The best receivers from 2022 the Steelers are set to face in 2023
Yesterday we took a look at the top rushers from 2022 who are scheduled to face the Steelers in 2023 (check that out HERE). Continuing down this path, today it’s time to check out the wide receivers who are on the Steelers schedule this season who finished toward the top of the yardage standings last year. As I said before, there could be holdouts, injuries, or trades which could make these players not able to see the field when they face the Black and Gold. But for now, these things can’t be known for sure. This list consists of players who had at least 1,000 receiving yards in 2022, their overall rank yardage last season, and the week in which they will face the Steelers. Players who are teammates and both appear on the list will be grouped together as the Steelers will be tasked with defending both players.
Davante Adams (3rd)
Las Vegas Raiders
The only wide receiver who finished in the top 10 yards from 2022 who the Steelers face this season, Davante Adams only had 15 receiving yards on two catches in Pittsburgh last year. Whether or not the change of quarterback is a positive or a negative for Adams this year remains to be seen, but facing the Raiders early in the season as they adjust to things could be of benefit. On the other hand, Adams had 141 yards on 10 receptions and a touchdown in Week 1 last season in his first game with his new team.
Amari Cooper (12th)
Week 2, Week 11
After going for 101 receiving yards on seven receptions and a touchdown in Week 3 against the Steelers last season, Amari Cooper didn’t have the same success in Pittsburgh the final week of the season where he had two catches for 51 yards. Despite playing in the AFC North, the Steelers have only had one season of going against Cooper as part of the Browns so a lot more will need to be learned going forward.
Christian Kirk (14th)
Christian Kirk put up career numbers in 2022 in Jacksonville with over 1,100 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. While the Steelers have faced Kirk before in Arizona, it was in 2019 during his second season in the NFL where he had eight receptions for 85 yards. When the Steelers face the Jacksonville Jaguars at the near midpoint of the season, this will be a much different team than the last time they faced each other, especially with the addition of Kirk.
D.K. Metcalf (16th) & Tyler Lockett (19th)
With this matchup coming so late in the season, there is no guarantee the Steelers will be facing both of these wide receivers. But for now, it should be assumed they will get the very best the Seattle Seahawks have to offer. The Steelers have gone up against this tandem twice in the past four seasons because of this matchup being the additional game in 2021. Back in 2019 in a game Steelers fans know for all the wrong reasons because of Ben Roethlisberger‘s injury, Metcalf and Lockett combined for 140 yards on 13 receptions and one touchdown as Lockett pulled in 10 of the catches. But two seasons ago when the Seahawks came to Pittsburgh in a game with Geno Smith getting a spot start before taking the league by surprise in 2022, the two receivers were held fairly in check as they had a combined eight receptions for 93 yards.
Ja’Marr Chase (12th) & Tee Higgins (20th)
Week 12, Week 16
It must be noted that Ja’Marr Chase only landed so far down the list of receiving yards last year because of the number of games he missed (much like Cooper Kupp who did not make the list because he only played in nine games yet was third in the NFL in yards per game). The only receiver to reach 1,000 yards who didn’t play at least 15 games, Chase put up 1,046 receiving yards in 12 games with only one of them coming against the Steelers. In two games in 2021, Chase didn’t put up a lot of yardage against the Steelers but did have two touchdowns in his first game against. Last season, Chase exploded for 10 receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 in a game the Steelers pulled off in overtime. In that game, Tee Higgins only had two catches for 27 yards. But with Chase out in Week 10, Higgins had 148 receiving yards with nine catches. In five games against the Steelers in his career, Higgins has gone over 100 yards three times. To say this is a formidable duo and the Steelers have their work cut out in defending them twice a year would be an understatement.
Brandon Aiyik (22nd)
San Francisco 49ers
Not facing San Francisco since 2019, this will be the Steelers first game against the 49ers receiver who was selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft. When it comes to Brandon Aiyuk, his numbers come from overall consistent play throughout the season where he had 1,015 receiving yards and eight touchdowns yet only eclipsed the 100-yard mark in one game when he went for 101 yards on nine receptions in Week 17 against the Las Vegas Raiders. With the Steelers facing Aiyuk in Week 1, a time where in his three seasons Aiyuk only has two total catches, it might be the right time for the Steelers to face this opponent.