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Could the Pittsburgh Steelers Lead You to Fantasy Football Glory?

Najee Harris - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News, DFS Lineup Picks

Right now, it is all about getting into the fantasy playoffs. If you are in the playoffs with that great fantasy record, congratulations. But if you are one of us and fighting for a playoff position, welcome, and it is time to find the men who will get us that much-needed fantasy wins week by week.

Can it be the struggling Pittsburgh Steelers that will buoy our fantasy hopes? Their schedule for the next four games is relatively weak. But this is a game of inches, and we need more.

Is there one position we can depend on to get that playoff-seeking fantasy glory? Let's check it out and see who will help us and who we need to avoid.

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Quarterback- Kenny Pickett

Pickett is currently QB28 in fantasy points. For the season, he hasn't finished higher than QB12. He finished with 8.3, 19.1, and 16.0 fantasy points in his last three games.

Last week against the Cincinnati Bengals, he attempted 42 passes for 265 yards, one passing touchdown, and 14 rushing yards. Since it was a divisional game (and they can be difficult to decipher), let's look at his Week 10 numbers against the New Orleans Saints.

Against the Saints, Pickett attempted 30 passes for 199 yards and zero touchdowns. But he did have 51 rushing yards and one touchdown. He finished with 19.1 fantasy points, his highest total so far.

The team is ninth in team pass plays per game (36.8) but 29th in the pace of play (1.86).

Pickett is 20th in air yards per attempt (7.8), 28th in fantasy points per game (13.3), and 29th in fantasy points per dropback (0.36). For Pickett, it will not get any easier.

His next four opponents have not allowed more than 18.9 (Atlanta Falcons) average fantasy points per game to the quarterback position. Pickett is not for you.

If you are surfing the waiver wire because of injuries or bye week for a quarterback, Pickett is not the man for you.

 

Running Back- Najee Harris

Harris has been a fantasy football disappointment all season. Drafted as RB1, he has not come close to those numbers until last week. But let's start slow.

Harris is RB22 in standard leagues and  RB20 in PPR formats for the season. Before last week, his highest fantasy total was 13.9 fantasy points in Week 2 against the New England Patriots.

Then a holiday miracle happened. Harris collected 20 carries, six targets (tied for season-high), 116 total yards, and two touchdowns. He finished with 24.6 fantasy points, good enough for RB3 status. All this happened amid talks of Jaylen Warren getting more playing time. Then Warren got injured.

Harris is only seeing a 10.1% target share. He has a 48% route percentage but only averages 0.78 yards per route run. Although he is on the field for 68.7% snap share, he only averages 3.9 yards per touch.

Whether it is/was the lingering effect of his Lisfranc injury or play calling, or the ineffectiveness of the offense in total, Harris has been a fantasy disappointment. So, the question is whether we can trust him going forward.

His next four opponents offer a mixed bag of fantasy opportunities. The Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers allow top-10 average fantasy numbers to the running back position. The Falcons, the Steelers' Week 13 opponent, allow an average of 19.1 fantasy points to the running back position (10th). Their Week 15 opponent, the Carolina Panthers, are giving up an average of 21.0 fantasy points to the position (fifth).

Then there is this week's opponent, the Indianapolis Colts, who are allowing the 12th fewest fantasy points to running backs (16.9), and the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14, who are allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points to the position (14.7).

Which Harris do we trust? The Weeks 1-10 one who did not compile more than 13.9 fantasy points in one game or the one who exploded for 27.6 fantasy points last week?

The running-back landscape is bleak at best. The running back injury report for Week 12 includes Joe Mixon's concussion, Josh Jacobs' calf injury, Leonard Fournette's hip pointer, and Gus Edwards' hamstring injury, just to name a few.

It could be that we cannot afford the luxury of sitting Harris, and no one will buy low.

For now, playing Harris is your option. Just temper those expectations while hoping that Week 11 was a turning point.

 

Wide Receivers

Diontae Johnson

Let's make this quick and painless. Johnson is currently WR42 in PPR formats and WR53 in standard leagues, even while he is on the field for 92.2% snap share. He is rocking a 24.7% target share and a 23.9% target rate.

His highest fantasy total this season happened in Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns, where he accumulated 16.4 fantasy points. He has had 8.5, 10.3, and 6.2 fantasy points in his last three games.

Johnson is averaging 0.28 fantasy points per route run and 1.17 fantasy points per target.

Tell me why you would put your fantasy playoff hopes on Johnson's shoulders.

George Pickens

If you are steadfastly holding on to the idea that Matt Canada and Pickett will make a Steeler wide receiver relevant, look Pickens' way. Although he only has an average 16.3% target rate and a 15.5% target share, Pickens is currently WR43 in PPR and WR37 in standard formats.

In his last two games (yes, I am purposely omitting the Darius Slay meeting), Pickens had 11.5 and 14.3 fantasy points per game.

To be clear, the Steelers pass the ball 60.64% of their offensive plays (13th). They attempt an average of 36.7 passes per game. Last week, Pickens was on the receiving end of six targets. The week before, he had four, and the week before that, three targets. His season high in a game is eight targets in Weeks 4/5.

He had four receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown with his six targets last week.

This week, the Steelers face the Indianapolis Colts, who are allowing the least amount of fantasy points to the wide receiver position (15.0). But after that hump, they have Atlanta, who is giving up the second-most fantasy points to the position (27.2), Baltimore, who is giving up the ninth-most fantasy points to the position, and Carolina, who is giving up the 16th-most fantasy points (20.9) to wide receivers.

Johnson is peppered with more targets; Pickens is more fantasy efficient.

If there can only be one, it is Pickens.

 

Tight End- Pat Freiermuth

The man, the myth, the only Steeler who you can count on to bring you fantasy happiness is Freiermuth. Freiermuth is currently TE10 in standard formats and TE6 in PPR formats.

He is on the field for a 72.5% snap share, a 20.9% target share, and a 27.3% target rate. He has been targeted in the red zone six times and is averaging 10.9 fantasy points per game.

In the last two weeks, he has led the team with a 30% target share and a 32% air yard share. And we know fantasy is all about volume.

His next four opponents are middle-of-the-pack in average fantasy points allowed to the tight end position: Indianapolis Colts 7.7, Atlanta Falcons 7.3, Baltimore Ravens 7.2, and Carolina Panthers 6.1.

But again, it is about the volume (Freiermuth gets) and your options at the position (so limited).

If you want a Steeler for a fantasy football playoff run, go 'Muth!



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