The Duel

3 Steelers Players Who Have a Make-or-Break Season Ahead in 2020

David Kaestle
James Conner is heading into a crucial year in 2020.
James Conner is heading into a crucial year in 2020. / Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
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The Pittsburgh Steelers have high hopes coming into the 2020 season, thanks in part to the return of starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. However, that's not to say they don't have members of their team that should view next season as a make-or-break year.

If things don't go well for these players in 2020, they could find themselves seeing a reduced role on the team, or even on their way out of Pittsburgh entirely.

1. James Conner

James Conner needs a big 2020.
James Conner needs a big 2020. / Leon Bennett/Getty Images

James Conner stepped in and filled the void left by Le'Veon Bell in fantastic fashion two years ago. Of course, that's not to say there haven't been some concerns in the past two seasons. While he's played well when on the field, staying on the field has been part of Conner's problem. He played in 13 games in 2018 and that dropped down to 10 in 2019. If Conner can't find a way to stay on the field consistently, the Steelers might be forced to look at more secure options, or at least a full-blown running back-by-committee approach moving forward.

2. Bud Dupree

Bud Dupree will be playing under the franchise tag in 2020.
Bud Dupree will be playing under the franchise tag in 2020. / Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Prior to the 2019 season, many were beginning to consider Bud Dupree as a bust. Yet, last season he seemed to finally turn things around, recording career highs in sacks (11.5), tackles (68), tackles for loss (12), QB hits (17) and forced fumbles (4). Although, even the Steelers seem to be apprehensive to commit to him long term, given they used the franchise tag on Dupree this offseason. If Dupree puts together equal or better production in 2020, then a long-term deal might be in order, but if he goes back to his old ways, Pittsburgh might very well choose to move on, or at least offer a much smaller deal.

3. Eric Ebron

Eric Ebron needs to have a huge year in his first season with the Steelers.
Eric Ebron needs to have a huge year in his first season with the Steelers. / Michael Hickey/Getty Images

This might seem like an odd choice given it's his first season with the team, but Eric Ebron is at a career crossroads. After disappointing in Detroit, Ebron moved on to the Indianapolis Colts where he experienced a huge season in 2018, hauling in 13 touchdowns, more than double his previous career high. In 2019 he took a major step back when Jack Doyle was reintroduced to the lineup. Now in an offense and with a quarterback that likes to get his tight ends involved, the athletic Ebron will have to put together a season much like his one two years ago to prove he wasn't just a one-hit wonder. If that doesn't happen, the Steelers might bring someone someone else in.


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David Kaestle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, David also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username davekaestle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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