July 20, 2024

Russell Wilson Signing: 3 Fantasy Impacts

4 min read
Russell Wilson signs a 1 year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers. How does that impact the other fantasy pieces on your fantasy team.

On the eve of the “legal tampering” period the NFL universe was stunned with the news that 13-year veteran quarterback Russell Wilson was planning on signing a one-year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The most shocking part was the contract was only worth $1.2 million. Rumors are that Wilson wanted a verbal guarantee that he would have a chance at starting this year and will head into training camp looking to battle Kenny Pickett. The Steelers are looking to get into the playoffs and with this possible chance at quarterback they also brought in former Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith to be their offensive coordinator.

 

Kenny Pickett’s value tanks

Sure there will be a quarterback competition in training camp but even if Kenny Pickett wins the job he probably won’t hold it for long. It’s never good news when the team and head coach that drafted you bring in a vet to compete in your third year. Who can blame them? Pickett only has 13 touchdowns in 25 games over his two seasons. When you also add in that he also has 13 interceptions it doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence. It seems like Pickett’s time in black and gold is coming to an end sooner rather than later. Before this trade Pickett’s value on Dynasty Pros Trade Calculator Pickett can be acquired for a mid-second round pick. If you can get that right now you would be super happy. He is probably worth closer to a later third now. Even if Russell Wilson wasn’t in the fold Pickett’s value wasn’t looking too great. With Arthur Smith coming in to coordinate the offense it looks like a more run-heavy team.

 

Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren stock up

The Steelers are a throwback type of team. They are still an in-the-trenches type team that is going to pound the rock at you early and often. Very evident by the fact that they only threw the ball on 53.30% of the time last season which was the fifth lowest. Now you bring in Russell Wilson. Wilson is still a talented quarterback but at 35 years old and heading into his 13th season the best days of Russ are behind him. His true completion percentage was at 73.5% last season which ranked 9th in the NFL but his accuracy rating was only 6.1 which puts him at 27th in the NFL. He doesn’t get an upgrade at wide receiver, in fact, it seems like a downgrade. Going from Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy to George Pickens and hopefully, Dionte Johnson doesn’t inspire confidence in fantasy managers. Enter the running game. Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren will look to be the focal point of the offense. On top of getting a combined 404 carries last year, we now have a run-heavy offensive coordinator in Arthur Smith. Not only is the pair of running backs capable of carrying heavy work load they are also capable pass catchers. Last season Russell Wilson threw the ball to his running backs 150 times. Harris and Warren finished as RB22 and RB23 last season. Given them a bump in rushing volume and a bump in pass-catching work both could end up as high RB2s for your fantasy team.

 

Pat Frieremuth becomes worrisome

There was a ton of excitement for Pat Frieremuth coming into last season. He finished as the TE8 in 2022 so there was reason to believe that his third year would continue to see him shine. He started the season well with two touchdowns in the first three games but then it started to unravel. He got injured which cost him five games. When he came back he failed to find the end zone and only one game where he was good for your fantasy team. Now with Russell Wilson probably under center at least for part of the season, Frieremuth’s volume has to be in question. He is already behind George Pickens in the target pecking order. He probably falls behind the running back on most plays. This move probably means they don’t trade Dionte Johnson but even if they do they will most likely draft a top-end talent to replace him. Both scenarios probably move Frieremuth further down the list. Yes, Arthur Smith loves to target his tight ends, as evidenced by the 160 targets that Kyle Pitts and Jonnu Smith received last season. The issue is Russell Wilson. He only has four seasons where his tight end saw over 60 targets. Those seasons were with Jimmy Graham (3) and Gerald Everett (1). The path for Frieremuth to get back to the 98 targets he saw in 2022 or even the 79 he say his rookie season in 2021 seems unlikely. When you couple in that there will probably be a switch at the quarterback position at some point the chemistry for Frieremuth in this offense is in doubt.

 

Kenny Pickett’s value bottoms out

Running Back’s value skyrockets

Pat Frieremuth drops