Player Round Table (Hines Ward)
By FBG Staff; Hosted by Maurile Tremblay
August 11th, 2010

Here at Footballguys.com, we have Spotlights and Faceoffs. Those features are fairly comprehensive, but they are limited to viewpoints from either one or two writers. Well some players need a little more commentary. We have decided open up the dialog and asked our staff to leave their thoughts on these players and what is expected from them in 2010. Here, discussion centers around WR Hines Ward.

Sigmund Bloom: Ole reliable, especially in PPR leagues. Expect 5-6 catches a game with 60-70 yards and a TD every other game or so. His upside is capped a bit by Roethlisberger's absence for 4-6 games, but he could also approach 100 catches with a new starter (Mike Wallace) being broken in on the other side of the field. He is one of the highest floor WR2s you can get, and since his game isn't predicated on physical gifts, there's little danger of a drop-off due to aging. A very good use of a 5th- or 6th-round pick in start-three-WR, PPR leagues.

Jeff Pasquino: It's difficult not to like Ward this year with Santonio Holmes gone, but the bigger concern has to be when Roethlisberger comes back. Ward makes for a solid receiver, especially in PPR leagues, but the ADP of WR23 is a tad high. I'd much rather have him as a WR3 than as a WR2. I think Pittsburgh is going to be struggling more than usual this season, which should mean more work for Ward.

Andy Hicks: A number of things worry me about Hines Ward this year, particularly his QB situation, his age, and the Steelers' lack of other stellar receiving options.

Hines Ward will get his share of targets and receptions no matter who is under center during Ben Roethlisberger's forced vacation, but he may not get many TDs. Ward needs his 6 or 7 TDs to live up to his ADP, and poor or average QB play may make that all but impossible.

Also, while Ward has been a warrior throughout his career, it has taken a toll on his body. He'll be 34 this year, and has stated that he may not play out the remaining three years on his contract if the Steelers win a Super Bowl or if there is a protracted lockout. The fact that he's already got an early retirement kicking around in his mind isn't a great sign, and may portend a drop-off in production sooner than many are expecting. I'd rather get off the Ward bandwagon a year too early than a year too late.

Finally, Mike Wallace may not be ready for a role as a starter, and that could impact the entire offense. The return of Antwaan Randle El should ease the pressure on the offense, but without the presence of Santonio Holmes, Ward will be the one who has to fight off extra coverage.

Still, after acknowledging those concerns, I will say that Ward is a relatively low-risk WR with a high floor, simply because of the number of targets he should get. I'd be happy with him as my WR3.

Maurile Tremblay: I think Ward is very underrated this season. The Steelers can't control the ball by keeping it on the ground anymore. Roethlisberger, once he returns from suspension, will put the ball in the air quite a bit, and Ward is by far his most reliable target. Ward was targeted 136 times last season, and with Santonio Holmes gone, I don't think that number will go down. With Ward's talent, if you feed him 135+ targets, you are going to get 80+ receptions and 1,000+ yards, easy. Ward was the 16th best fantasy WR last year (non-PPR leagues), and I don't see him dropping off this season. I think he's an absolute steal at his current draft position.

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