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Pittsburgh Steelers Fantasy Football News | Shark Bites

Shark Bites are the latest fantasy football news & NFL updates. Draft Sharks has been in business since 1999. And when we started, redraft was the dominant form of fantasy football. Check out what we've learned about this most basic form of fantasy football along the way.

The Athletic's Mark Kaboly named Steelers TE Pat Freiermuth one of the team's winners coming out of spring workouts. "Nobody performed better and more consistently for four weeks than Freiermuth," Kaboly wrote. "He had an instant connection with Russell Wilson and came across as a potential playmaker in Arthur Smith’s tight-end-heavy offense. ... Freiermuth might not have dropped a pass all month, and he’s talented enough to take a short pass and turn it into something big. Entering his fourth season, it’s the best he has looked."

Steelers WR George Pickens has been lining up in the slot more in new OC Arthur Smith's offense. Pickens played just 15.4% of his snaps inside as a rookie in 2022 and 16.9% last year. It sounds like that number will rise considerably in 2024.

Coming out of OTAs, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic says that he'd call Van Jefferson the Steelers' No. 2 WR "right now." He added that the answer certainly isn't clear yet. "To be honest, you can throw [Quez] Watkins, [Cordarrelle] Patterson, Calvin Austin III, Scotty Miller, Marquez Callaway and Denzel Mims in there as well," Kaboly writes. Notably, he didn't include Round 3 rookie Roman Wilson in that group. Kaboly also says he expects the team to "add a legit No. 2" before the start of the regular season.

Steelers RB Najee Harris has dropped weight this offseason. His trainer estimates that he's at 235 pounds now -- seven pounds lighter than his listed weight. Harris has upped his training time and cleaned up his diet.

The Steelers have declined the fifth-year option on RB Najee Harris' rookie contract. Harris would have counted about $6.8 million vs. the salary cap had the team exercised his option, so it's not a shocking development. But it's notable that Pittsburgh would rather let him hit the open market than pay what would be the No. 12 RB salary in the league by this year's average annual values. Harris has seen his carries per game and receptions per game decline each of the past two years, while also watching Jaylen Warren gain yards at a more efficient pace. It'll be interesting to see whether Pittsburgh plans any further decline for Harris' 2024 workload in the first season under new OC Arthur Smith. As it stands, Harris and Warren both look fine at best ball ADP. Feel free to mix either player (or both) in to your best ball drafting.

The Steelers signed Georgia RB Daijun Edwards as an undrafted free agent. Edwards spent his early years behind eventual NFL draft picks like James Cook, Zamir White, and Kenny McIntosh. Come 2022, Edwards split carries with McIntosh, a current Seahawk, and posted modest numbers (140-777-7). Last fall, Edwards was the 1A rusher ahead of Kendall Milton, who also went undrafted. Milton posted better efficiency than Edwards (6.5 yards per carry vs. 5.4) as the latter underwhelmed from an analytical perspective. Among 73 RBs with 150+ carries, Edwards ranked 56th in yards after contact per attempt and 45th in Pro Football Focus’ Elusive Rating. He also doesn’t project as a factor in the passing game. (He caught 1.3 passes per game over the past two seasons.) Through an optimistic lens: The 23-year-old is built compactly at 5’9, 207 pounds and runs with excellent power and patience. Edwards will aim to win Pittsburgh’s No. 3 RB job behind Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren. He can be ignored in redraft and dynasty leagues for now.

The Steelers drafted Michigan WR Roman Wilson in Round 3 of the NFL Draft. It took Wilson until his fourth season to lead Michigan in receptions or receiving yards. But his 2023 campaign was impressive. Wilson tallied a 48-789-12 receiving line, accounting for 25.1% of the team’s receiving yards and half of the receiving TDs. Wilson caught 71.6% of his targets on a 13.9-yard average target depth. That led to a huge 11.8 yards per target. Wilson ranked 29th in yards per route and 22nd in Pro Football Focus receiving grade among 286 qualifying WRs. The 5’11, 185-pounder played 65% of his snaps in the slot last year and figures to primarily stick inside as a pro. But don’t mistake him for just a short-range target. Wilson regularly won deep at Michigan last year and blazed a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at the Combine. He also has one of the most reliable pairs of hands in this year’s WR class, dropping only one of 50 catchable targets last season, per PFF. The Steelers lost 136 targets via trade/free agency. Wilson should handle a chunk of those alongside George Pickens. While QB play is a question mark for 2024, the Michigan product is firmly in play as a late-round stash.

The Steelers signed WR Cordarrelle Patterson to a two-year, $6 million deal, NFL Network reports. He's reuniting with OC Arthur Smith, who coached Patterson in Atlanta the past three seasons. Patterson averaged 10.2 carries and 3.4 targets per game across his first two years with Smith but just 3.6 carries and 0.9 targets per game last year. That was largely due to the arrival of RB Bijan Robinson -- but Patterson also struggled to just 3.6 yards per carry and 4.2 yards per catch. He turned 33 earlier this month. Patterson is unlikely to be a fantasy asset this season, although he could siphon some work from RB Najee Harris and especially RB Jaylen Warren in the passing game.

It was reported when the Steelers traded for QB Justin Fields that he was coming in to back up QB Russell Wilson. HC Mike Tomlin clarified the situation over the weekend, calling Wilson the favorite for the starting job but adding that Fields is in the mix, too. "When it's time to compete, Justin will given an opportunity to compete," Tomlin said. "But I thought it was appropriate to describe it in a way for when we get started. Russell's in pole position, and I think his body of work justifies that." Wilson was decent last year, completing 66.4% of his passes, averaging 6.9 yards per attempt, and ranking 19th among 30 qualifiers in Pro Football Focus' passing grades. It's certainly possible that he plays well enough throughout 2024 to keep Fields on the bench. But fantasy drafters should not be treating Wilson as a locked-in starter at this point. Fields, meanwhile, is tough to spend a pick on in early best-ball drafts. But this could be a nice time to buy low in dynasty leagues.

The Bears are sending QB Justin Fields to the Steelers for a low-level draft pick. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Chicago gets only a sixth-rounder in 2025 that will become a fourth-rounder if he plays at least 51% of Pittsburgh's offensive snaps this year. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that a source told him "Russ is the starter." That, of course, refers to Russell Wilson, also recently acquired. It's a steep fall for Fields but a decent landing, behind a 35-year-old starter in clear decline. Fields is also unlikely to have his fifth-year option picked up this offseason. So we're betting he'll hit unrestricted free agency ahead of the 2025 season. We'll see about Fields' status at that point. For now, hold him if you can in dynasty -- just in case he finds a starting opportunity this year. We've seen that Fields can deliver fantasy points even while playing iffy-to-poor football. But Fields isn't a must-hold in shallower formats.

QB Russell Wilson announced late Sunday night that he'll be signing with the Steelers after his release from Denver becomes official. The vet will be signing for just $1.2 million, thanks to the Broncos being on the hook for about $39 million. That Pittsburgh number is far from guaranteed-starter money. But Wilson's quick decision on the Steelers almost certainly means they guaranteed him at least a chance to compete for the starting job. If Wilson can't beat out Kenny Pickett this summer, it'd be either the worst sign yet for his career or a huge step forward for Pickett. We'll head toward summer assuming Wilson will emerge as the starter. The landing spot, though, isn't exciting for his fantasy outlook. And Wilson's arrival -- after the way he performed the past two years -- doesn't elevate Pittsburgh's pass-catchers.

As expected, the Broncos are releasing QB Russell Wilson. The team will endure large cap hits this year and next but avoid having to pay Wilson in 2025. He remained decent last year, rebounding vs. 2022 in most stat categories. But it clearly wasn't good enough for the Broncos, who turned to Jarrett Stidham to start the final two games. We'd bet on the 35-year-old Wilson landing another starting gig -- or at least a chance to compete for a starting gig. Denver, meanwhile, has to find a new answer. Stidham has never looked like a long-term NFL starter. The Broncos pick 12th in the upcoming NFL Draft, which might prove too late for any of the top four QBs. We wouldn't be surprised to see Denver try to move up. The values of WR Courtland Sutton, WR Jerry Jeudy, WR Marvin Mims, TE Greg Dulcich, and others will depend heavily on that QB decision.

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 Bears have fired OC Luke Getsy and other members of the offensive staff, NFL Network reports. QBs coach Andrew Janocko is also among the coaches being dumped. Chicago did improve its ranking in both points and yards in the second season under HC Matt Eberflus but still ranked just 18th and 20th, respectively. The Bears also finished just 22nd in offensive DVOA (a slight boost from 24th in 2022). It's tough to say whether these moves tell us anything about the team's plan at QB. Chicago could keep rolling with Justin Fields, move him and replace with a rookie, or keep Fields and draft a QB early. It'll be an interesting offseason for that spot no matter which path the Bears choose. And Fields remains a solid-to-good fantasy asset. We'd bet on him starting somewhere in 2024. You might not want to go buying him in dynasty, though. It's possible Fields' passing struggles knock him out of a consistent starting position beyond the coming season.

Steelers HC Mike Tomlin confirmed Tuesday that Edge T.J. Watt (knee) will miss Sunday's playoff game at Buffalo. That likely leaves rookie Nick Herbig as the playing-time leader in Watt's spot opposite Alex Highsmith.

J.J. Watt reports that the injury to his little brother's knee isn't as bad as originally feared. He says Steelers Edge T.J. Watt sustained a mere Grade 2 sprain to his left MCL. That could still knock the younger Watt out of Pittsburgh's playoff opener. But it gives him a better chance to play than previous reports or a tear or Grade 3 sprain. We'll see about Watt's status heading into Wild Card weekend.

Steelers RB Jaylen Warren saw a diminished workload in Week 18 vs. the Ravens. The second-year back tallied 33 rushing yards on 9 carries, along with 5 catches for 17 yards as a receiver in the contest. Though he played second fiddle on Saturday, Warren posted very solid production this season (nine games of 10+ PPR points) in a near-50/50 workshare with teammate Najee Harris. Warren also logged nearly twice as many targets (74) as Harris (38) in 2023, further solidifying himself as the preferred option in the Pittsburgh backfield for managers in half- or full-PPR formats. Look for him to continue yielding high-end RB3/low-end RB2 level value in 2024.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Steelers believe Edge T.J. Watt suffered a Grade 3 sprain to his left MCL in Saturday's win over the Ravens. Watt reportedly wanted to re-enter the game after sustaining the injury, but the team would not let him. He'll have further testing to confirm what is typically a multi-week injury. If the Steelers make the playoffs -- they need some help Sunday -- we'll see whether Watt can return for the opener.

Update: NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that it's believed to be an MCL tear. That would seem to make Watt unlikely to play in the playoffs, if Pittsburgh qualifies.

Steelers S Minkah Fitzpatrick (knee) is inactive for today's game against the Ravens. LB Elandon Roberts (pec) is active.

The Steelers list S Minkah Fitzpatrick (knee) and LB Elandon Roberts (pec) as questionable for Saturday's game against the Ravens. Each guy remained limited in practice all week and will carry some risk even if active. We'll check their statuses ahead of Saturday's kickoff.

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