Kenny Pickett, Diontae Johnson, Najee Harris' Updated Steelers Fantasy Outlook

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVOctober 2, 2022

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 02: Kenny Pickett #8 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter against the New York Jets at Acrisure Stadium on October 02, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/Getty Images

It's wise not to overreact to small sample sizes in fantasy football.

That is certainly the case with Pittsburgh Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett, who entered Sunday's 24-20 loss to the New York Jets for Mitch Trubisky and made an immediate impression with two short touchdown runs.

And then things quickly went downhill.

Pickett finished 10-of-13 for 120 yards, zero touchdowns and three interceptions as a passer. The first pick was a deflected deep ball that could have been caught and the third was on a Hail Mary, but the second one was far more costly with the Steelers nursing a three-point lead in the fourth quarter.

New York scored the winning touchdown on the ensuing possession.

Fantasy players may want to stash Pickett on the bench in case he lives up to expectations now that he appears to be the quarterback for Pittsburgh, but he is not someone who should be starting even after his two touchdown runs.

It's not as if Pickett was a scrambler who was making defenders miss in the open field. The scores were short runs near the goal line and the type of flukey results that likely won't be replicated on a weekly basis.

As for Pittsburgh's top two playmakers in Najee Harris and Diontae Johnson?

The quarterback change is no reason to take them out.

Yes, Johnson's day of two catches for 11 yards was disappointing, but the track record is there with a combined 2,084 receiving yards and 15 touchdown catches the last two years. Pickett will surely look his way a number of times when he is more settled into the offense, and that makes him a fantasy starter even if Sunday didn't go well.

It is also natural to expect Pittsburgh to rely more on its rushing attack with a rookie under center. That means Harris, who ran for 74 yards on 18 carries against the Jets, will still be involved in a major way.

And he should still be in starting lineups for fantasy players.


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