Fantasy Football: Steelers getting thin at running back

Be sure to get our 2012 Fantasy Football Draft Guide for as little as $5.00.

We already knew that the Pittsburgh Steelers would be without running back Rashard Mendenhall until at least week seven, but we didn’t know that his backup, Isaac Redman, would also get hurt.

According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Redman tried to practice, but he “fell painfully on all fours as trainers attended.” This is not a good sign for the Steelers running back situation. With these injuries it might make the Steelers air it out more.

But, since someone has to run the ball, let’s go over the Steelers three options at running back.

Jonathan Dwyer

Dwyer was a sixth round pick of the Steelers in 2010 and has only carried the ball 25 times in his two seasons with the Steelers. His story in college was much different.

As a member of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Dwyer ran the ball 435 times in his last two seasons. He ran for 1395 yards in each season (oddly enough) with a seven yards per carry average in his second year. He also added 35 touchdowns in his college career.

His production is inflated because of the Yellow Jackets offense. Georgia Tech is known for their triple option offense. Nevertheless, Dwyer has proven in the past that he can perform with a full workload.

Chris Rainey

Rainey will likely enter the game on passing downs and will not be the Steelers every down back. This rookie running back is known for his elite speed, which he put on display as a member of the Florida Gators.

Rainey was more of a multipurpose player in college. He ran the ball, caught the ball and was the return man. In his last three seasons he had a total of 18 touchdowns; nine rushing, six receiving and three returning.

If Rainey is going to have an impact on the Steelers, he’s going to do it on plays that utilize his speed. This speedster was drafted in the fifth round this year for a reason.

Baron Batch

Batch was drafted by the Steelers in the seventh round of the 2011 draft. He tore his ACL during training camp last season and was placed on injured reserve before the season began. The Steelers were hoping to use him as their third down guy, a role he played well in college.

As a member of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, Batch made his living catching the ball out of the backfield. He had over 30 receptions in each of his final three seasons (45 in 2008, 57 in 2009 and 32 in 2010). He also rushed for over 800 yards his final two seasons.

Batch saw the most work during the Steelers first preseason game. He carried the ball 19 times for 41 yards.