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George Pickens Fantasy Football News | Shark Bites

Fantasy Football News 2024

Most Recent Fantasy Football News & Updates

The Panthers acquired WR Diontae Johnson and a seventh-round pick from the Steelers in exchange for CB Donte Jackson and a sixth-rounder, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. It's a relatively cheap price to pay for a guy with 332 catches over the past four seasons. Johnson's production has largely been volume-based, though. His 6.7 yards per target over those last four years ranks 67th among 71 WRs with 200+ total targets during that stretch. Johnson didn't rank better 23rd in yards per route in any of those seasons. That said, he immediately becomes the Panthers' clear No. 1 WR. And Carolina figures to throw it a bunch more than the Arthur Smith-led Steelers. QB play is a concern, of course, after Bryce Young's ugly rookie season. But the move is still a win for Johnson's 2024 fantasy value. In Pittsburgh, meanwhile, George Pickens will likely get a crack at No. 1 WR duties. The Steelers will certainly be adding to the WR corps this offseason, though. And Arthur Smith's run-heavy offense will keep Pickens' upside capped.

The Steelers are set to hire Arthur Smith as their new OC, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. Smith, of course, is coming off a baffling and underwhelming three-year tenure as Falcons HC, compiling a 21-30 record and oftentimes mismanaging his offensive talent. Smith, though, was much more successful as Titans OC in 2019 and 2020. Both of those teams ranked top-12 in both total yards and points, leaning on RB Derrick Henry to finish top-3 in rushing yards both years. We'd expect Smith to bring a run-heavy offense to Pittsburgh -- especially considering the team's questions at QB.

The Steelers-Bills game originally scheduled for 1 pm ET on Sunday has been moved to 4:30 pm ET on Monday. Buffalo is expecting heavy snow and wind gusts up to 60 mph on Sunday. The forecast for Monday calls for light snow, sustained winds around 15 mph, and gusts up to 30 mph. That's still tough weather for the passing and kicking games -- but significantly better than it would have been on Sunday. We're adjusting our projections for this game.

Steelers WR George Pickens paid off again, hauling in 7 catches on 9 targets for 131 receiving yards and a TD in Week 17 vs. the Seahawks. The second-year wideout’s efforts mark the fifth time this season that he’s surpassed the 100-yard mark and the fourth instance in which Pickens totaled 20+ PPR points per game. His big-play upside has been clear. But the QB play has been poor, and Pickens has struggled to find regularly strong target shares. A QB change could boost Pickens' dynasty value. For now, it’s appropriate to treat him as a low-end WR3.

Steelers WR George Pickens hauled in 4 of 6 targets for 195 receiving yards and 2 TDs vs. the Bengals in Week 16. His yardage in Saturday’s contest ranks as the third-highest single-game total in 2023 to date and also marks the fourth time this season that Pickens has exceeded 100 receiving yards. The second-year wideout has struggled to find consistency all season, though it’s possible he and QB Mason Rudolph will be able to build upon their newfound rapport in Week 17 vs. the Seahawks (13th-best WR matchup per our adjusted fantasy points allowed). Pickens will be worth considering as a WR3/flex option.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Thursday afternoon that Steelers QB Kenny Pickett (ankle) has been officially ruled out for Week 16 vs. the Bengals. Although Pickett had been able to log limited practice participation on Tuesday and Wednesday, it was widely anticipated that he would not make his return this week. HC Mike Tomlin had already named Mason Rudolph as the team's starter for Saturday several days ago, which lines up with our projections. Unless you are in desperation mode, it's best to leave Rudolph out of fantasy lineups. See where he lands in our current QB rankings.

Steelers QB Kenny Pickett will miss an "extended period" with his ankle injury, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac. We'll look for a more detailed diagnosis and timetable for Pickett's return, but it sounds like it'll be QB Mitchell Trubisky under center for the Steelers for the foreseeable future. He's completed 63.8% of his passes at 6.7 yards per attempt over the past two seasons in Pittsburgh. Trubisky will be a bottom-barrel QB2 in fantasy football but probably won't be a significant downgrade from Pickett for the offense.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport hears that there will be more focus on getting the ball to RB Jaylen Warren and WR George Pickens under new co-offensive coordinators Mike Sullivan and Eddie Faulkner. Novel idea to get the ball to your two most explosive playmakers! Warren was already a nice RB2 play in today's plus matchup vs. the Bengals. We'd still consider Pickens a risk/reward WR3 -- although this news makes him a bit easier to get into Week 12 fantasy lineups.

Steelers WR George Pickens (shin) is not listed on the final Week 12 injury report. He went from no practice on Wednesday to limited participation on Thursday to full participation on Friday. The shin shouldn’t be an issue in this weekend’s game vs. the Bengals.

Steelers WR George Pickens (shin) returned to a limited practice on Thursday after being sidelined on Wednesday. We'll see what he does tomorrow and how he's listed on the final injury report for this weekend's game vs. the Bengals.

Steelers WR George Pickens (shin) did not practice on Wednesday. We don't have any other details on the shin injury. We'll see if Pickens is able to get back on the practice field tomorrow, ahead of Sunday's game vs. the Bengals.

The Steelers have fired OC Matt Canada, who has been running the unit since 2021. In that time, Pittsburgh has ranked 21st, 26th, and 28th (so far this year) in scoring. Each season has found the offense ranking 28th in yards per play. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that the team plans to promote RBs coach Eddie Faulkner to OC but hand play-calling duties to QBs coach Mike Sullivan. Faulkner has coached Steelers RBs since 2019 (and previously served in the same role for the team in 2012). His only OC experience to date has been with Ball State in 2009-10. Sullivan has been coaching at the college level or higher for 30 years. He has been in the NFL since 2002, including stints as Buccaneers OC (2012-13) and Giants OC (2016-17). Those offenses finished -- in order -- 13th, 30th, 26th, and 31st in scoring; eighth, 32nd, 24th, and 25th in yards per play. Sullivan didn't get great QB play across those offenses. He started with fourth-season Josh Freeman in Tampa, and then got primarily Mike Glennon the following year. His two seasons at the Giants' offensive helm came in Eli Manning's age-35 and age-36 campaigns. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo says Sullivan has a "strong relationship" with Steelers QB Kenny Pickett, but the new guy probably isn't an upgrade on those previous situations. The switch should be positive for usable skill-position Steelers, though. Canada never won as a play caller and often sported questionable run-pass splits given the output. This year's Steelers also should find upside in a softening schedule. According to FTN's Aaron Schatz, Pittsburgh faced the league's toughest schedule so far this year by total defensive DVOA. Over a full season, the 2023 schedule to date would rank third-toughest of any team since 1981. You can see the negative fantasy impacts of those opponents on our Strength of Schedule pages. The remaining schedule ranks fifth-best for RB scoring and ninth-best for WRs. (Just 17th for TEs, though.) We'll see whether the run-pass splits change. That question plus Pickett's limitations make the WRs tough to get excited about. RB Najee Harris looks interesting, though -- especially because his trade cost has been driven down by meager production and Jaylen Warren's recent numbers.

Steelers WR George Pickens finished Thursday night's game vs. the Titans with negative-one yard. He caught two of his five targets -- the first for two yards and the other for a loss of three. Pickens failed to get his second foot in bounds for what should have been a relatively easy 12-yard TD in the third quarter. In his defense, one of the other misconnections was a sailed pass from QB Kenny Pickett on a crossing route for what could have gone for a big gain. But Pickens wasn't good in this one. And, more importantly, he was out-targeted nine to five by WR Diontae Johnson. That gives Johnson 23 targets over the last two weeks to Pickens' 10. So we're right back where we started, with Pickens as the No. 2 WR in a bad passing game. Consider him a risk/reward WR3 going forward.

Steelers WR George Pickens managed just 1 reception among 5 targets in Sunday's loss to the Jaguars. He did, at least, turn that catch into a 22-yard TD. Pickens saw just 1 target from Kenny Pickett before the QB left with a rib injury. That was eight fewer than WR Diontae Johnson's target total with Pickett. Mitchell Trubisky threw Pickens' way four times, though, just one fewer than he threw at Johnson. We wouldn't panic over Pickens' target count just yet. But we'll certainly be watching to see whether Johnson reclaims his role as clear top target.

Steelers WR Diontae Johnson led the team in targets (14), receptions (8), and receiving yards (85) in Sunday's loss to the Jaguars. He drew eight more looks than any other teammate and nine more than WR George Pickens. Most of that edge came before QB Kenny Pickett left the game. Johnson led the team with 5 targets from QB Mitchell Trubisky, but Pickens, TE Connor Heyward, RB Najee Harris, and RB Jaylen Warren each saw 4 Trubisky targets. That mean's Johnson's nine looks from Pickett constituted 56.3% of the QB's total attempts. We'll see about Pickett's injury (ribs) status for Week 9 and whether this was the start of Johnson reclaiming his favorite-target role. Or whether it's a one-game blip and he remains close with Pickens. Whoever lines up behind center for the Steelers in Week 9 will get a Tennessee defense that has played the run tough but also been a negative scoring matchup for QBs. The Titans have been positive for WR scoring, however.

Steelers WR George Pickens hauled 5 of 8 targets for a team-leading 107 receiving yards in Week 7 vs. the Rams. Sunday also saw the return of veteran wideout Diontae Johnson after missing the last four games due to a hamstring injury. Johnson recorded 5 catches for 79 receiving yards in the contest. Though the Steelers’ passing game hasn’t been potent in 2023, the 65.2% target share that this duo received confirms where fantasy managers can look for points on this roster in Week 8 vs. the Jaguars, even if TE Pat Freiermuth returns from his hamstring injury.

Steelers TE Pat Freiermuth (hamstring) is officially out for Sunday's game vs. the Rams. He reinjured his hamstring on Thursday and is expected to miss more time beyond Week 7, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. Darnell Washington and Connor Heyward have tag-teamed TE duties with Freiermuth out. Neither is a viable fantasy play. WRs Diontae Johnson and George Pickens should pick up more volume with Freiermuth out.

Steelers TE Pat Freiermuth reinjured his hamstring in Thursday's practice, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports. Freiermuth will miss this weekend's game vs. the Rams and "likely will be sidelined longer," per Pelissero. Freiermuth can be dropped in shallower fantasy leagues. His absence is good news for WRs Diontae Johnson and George Pickens' target shares.

Steelers WR Diontae Johnson (hamstring) expects to be ready to play Week 7, following the team's Week 6 bye. Johnson has been on IR since going down with a hamstring injury in Week 2. He managed just a 3-48-0 line in the Week 1 blowout loss to the 49ers but will return as a big part of Pittsburgh's passing game. It'll be interesting to see how big a target share Johnson claims after WR George Pickens' success in his absence.

Week 5 turned up a memorable game for Steelers WR George Pickens. He snagged 6 of 10 targets for 130 yards, plus a game-winning deep-ball score. Call it a fortunate outcome for fantasy owners, as Kenny Pickett continued to struggle while playing through a knee injury. Pittsburgh failed to find the end zone before Pickens’ score late in the 4th. Pickens will remain a boom/bust fantasy option following a Week 6 bye. Diontae Johnson (IR, hamstring) should return for that one.

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