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NFL player prop of the day: Ben Roethlisberger looking for a rebound at age 39

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We all suffer from recency bias. And it's strong with Ben Roethlisberger.

Late last season, the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback struggled to throw the ball. He did throw for 501 yards in a playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns, but that was mostly dismissed because all of his stats came after the Steelers fell behind big. The combination of Roethlisberger's age (he was 38 last season) and him coming off major elbow surgery seemed to show. 

After the way last season ended you'd have a hard time finding much optimism about Roethlisberger, or the Steelers as a whole. That is reflected in his passing yardage total prop at BetMGM

Can Ben Roethlisberger have another big season? 

Roethlisberger's total for passing yardage is a modest 3,900.5. At BetMGM 18 QBs have a higher total, and Ryan Fitzpatrick has the same total. Players like Sam Darnold and Tua Tagovailoa have a higher total than Roethlisberger. 

Is it an overreaction? Last season Roethlisberger threw for 3,803 yards in 15 games. If we assume Roethlisberger plays 17 games this season, he'd cruise by 3,900 yards at last season's pace. While we have focused all offseason on how Roethlisberger finished (without acknowledging he threw it just fine in the playoff loss, meaningless stats or not), he also did throw pretty well during the 11-0 start to the season. Well enough that he could get over 3,900 yards over a 17-game season anyway. He still has great receivers in Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster to make plays after they get the ball in their hands. Those yards count too. 

OK, now on to the bad stuff. 

Roethlisberger had 602 attempts, 18 behind league leader Matt Ryan. Roethlisberger would have led the NFL had he played in all 16 games. That number will come down. The Steelers drafted running back Najee Harris and they will use him. The Steelers are probably aware that 40 attempts per game for a 39-year-old quarterback with major elbow surgery in his past is not a good idea. 

Roethlisberger also was a much different quarterback in 2020. He was getting rid of the ball fast, throwing short way more often than he had before. Part of that was a bad offensive line, and it's not expected to be any better this season. It's likely the Steelers coaches also realized Roethlisberger had some limitations coming off his elbow injury. It's hard to believe the Steelers would open it up this season with Roethlisberger a year older. 

We're left with an aging quarterback who won't be throwing as much as he did last season, won't be throwing deep very often and will be playing behind an offensive line expected to be one of the worst in football. There's also questions about his physical ability to throw the ball given his elbow. He'll also be facing a couple tough defenses within the division when the Steelers face the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns. It seems hard to believe the Steelers would bench their future Hall of Fame quarterback during the season, but it's possible and something that could clinch the under. 

The drawbacks are baked into the total, which is pretty low. Roethlisberger wouldn't have to be great to go over 3,900 yards. The line is probably too low, but it's still hard to punch the ticket for the over either. If you like either side of the Roethlisberger passing yardage prop, there's more than enough evidence to support your opinion. 

Ben Roethlisberger looks for a better finish to this season. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Ben Roethlisberger looks for a better finish to this season. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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