Steel Curtain Network: A Pittsburgh Steelers podcast

Steelers to draft, and avoid, in your Fantasy Football draft

With the 2023 NFL preseason officially underway, it is also time for fans to have some of their many Fantasy Football drafts to prepare themselves for the upcoming season. When it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers, there are players you should draft if you can, and also those who you should avoid unless you absolutely have to draft them.

It is important to note this doesn’t mean the players who are labeled “avoid” doesn’t equate to them not seeing success in 2023. They just might not be the best player in standard Fantasy Football leagues.

This was a topic myself and Jeremy Betz discussed on my Friday episode of “Let’s Ride”. It’s in the second half of the show, which you can hear in the player below the article. Otherwise, let’s get to the list…

Draft

Najee Harris

With a new-and-improved offensive line, Harris should be considered to be in Top Tier of fantasy running backs in 2023. Last season Harris was hampered early in the season with a foot injury, but overcame the injury and finished the season strong behind a solidified line. This year, with upgrades made, if Harris is healthy he should be a Round 1 pick for those who want to capitalize on his many touches in the Steelers offense.

Pat Freiermuth

While there are other tight ends, Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews as examples, who will likely be drafted ahead of Freiermuth, if you don’t get those top tier players Freiermuth should be an attractive target at the position. Freiermuth, with an offseason with Kenny Pickett at quarterback, should not be asked to be the in-line tight end often in 2023. This means more slot repetitions, and more open space, for Freiermuth to attack mismatches. That equates to more fantasy points.

Diontae Johnson

Last season was a dud for Diontae Johnson fantasy owners. The guy never hit pay dirt, and never really had the receptions most expected. Chalk that up to a quarterback position in flux, and a lack of chemistry with Pickett. The early stages of training camps how promising results for Johnson, so if you have a need in the late rounds of your draft, think about DJ as a good depth piece on your fantasy roster.

George Pickens

Everyone is talking about Justin Jefferson and plenty others as the top receivers in the NFL for fantasy football. I’m not about to argue that fact, there are a lot of tremendous player at the position. However, don’t sleep on George Pickens. He already has a built-in chemistry with Pickett, and his overall ability will be a nightmare for defenses in 2023. Mid-rounds, if Pickens is still available, don’t hesitate drafting the second year player out of Georgia.

Steelers D/ST

Expect plenty of sacks and takeaways in 2023, but the question will be can the Steelers score some touchdowns on defense? Last season Minkah Fitzpatrick’s pick-six in Week 1 was the only defensive score of the season. The hope is that changes in 2023, and there is no doubt in my mind, barring injury, the Steelers will be a Top 5 fantasy defense this year.

Chris Boswell

Boswell had a sub-par 2022 season riddled with injury. Last time Boswell had a bad season he followed it up with a stellar campaign. I’m banking on a bounce back from the Wizard of Boz, and you should too. Unless you are going to take Justin Tucker, I’d look to snag Boswell in the late rounds to lock him up.


Avoid

Kenny Pickett

This isn’t to suggest Pickett will struggle in 2023. There is no way you can convince anyone to draft a Steelers offensive player not named Najee Harris if Pickett won’t be up to snuff. Nonetheless, the recipe for success in Pittsburgh is clear in 2023. Protect the football, control the clock, run the rock. Great ways to win, but not necessarily mind-blowing numbers for your fantasy quarterback. Pickett could be a good QB2 on your roster, but I think it’s a little too early to peg him as your starter.

Jaylen Warren

I love Jaylen Warren, but his limited touches should have him filling out a roster only if someone gets hurt. If Najee Harris goes down, Warren should be a top priority on your waiver wire, if he’s still available. However, Warren doesn’t get the touches necessary to warrant him being drafted.

Darnell Washington

The giant of a rookie has fans drooling over the possibilities with him on the field, but at the same time he’s a player who has yet to develop. Unless you are in a big league and are in need of depth players, Washington should likely remain undrafted until he has a big game. And I’m not predicting that will happen in 2023.


Did I miss someone? Let me know in the comment section below and let’s discuss!

Category: Fantasy Sports

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