April 13, 2024

Dynasty Dilemma: George Pickens

5 min read

This whole Pittsburgh Steelers offseason will be an interesting one to watch. Their fanbase is up in arms at what the team has achieved over the past few years. The organization has questions about the quarterback, even with the Russell Wilson signing. The dilemma lies with George Pickens. There are reasons to buy and sell. I have had to edit this a few times because of some off-season moves. Let’s get into it.

 

 

REASON TO BUY

 

Personnel

The Steelers need more wide receiver talent. Calvin Austin and Marquez Callaway are the other options for WR right now on the roster.  George Pickens and Pat Friermuth aren't enough. In free agency, consider DJ Chark, Tyler Boyd, or Mecole Hardman for WR3. Mike Williams and Michael Thomas are WR2 possibilities depending on salary. They have to be planning to revamp the WR room in the Draft.

 

Incoming Production

Diontae Johnson is leaving. This leaves no doubt that George Pickens is the top option for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He had 63 receptions, 1140 yards, and 5 touchdowns last season. There is no question Pickens is the guy, with what we know about the personnel. George Pickens has played 2 seasons. He has had 115 receptions, 1941 yards, and 9 touchdowns. 

He already has one 1,000-yard season. He is going to get every chance to show he is a top-10 fantasy wide receiver this year. At age 22 he is primed for a breakout year. The biggest question is, can he do it?

 

REASON TO SELL

 

Quarterback Production/Offensive Coordinator

In past years, we've seen that even if you are the best on a team, it doesn't matter if you lack a quarterback to get you the ball. The Steelers had their draft pick in Kenny Pickett. He was injured and benched a few times last year. They now have their free agent signing in Russell Wilson. We all know how that went with the Broncos. Could he be better and look how he did with Seattle? Sure, but even the Broncos as of this moment, had better weapons there than right now with Pittsburgh.

The fact of the matter is Russell Wilson doesn’t throw wide receivers open, he throws to open wide receivers. George Pickens hasn’t shown us he can separate from defenders at a high percentage. Pickens has shown he has enough speed and moves to be a deep threat. But, how many deep balls can you throw in a game? Wilson maintains a 64.7% completion percentage in his career and has a 3.1 to 1 TD to INT rate. Russell has the potential to be good and make George Pickens a top talent, but he needs a few more weapons. He has always had at least 2 wide receivers he can get the ball to.

The wildcard in all of this is Arthur Smith. 

 

Target Share

As the Falcons head coach, the only thing missing for Arthur Smith was the quarterback. In 2021 he had an aging Matt Ryan and after that, it went downhill. The Falcons had high draft picks in the past few years. They gave Smith a lot of weapons on offense: Drake London, Kyle Pitts, and Bijan Robinson. But, the first two guys they didn't do much for, especially in fantasy, until he had a run game. There is no doubt when he has a running game his offense works a lot better. The biggest thing I worry about with Arthur Smith is where the target share is going to go. This table will show you the targets for the Falcons. Then, it will show the targets for the Steelers. We will compare them after.

 

Falcons PlayerPositionTargetsGames Missed
Drake LondonWide Receiver1101
Kyle PittsTight End90-
Bijan RobinsonRunning Back86-
Jonnu SmithTight End70-

 

I ended the Falcons here because it was a significant dropoff after this. The total number of targets was 356 between these 4 players with 1 game missed. 

 

Steelers PlayerPositionTargetsGames Missed
George PickensWide Receiver106-
Diontae JohnsonWide Receiver873
Jaylen WarrenRunning Back74-
Allen RobinsonWide Receiver49-
Pat FreiermuthTight End475

 

The total number of targets was 363 between these 5 last year with 8 games missed between them for the Steelers.

There are two telling things here. First, Drake London in an Arthur Smith offense only had 110 targets. In 16 games that is around 6.9 targets per game. While I like seeing that for the top guy, what worries me is the 160 targets to tight ends.  With Freiermuth missing 5 games and Darnell Washington having round 3 draft capital. I would expect Arthur Smith will want to get the tight ends involved. Second, Diontae Johnson missed three games last year and was only 19 targets behind him. If London at 110 targets was high in Arthur Smith's offense. I don't expect many more targets for George Pickens and a lot more for the tight ends.

VERDICT

This is like many of our dynasty dilemma verdicts. For fantasy, you have to find the managers who are the Pickens truthers. The Diontae Johnson trade and having the best quarterback he has ever had. There is no question that some people will give you a first-round pick for George Pickens. If I were the owner of Pickens, I would be jumping at that offer. 

I am not the biggest Pickens fan because of the issues of him not blocking and verbally coming out and saying so he doesn’t get injured. When you have a guy willing to give up his body to get on the field like Jaylen Warren. It rubs me the wrong way.

 I believe the sell points in this article more than I believe in the buy points. With that, I am not just offloading George Pickens to offload him. He will be the WR1 on the Steelers and he will have value to a fantasy team. Fitting the mold of I am always trying to get more wide receivers than any other position based on flex plays. 

Consider trading George Pickens. You can trade him to get one of the talented rookies in your fantasy drafts. You could also include him in a trade package with another draft pick. This would let you target lower-tier quarterbacks, like Will Levis or Justin Fields. It is essential for dynasty fantasy football players to actively explore trade opportunities to make their team better. Don't hesitate to put George Pickens on the trade market or initiate conversations with other managers to assess potential deals that could elevate your team's competitiveness. That is the goal, to win and have glory over your friends for the entire year.

 

SELL

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