Cameron Heyward
Cameron Heyward
31-Year-Old Defensive EndDE
Pittsburgh Steelers
2020 Fantasy Outlook
Heyward went insane in the tackle category last year, somehow totaling 32 more tackles than the prior year (83 to 51) on just 43 more snaps (885 to 842). His previous career high was 59 tackles, so we should probably assume last year's breakout was a one-time thing, perhaps precipitated by the profound struggles of the Pittsburgh offense without Ben Roethlisberger. If Roethlisberger can bounce back from his elbow injury, the Steelers offense should score more points and force more pass attempts than in 2019, resulting in fewer tackle opportunities for Heyward. Even so, Heyward was annually right on the DL1 borderline in most IDP systems, and the fact that the Pittsburgh defense turned a corner with its pass rush last year could leave Heyward in position to offset some of his tackle decline with a shot at double-digit sacks. Read Past Outlooks
RANKS
#145
ADP
#Subscriber-Only
IDP
$Signed a four-year, $65.6 million contract with the Steelers in September of 2020.
Agrees to restructure contract
DEPittsburgh Steelers
February 22, 2021
Heyward and the Steelers have reached an agreement to restructure his contract, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
ANALYSIS
It's a typical restructure, mostly converting base salary to a signing bonus. The move adds about $7 million in 2021 cap space for the Steelers, and it all but ensures Heyward will stay with the team for another season. The 31-year-old defensive end recorded only four sacks in 2020, but he made his presence felt with 54 tackles and 19 QB hits, earning a Pro-Bowl nod for the fourth straight year.
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Snap Distribution / Depth Chart
Snap Counts
Snap %
Pittsburgh SteelersSteelers 2020 DE Snap Distribution See more data like this | See last season's snap counts
#% of Team Snaps

86679%
83176%
16515%
13112%
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2020 Cameron Heyward Split Stats
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Measurables Review
How do Cameron Heyward's measurables compare to other defensive ends?
This section compares his draft workout metrics with players at the same position. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that metric and it would be considered average.
Height
6' 5"
 
Weight
295 lbs
 
40-Yard Dash
4.95 sec
 
Vertical Jump
30.0 in
 
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
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2012
Heyward is one of the league's most respected 3-4 linemen, and with Pittsburgh's pass rush taking off there is decent upside even as he passes 30 years old. Aside from a 12-sack showing in 2017, Heyward reliably produced in the 50-tackle, 7-8 sack range the last six years, and there's perhaps room for growth with that sack production, especially with front-seven prospects like T.J. Watt and Devin Bush posing major blitz threats in Pittsburgh. While there probably isn't DL1 upside, it would disappoint if Heyward isn't one of the top-earning DL2 types this year.
The son of Ironhead has only built on his father's legacy, establishing himself as an arguably better player at a more valuable position. With 12 sacks on just 787 snaps last year, Heyward took the leap from a merely 'good' 3-4 lineman to a properly feared one, and while some regression might occur, he almost certainly turned a corner in his development. Given that he normally plays 950 or more snaps during his healthy seasons, Heyward could also offset per-snap regression by simply playing more.
Heyward strung together five consecutive 16-game seasons prior to sitting out nine contests in 2016 due to a pectoral injury. He's still recovering as camp approaches, but look for him to return to the three-year average of 55.3 tackles and 6.5 sacks he's recorded during his tenure as a full-time starter for the Steelers if he's able to return to full health in time for the season opener.
Heyward has been highly consistent over the last three years, emerging as a reliable mid-tier DL2 in most formats by posting 59, 53 and 54 tackles in consecutive years while adding five, 7.5 and seven sacks in those same respective seasons. There's not much reason to think his ceiling will change anytime soon, but the same is true of his floor. If other front seven players like Tuitt, Bud Dupree and Ryan Shazier can take a step forward this year, Heyward could conceivably improve his pass-rushing numbers as the surrounding players assist with more pressure on opposing QBs.
Son of Ironhead took the next step in his development last season, making a big impact behind the line of scrimmage with career highs in tackles for loss (11) and sacks (7.5). Heyward is among the more stable D-Line IDP options, as he's locked into the lead role on the Pittsburgh defensive line and has a 50-tackle floor even if he plays only about 800 snaps. As a 3-4 end, though, Heyward might play in too much traffic for high upside as a tackler or pass rusher.
Heyward has not missed a game since being selected with the 31st overall pick in the 2011 draft and his production continues to trend in the right direction. He led the Steelers' defensive lineman in virtually every IDP statistical category last season, accumulating 59 tackles, five sacks and seven passes defensed. The team already exercied the fifth-year option on his rookie contract, so Heyward should continue to be an every-down lineman with room to grow statistically.
Heyward has been a disappointment since being selected in round one of the 2011 draft. He'll return to back-up Brett Keisel this season.
Cameron is a powerful defensive lineman that is a perfect fit for Pittsburgh's 3-4 scheme. The Steelers have the luxury of taking their time and allowing him to learn behind Brett "the Diesel" Keisel.
More Fantasy News
Will rest Week 17
DEPittsburgh Steelers
December 31, 2020
Heyward will sit out Sunday's game against the Browns, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
ANALYSIS
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Notches fourth sack
DEPittsburgh Steelers
December 28, 2020
Heyward made five tackles (two solo), including a sack, in Sunday's 28-24 win over the Colts.
ANALYSIS
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Ties for team lead in tackles
DEPittsburgh Steelers
December 22, 2020
Heyward had seven tackles (three solo) during Monday's 27-17 loss to the Bengals.
ANALYSIS
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Notches Wednesday afternoon sack
DEPittsburgh Steelers
December 3, 2020
Heyward registered two tackles, including one sack, during Wednesday's 19-14 win against the Ravens.
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Practices in full Wednesday
DEPittsburgh Steelers
November 4, 2020
Heyward (quadriceps) was a full participant in practice Wednesday, Teresa Varley of the Steelers' official site reports.
ANALYSIS
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