Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris took a small step back last season, but some of that was outside his control. Can he get back to the level of his impressive rookie season? We’ll look to answer that question in this full 2023 fantasy football draft profile of Harris.
2023 Fantasy Football: Najee Harris Profile
Recap of 2022 season
Harris was a top-5 fantasy running back as a rookie in 2021, but couldn’t replicate that production in 2022. He ended up with 1,034 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns across 17 games last year. Harris added 41 catches for 229 yards and three receiving scores, which was a few steps down from his 74-467-3 line in 2021. Altogether, Harris finished as RB14 in fantasy points per game last season.
Updated Steelers outlook
The Steelers made several additions to the offensive line, which could help Harris’ fantasy outlook. On top of that, Pittsburgh should have an improved offense with quarterback Kenny Pickett feeling more comfortable in his second NFL season. That was beginning to take place down the stretch last season, as Harris was much better from Week 11 and beyond as Pickett began to settle in.
Harris saw plenty of volume last season, but his efficiency took a major hit with Pittsburgh unable to sustain offensive drives, especially early in the season. Still, Harris should be able to take that volume and apply it to a slightly better offense while standing in as a centerpiece. It wouldn’t be difficult to see him rejoining the conversation as a top-5 running back in fantasy football.
The Steelers' offense doesn’t improve as much as expected, and Harris suffers with another season of inefficiencies and limited scoring chances. Also, the third-year running back still needs to prove himself as a viable receiver for Pickett. Harris was fantastic in this role with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, but there’s a chance he never gets close to his 74-reception level of 2021.
With a revamped offensive line and a more confident quarterback, Harris should benefit from a much better Pittsburgh offense in 2023. As mentioned earlier, it’s hard to believe that Harris will ever replicate his receiving totals from 2021, but the upside greatly outweighs the downside for a true volume running back like Harris, who is stepping into an improved situation. He should finish as a top-ten running back that is knocking on the door of top-5.