Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall is off to a slow start this year and suffered another setback with a hamstring injury in Sunday’s loss to Houston. Mendenhall’s status for this week’s game against Tennessee is uncertain and no update was provided after the game.
Before exiting the game, Mendenhall rushed for 25 yards on nine attempts and a touchdown.
The Steelers have been struggling to generate offense through the first four weeks of the season, largely due to a suspect offensive line. Injuries have hindered the line’s progress, but the front five has struggled to open up running lanes.
Mendenhall has only 173 yards and two touchdowns this season and is averaging a pedestrian three yards a carry. Although the fourth-year back tends to dance behind the line of scrimmage too much, the holes just aren’t there to run through. The last 100-yard effort by Mendenhall came on Nov. 28 against Buffalo.
Mendenhall was a top 10 fantasy back by most in the preseason, but will struggle to reach that status if the Steelers can’t find a fix for their offensive line.
If you have Mendenhall on your team and need a replacement, take a look at Pittsburgh’s No. 2 back Isaac Redman. He collected 40 yards on six attempts in Sunday’s loss to the Texans and would be in line for most of the work against the Titans if Mendenhall does not play. Mewelde Moore serves as Pittsburgh’s third-down back and would likely see 5-10 carries.
In addition to Pittsburgh’s struggles on the offensive line, Tennessee ranks as one of the NFL’s top 10 rush defenses and have allowed only one score on the ground this year.
Even if Mendenhall plays on Sunday, fantasy owners should be cautious about putting him in your lineup. And if he’s out, Redman seems to be a good RB3 or flex play against the Titans, but don’t expect much more than 70-90 yards and a touchdown.