Steelers OC Matt Canada commented on rookie WR George Pickens. “He can go down the field, he can make plays, he goes up and gets the football… we were impressed with his hands -- all those things you like about a wideout,” Canada said. “But I think probably for me sitting here, I think that [returning from a torn ACL late last season] said a lot about his character. He wanted to be part of that team, he wanted to be part of that championship and he fought to come back.” Pickens declared himself 100% healthy earlier this month. His 2022 path to targets isn’t clear, but it's easy to see him carving out a decent-sized role as the season develops. He’s currently our WR90 in redraft.
Steelers WR George Pickens led the team in receiving with 75 yards and 4 catches in Week 3’s win vs. the Raiders. Second-year wideout Calvin Austin III had a nice performance as well, hauling in 2 of 6 targets with a 72-yard TD. Fantasy managers also saw a bounce back from TE Pat Freiermuth in the contest. He totaled 3 catches for 41 yards and a score on Sunday night. This is the best that the Steelers’ passing offense has looked all season. Still, we’re not going to get overly excited about this one, given the poor state of the offense. We’ll see if this unit can build upon their achievements in Week 4 vs. the Texans.
Steelers WR George Pickens stepped up without teammate Diontae Johnson (hamstring) in the lineup, tallying 4 catches for 127 yards and a TD on a team-leading 10 targets vs. the Browns. No other Steelers’ wideout registered more than a pair of receptions. Given the poor QB play that Kenny Pickett has brought to the table to open 2023, relying on receiving production from anyone on this roster is a challenge. Even so, Pickens displayed his big-play ability with a 71-yard TD tonight and will be worth the gamble again in Week 3 vs. the Raiders.
The Athletic's Mark Kaboly lists WR George Pickens as one of the winners of Steelers training camp. "That proverbial next step by a second-year receiver appears to be in progress," Kaboly writes. "He’s no longer just a deep-ball or highlight-catch guy like we saw last camp and last season. He has transformed into a more polished receiver with an expanded route tree, and that will do nothing but help [QB Kenny] Pickett and this offense." Pickens made plenty of highlight-reel contested catches as a rookie last season. But the knock on him was that he didn't create much separation, leading to a relatively low target-per-route rate. It sounds like Pickens is on track to earn more volume this season, which would be a big boost to his fantasy production.
On Monday, the Athletic's Mike DeFabo reported that Steelers WR George Pickens is making solid impressions at camp. DeFabo writes that while Pickens entered camp with a lot of buzz, he's "exceeding those expectations" between "highlight-reel grabs" and his spirited competitiveness in practice. Another interesting note in this report is that veteran WR Allen Robinson has "has only strengthened his case" to seize the starting slot role in the Steelers' offense through his performance in the "Seven Shots" red zone drill the Steelers frequently run from the two-yard line. Pickens will need to improve upon ranking 38th in drop rate (7.1%), 49th in yards after catch (110), and 40th in PFF receiving grade among 80 WRs who recorded 50+ targets last season. To his credit, Pickens ranked first in contest catch rate (67.9%) of that group in 2022. Still, greater evolution in his route tree is something both DeFabo and the Draft Sharks staff note as something to watch out for before we get too excited about him. Pickens presently sits as a high-end WR4 in our current WR rankings.
Steelers WR George Pickens caught 4 of 6 targets for 83 yards and a TD in Sunday's loss to the Bengals. He had 2 other targets wiped out by penalties, 1 an offensive hold and the other a defensive PI. Pickens also dropped a 2nd-half deep ball that would have added significant yardage to his line. WR Diontae Johnson matched Pickens' 4 catches but tallied just 21 yards. Next comes a potential pass-funnel matchup with the Colts and then the soft Atlanta defense.
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