Hines Ward fine no matter who's at QB

Updated: August 18, 2010, 3:30 PM ET
By Eric Karabell

Having just traded for Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward in a keeper league, I'm well aware of how productive he is. Ward is 34, but it sure doesn't show in his statistics. Still, one of my leaguemates seemed pleased I had made the deal, noting that we'd meet in Week 2 and Ward wouldn't have Ben Roethlisberger as his quarterback. I was a bit surprised by the exchange, wondering if people were really downgrading Ward and other Steelers weapons for the first four weeks because of Big Ben's suspension.

I asked around a bit to a cross-section of fantasy football owners, and while there was concern over Ward (he's not young, he's dealing with a sore hamstring), Mike Wallace (he's not proven) and Rashard Mendenhall (he lacks a good offensive line), I didn't hear much wavering directly because of the absence of Roethlisberger. I still expect his suspension will be reduced from six games to four and he'll be on the field for Week 6 against the Cleveland Browns (after the bye week).