Despite some preseason hype, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens didn’t produce big numbers in his rookie season last year. That’s not entirely his fault as the team’s offense struggled and the quarterback situation was abysmal. But the arrow is pointing up for Pickens in 2023 and beyond.
2023 Fantasy Football: George Pickens Profile
Recap of 2022 season
Pickens finished the season with 52 catches on 84 targets for 801 yards and four touchdowns. Those numbers don’t exactly jump off the page in fantasy football, but they suggest bigger things ahead.
Updated Steelers outlook
The Steelers' offense should be a little more stable this year, though the jury’s still out on second-year signal caller Kenny Pickett. Pickens has sewn up the No. 2 receiver spot behind Diontae Johnson, and the addition of Allen Robinson gives them a solid No. 3. And the running game is solid. The Steelers have the parts in place for an improved offense this year, even if Pickett doesn’t prove to be anything more than an average placeholder.
Best case scenario
With a little more consistency from the offense this year, a 1,000-yard season is well within reach for Pickens. In the event Pickett takes a big jump forward and solidifies himself as a starting QB, the ceiling is pretty high for Pickens. Johnson’s production wasn’t as good last season. That could be a product of Pickett. The second-year QB may also favor throwing to Pickens, turning him into the No. 1 wideout in Pittsburgh. The best case is that happens and Pickens lands among the top-20 WRs in fantasy.
Worst case scenario
This Steelers offense could very well fall flat this year too, and more struggles could depress Pickens’ output below what he put up last year. If Pickett can’t get a handle on the offense, the Steelers could go back to their old ways of running the ball and playing defense. That could mean fewer attempts for Pickett and fewer targets for Pickens and the rest of the receivers. The Steelers are also in a very tough division, expected to finish in last place. There’s a scenario where Pickens doesn’t build on his rookie season and is more of an inconsistent FLEX option.
In dynasty leagues, Pickens is an obvious player worth hanging onto. Even if the Steelers struggle this season, he’s got the talent to have an impactful career. This season, however, he’s a little more of a risk in fantasy football lineups, but doesn’t have far to go to be a solid FLEX option or even a reliable WR2/3 in 2023.