After finishing 9-8 during the 2022 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers will look to return to the postseason as they expect quarterback Kenny Pickett to take another leap in his development. We’re breaking down what his realistic fantasy potential is shaping up to be ahead of the coming season.
2023 Fantasy Football: Kenny Pickett Profile
Recap of 2022 season
After beginning the season as the backup to Mitchell Trubisky, Pickett came in relief in Week 4 before officially being handed the starting quarterback job in Week 5. In 13 games for Pittsburgh last year, Pickett threw for 2,404 yards and seven touchdowns to go with nine interceptions. The 2022 first-round pick finished as QB28 in fantasy with an average of 12.2 fantasy points per game.
Updated Steelers outlook
The Steelers return a promising array of talent alongside Pickett, highlighted by wide receiver George Pickens and running back Najee Harris. To give Pickens some help on the other side, Pittsburgh acquired wide receiver Allen Robinson in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams. With another year of learning the Steelers playbook and with some additions on defense, some have labeled Pittsburgh as a potential sleeper pick in the AFC.
The second-year quarterback officially has a breakout campaign in 2023, tossing for 3,000-plus passing yards and 20+ touchdowns as Mike Tomlin places his faith in Pickett’s arm to lead the offense. The talent is there for the signal-caller to benefit from, all it takes is for Pickett to build a promising rapport with the other skill position players.
If Pickett struggles, or worse, takes a step back in his development in Year 2, then the Steelers could potentially have a problem on their hands. The former first-round pick would have to take a significant dip in his completion percentage to warrant this type of concern. If a quarterback is unable to elevate an offense by their second season, then there is a chance that a team could have serious doubts about their future.
I’m placing my faith in Pickett taking the right step forward in his development for the 2023 season, albeit it remains to be seen whether he can make a case to reach the top-15 quarterback territory. With another year of the playbook in his back pocket, I think he’ll throw for a little over 3,000 yards in the season while bumping up his fantasy average to 15.0 points per game, pushing him into QB2 consideration.