Well, Roethlisberger has been good about avoiding the double teams on Ward and going to Burress, so I guess we'll have to see how that plays out, but I definitely still think he's a top 5 WR... That is, I can't think of 5 that would be better than him...
If Big Ben keeps lighting it up with Burress, and Staley keeps putting up good numbers, we should see the coverage on Ward loosen up... Especially since Ben is a threat on the ground much more so than Maddox was, so it will be much more difficult for teams to use nickel and dime defenses against Pittsburgh...
As far as his overall value goes...
The only WRs that I would trade him for are:
The only RB's that I would trade him straight up for are:
Jamal (yes, even with the suspension)
I wouldn't call his performance this year "lackluster", he started the season on a tear.
Most teams this year have been sticking their top cornerbacks on Burress, leaving Ward the room the put up big numbers. Lately, Plax and Big Ben have been devoloping a nice bond. In Week 4 Plax was a couple missed plays away from a 180 yd 2 TD game, and in Week 5 he tore it up for 136 yds and a score. If R Berger and Plax continue this tirade, I question Hines' ability to be a top WR.
He's a great receiver still. He's just not getting the bombs anymore because Ben is going to the more open receiver - and he's catching the ball!
Ward is more accustomed to the "possession receiver" role anyway. He's a magnet for first downs, receptions, and 15 - 20 yard TD's. I hope he starts getting some of those aforementioned TD's once they start covering Plaxico deep (can you tell I have Ward on my team?).
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hines has only had average games the last 2, dont forget he was named the AFC offensive player of the month for september. i am, however, starting to worry about this ben to plax duo. hines is def. the better receiver of the 2, but if he doesnt get thrown the rock, what good is he in FF?