The countdown to the NFL season is on! With free agency and the draft officially over and done with, the dog days of the NFL summer have officially arrived. Now that we have plenty of time on our hands, it is time to begin prepping for fantasy football!
The growing industry of fantasy football seems to only get more intense each year, and whether you like redraft, dynasty, keeper, or something else, there is something for everyone when it comes to fantasy football. While redraft leagues for most may still be months away, we are already in the midst of dynasty draft season. Thus, it is time to take a closer look at the Steelers from a fantasy football perspective, breaking down which players are trending up, or down, following free agency and the draft.
If you have any thoughts on Steelers players from a fantasy perspective, be sure to share it in the comment section below!
George Pickens: Stock Up
Pickens showed consistent flashes of future dominance in Year 1, and many expect 2023 to be his breakout season. Although there may be more mouths to feed in Pittsburgh this season, Pickens’ role will be much more defined, and he is likely to be the focal point of the passing game. An improved offensive line also helps Pickens’ stock, as Kenny Pickett it likely to have more time in the pocket than last year. This increases the chances of Pickett connecting with him on deep balls. Proceed with caution with any Steelers receivers in redraft leagues this year, but Pickens is the best bet to give you the bang for your buck.
Diontae Johnson: Stock Down
Johnson did not catch any touchdown passes in 2022, which makes it difficult to imagine a much worse outcome in 2023. However, the additions of Allen Robinson and Darnell Washington will only take away more red zone opportunities from the undersized Johnson. How much will these additions cut into his target share? Only time will tell, but with George Pickens emerging into a WR1, Johnson is likely to take a back seat in the offense. His trade value is also unlikely to rise.
Allen Robinson: Stock Purchased
It is unclear as to how big a role Robinson will have in the offense. His presence in the locker room is enough to make him a valuable addition in general, but his fantasy value is still unknown. He is likely the WR3 on a team which boasts two pass-catching threats at tight end, which indicates a minimal impact in fantasy. However, we will not know until the season begins and we see how often he is on the field.
Pat Freiermuth: Stock Down
This one is rather obvious, as now Freiermuth has legitimate competition in the tight end room. This does not mean Freiermuth is in danger of losing the TE1 role in Pittsburgh, but he may sacrifice a few crucial red zone targets as the season progresses. Rookie tight ends typically come along slowly, so I would not expect Darnell Washington to make a huge impact early on. However, red zone targets is the biggest key to tight end success in the fantasy, and the loss of even a few can be detrimental from a fantasy perspective. Expect a lot of 12-personnel in 2023, but also expect a slight downtick in red zone looks.
Darnell Washington: Stock Purchased
Washington’s knee injury was slightly overblown during the pre-draft process, but it was enough to cause NFL general managers to pass on him for almost three whole rounds. The Steelers almost certainly got a steal in Washington, but it may be a slow start for him out of the gate as the team ensures he is 100% healthy, for it is completely unnecessary to risk a more chronic injury by putting him out there too soon. However, he does limit the ceiling of Pat Freiermuth when he is healthy, as his presence alone likely demands a handful of red zone targets.
Zach Gentry: Stock Down
If you planned on drafting Gentry before OR after the Steelers selected Darnell Washington, I would advise you to find a new pastime, as fantasy football simply is not your forte. That said, Gentry’s stock is only going further downward, as he is now the TE3 and unlikely to have any sort of impact on the Pittsburgh passing attack. Do not waste your time.
Which of the above names do you think are good options in fantasy football this season? Be sure to light up the comment section below with your thoughts on this and all things Pittsburgh Steelers!