June 17, 2024

2023 Pittsburgh Steelers Fantasy Preview

Statistics 2022

Total yards per game: 322.8 (23rd)
Plays per game: 65.2 (10th)
Pass Attempts + Sacks per game: 35.8 (17th)
Reverse EPA per game: 0.02 (19th)
Rush attempts per game: 29.4 (10th)
EPA rush to play: 0.01 (3rd)

Training Team

What Mike Tomlin done in the last few years was unusual. He kept the Steelers above .500 despite a complete lack of good quarterback play, an underperforming rushing offense, and an underwhelming offensive line. Pittsburgh was missing TJ Watt for several games last season and they weathered the storm admirably.

Tomlin has given him less praise Matt Canada for another season after two terrible seasons with or without Ben Roethlisberger. At times, I find it impossible to get the pass because of Canada’s horizontal based offense. Canada has entered this season under the line of “well, uh, is that you?”

Which is a choice. It’s fair to say that this is the most talented offensive group the Steelers have assembled since Antonio Brown in exile. But the continued inclusion of Canada despite no results and some anecdotal issues (ie the tight end the offense did not have hot routesthe center saying “the plays did not change throughout the year,” George Pickens it’s a real thing that casts a dark cloud over optimistic projections for fantasy football. We’ve seen firsthand what happens when this quarterback and offensive coordinator are at the helm and the response was “everyone underperformed and the team tried to win achieve.”

If you believe it will continue, Pittsburgh’s perennially good defense remains a solid fantasy unit. The overall offensive caps in the AFC North have increased by a full year Deshaun Watson, Todd Monkoffense is coming to Baltimore, and the Bengals are as good as ever. If you think the Steelers can dictate pace to those teams, this could be a reliable unit this year – at the very least, they can be a streamer with all the AFC South teams on the schedule .

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Running Game

QB: Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph
WR: Johnson’s roof, Miles Boykin
WR: Alan Robinson, Calvin Austin Jr.
WR: George Pickens, Gunner Olszewski
THE: Pat Freiermuth, Zach Gentry, Darnell Washington

One of the most interesting things I see in fantasy football today is this dichotomy: Kenny Pickett currently hovering in the low 20s in quarterback ADP, but Johnson’s roof, George Pickensand Pat Freiermuth They are all going in the top 110. Johnson and Pickens are going over the top-75. So this offense can support three good passing options and a running back going early, but … the quarterback can’t put up fantasy points? The quarterback is underrated Russell Wilson, Matthew Staffordand some undetermined amount of it Kyler Murray games?

I think you can take those two different directions. The bright side is that Pickett is undervalued, and I think the way you tell that story is that the supporting cast has improved. Robinson is drawing some OTA hype for his ability to play in the slot, which would give this team a consistent third option in the world if true, and the offensive line should improve some after signing. Isaac Seumalo and drafting Broderick Jones Add Dan Moore on notice by the left gear. We often offer enhancements to quarterfinals entering the second year. And although the coaching staff is the same, we are at least able to say that the Steelers have improved the cast around him and that he should be able to benefit from that.

Now, let’s talk about the downside. Was Kenny Pickett shaving? Not really. He had a minus-14.7% DVOA on throws in the fourth quarter and overtime. Did his hand open up the offense? Not really. Pickett’s 21.8% DVOA on deep passes was the second lowest of any quarterback with 50 deep attempts on the season, ahead of only Kyler Murray. Has he been successful in the red zone? His NFL-141 DYAR was minus-141 on his 61 red zone attempts. Does that mean there’s no chance he’ll improve in 2023 and be the sum of the parts he wasn’t in 2022? No – we looked Josh Allen happen and nobody should rule anything out after just under 400 pass attempts. But for a quarterback who was touted for his ability to win games, he certainly didn’t do anything like playing a franchise quarterback in his first season other than appearing in a few wins and putting together a few good highlight clips.

And if Pickett isn’t going to step up this season, it’s hard to see how the running game parts around him can live up to the hype they’re currently getting in drafts. I think Pickens is a great player waiting to break out, and I can’t tell you I hate to take a stab at him. But can the situation give him fantasy value? And didn’t the situation this year, with the same main players, make Pickens very sad about his involvement in the offense in Week 2? If you believe in Robinson’s bounceback, there is even more competition for goals. Johnson’s roofThe 2022 season gives us reason to believe in regression because — as Beavis’ tombstone said — he never scored. He was targeted even more often than Pickens was last year, even after Pickett took over. But considering how poor this team was in the red zone last year, do you really believe that more than two or three touchdowns are going to push them out of the regression? Especially when Freiermuth and Robinson cite as “big red zone bodies” for a long time?

For me, outside of Freiermuth, this running game is completely phased by the current ADPs. I didn’t believe much in Pickett as a prospect — which he showed falling deep into the first round — and nothing I saw in year one convinced me otherwise. If there was an offensive coordinator or a new vision to take on, it might give me more pause. But I see that Pickett’s breakout season is around 15:1-:20:1 and that means I’m not buying much of anything from this game. If you believe otherwise, like I said … Pickett is a pretty big ADP deal in that case. I try to stay away from completely ruling any outcome, but I will take a bath on a good Steelers running offense this season if it happens.

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Running Game

RB: Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, Anthony McFearland Jr.
OL (CD): Broderick Jones, Isaac Seumalo, Mason Cole, James Daniels, Chukwuma Okorafor

Did Harris get first round fantasy value this year? He didn’t. The main difference between 2021 Harris and 2022 Harris was workload, as Harris missed 35 carries and 44 targets while Warren established himself as the No. 1 back. 2 clear. There is quite a gap developing between the top 10 backs (ADP 28.1 for RB10 Josh Jacobs) and Harris (37.2 as of this writing in Underdog ADP.) To his credit, Harris played through an injury for Lisfranc last year. Based on where he was drafted and how heavy the offense is, you would expect him to return value. But he had just one 100-yard rushing game all season and was targeted more than five times in just four games. Warren threw the upside to Harris while both are healthy. I think he’s well respected, but don’t go overboard with him in my early drafts because I’m more interested in my back I like a little better in that zone because Kenneth Walker and Jahmyr Gibbs.

Warren, meanwhile, I think is still being overlooked a bit. He’s hanging out with rookie company because Kendre Miller and Bigsby tank game despite finishing a 77/379/1 rookie season with plenty of pass-catching upside. Recently launched from Steelers OTAs noted that “there is no offensive coordinator Matt Canada able to keep him off the field as much as he did last season.” I’m not seeing a lot of time between 50-50, but I think Warren could make a real breakthrough at 35-40 percent of the valuation this season. Harris’ ability to play through injury is unquestionable and some of Warren’s injury scenarios are likely to be mitigated, but No. 2 out of the question at this point as well.

Seumalo has been more consistent than dominant over the last few years in Philadelphia, but he will be an upgrade on Kevin Dotson, especially as a proxy. Jones and Moore will likely have a camp battle, but if Jones wins that battle, he could be a complete reliever with his physical attributes on the outside. Pittsburgh’s offensive line, like last year, is a bad unit that aspires to be average. If they can get there, and the running game isn’t connected, both Harris and Warren will benefit.

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Win Total

Over 8.5 is currently -145 at BetMGM, with under +120. Around .500 is probably a fair line for the Steelers, and as much as I did the offense for fantasy purposes in this preview, Tomlinball has proven to be effective at actually winning games. My problem with picking the Steelers to win nine games is … I can’t find a team in this division that I like to be on top of. On paper, I’m counting on teams to pick up key injuries and the Steelers to avoid them. I hate picking against Tomlin and would say stay out of this, but since I’m contractually forced to pick one of these, I’d lean towards the sub 8.5.

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