patriots square off against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI.
Jan 22 - 10:16 PM

Julian Edelman snagged eight-of-10 targets for 118 yards and a touchdown Sunday in the Patriots' AFC Championship Game win over the Steelers.

Edelman has been rolling since Rob Gronkowski went out with a season-ending back injury and that trend continued in Sunday’s AFC title game. He ate up 41 yards on a catch-and-run on the Patriots’ opening drive and never took his foot off the gas. Edelman scored his fifth career playoff touchdown on a 10-yard strike from Tom Brady late in the third quarter. He’s now the Patriots all-time leader in postseason receiving yards with 937 and also set an NFL record with Chris Hogan for the most receiving yards by two teammates in a postseason game. This marks Edelman’s third trip to the Super Bowl.
Jan 22 - 9:59 PM

LeGarrette Blount rushed 16 times for 47 yards and a touchdown and caught his only target for eight yards Sunday in the Patriots' AFC Championship Game win over the Steelers.

Blount has spent the past month playing second fiddle to Dion Lewis but that changed on Sunday as he led the backfield with 17 touches. He was mostly held in check but did break out for a big run in the second half. Blount carried a host of defenders on his back en route to a highlight-reel 18-yard scramble in the third quarter. He plunged ahead for a one-yard touchdown on the following play. New England’s running game comes and goes but when they’re committed to it, the 250-pound Blount is always tough to bring down. Blount and the Patriots are headed to Super Bowl LI, where they will take on the Falcons at NRG Stadium in Houston two weeks from today.
Jan 22 - 9:56 PM

Chris Hogan corralled nine-of-12 targets for 180 yards and two touchdowns Sunday in the Patriots' AFC Championship Game win over the Steelers.

If they ever make a 30-for-30 about Hogan’s career, this game might be a good place to start. There was legitimate concern about how effective Hogan would be this week after sporting a noticeable limp in the locker room after Friday’s practice. Hogan erased any doubts about his health by having the game of his life, setting career-highs in yards, catches and touchdowns. He ran circles around the Steelers’ overmatched secondary while breaking Deion Branch’s team record for the most receiving yards in a postseason game. Hogan was left wide open on his first touchdown of the night and later scored a 34-yarder on a perfectly executed flea-flicker by Tom Brady. Next up for Hogan and the Pats is a Super Bowl LI matchup against the NFC Champion Falcons. That game will be held in Houston two weeks from today.
Jan 22 - 9:53 PM

Tom Brady completed 32-of-42 passes for 384 yards and three touchdowns and rushed four times for a loss of one yard Sunday in the Patriots' AFC Championship Game win over the Steelers.

Coming off a sluggish game against Houston in the Divisional Round, Brady was near-perfect Sunday in a convincing win over the Steelers. New England came out gunning, peppering the Pittsburgh secondary with short passes. That opened up things downfield for Chris Hogan, who led the way with a career-high 180 yards on nine catches. Brady delivered a spot-on flea-flicker to Hogan, who took it 34 yards for the score. He also dished out a 10-yard touchdown strike to Julian Edelman late in the third quarter, which essentially put the game out of reach. Brady is throwing the deep ball as well as he ever has and simply doesn’t make mistakes when he has time to throw. A win over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI would cement Brady’s status as the greatest quarterback of all-time.
Jan 22 - 9:51 PM


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