By Eric Schmidt

The Pittsburgh Steelers running game could be getting some help very soon. The Steelers, currently ranked 30th in the NFL with their ground game, are expecting the return of RB Rashard Mendenhall for Week Five. Mendenhall has been recovering from ACL surgery and should be back in the Pittsburgh lineup after the team’s bye week. He was a full participant in the Steelers practice on Wednesday. The Steelers can use some help right now in the running game.

Without Mendenhall in the lineup, the Steelers are averaging just 70 yards per game on the ground. Neither Jonathan Dwyer nor Isaac Redman have stepped up to fill the void created by Mendenhall’s absence. Dwyer has just 71 yards rushing with a long of 11 yards and Redman has just 45 yards on 23 carries so far this season.

Fantasy owners should be wary of adding Mendenhall to their lineups. Typically, running backs that are coming off ACL surgery (not named Adrian Peterson) have issues making cuts and seem to lose some burst.

Fantasy impact- Mendenhall should not be considered an immediate fantasy impact player. It could take some time for him to return to his prior form. His first game back will be against the Philadelphia Eagles, a team which is currently 15th against the run. If you currently have either Redman or Dwyer on your roster, it would be a prudent move to pick up Mendenhall and stash him on your bench. If Mendenhall can return to 80% of the back he was prior to his injury, he is a significant upgrade over what the Steelers running backs are offering fantasy owners currently. Mendenhall has 29 scores in the last three seasons.

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