Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 Fantasy Football Rookie Roundup

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers mercifully moved on from Ben Roethlisberger after the 2021 season. They used their first couple of selections on a couple of Picks (ett and ens, respectively). But, they ended up with a whole mess of players. Will they all be fantasy football relevant? Probably not. But, we still need to take a look at all five fantasy football-eligible players the Steelers took in this draft, and determine how we should feel about them in redraft leagues.

FULL PITTSBURGH STEELERS DRAFT RESULTS
Rd. Pick Player Pos. College
1 20 Kenny Pickett QB Pittsburgh
2 52 George Pickens WR Georgia
3 84 DeMarvin Leal DT Texas A&M
4 138 Calvin Austin WR Memphis
6 208 Connor Heyward TE Michigan St.
7 225 Mark Robinson LB Mississippi
7 241 Chris Oladokun QB South Dakota St.
Round 1, Pick 20 Overall: Kenny Pickett, Quarterback, Pittsburgh (6’3” 217 lbs)
Depth Chart:
QB1:      Mitchell Trubisky
QB2:      Kenny Pickett
QB3:      Mason Rudolph
QB4:      Chris Oladokun
TALENT

We’ve seen Kenny Pickett before. In fact, there are about a half-dozen Kenny Picketts kicking around the NFL. You can call him Derek Carr, or Kirk Cousins, or Current Matt Ryan, or Andy Dalton, or Teddy Bridgewater. But, they’re all Kenny Pickett. Pickett has a decentish deep ball, good enough pocket presence, and enough ability to read a defense to keep teams honest. If he has great weapons around him he can game manage the heck out of maximizing them. Pickett also needs some help with touch and ball placement. But, he doesn’t seem to have a lot of “it” factor that about three or four guys had in the 2020 draft. And he’s one of the best quarterbacks in this class? The only one that went before round three? Yikes.

2022 OPPORTUNITY

Kenny Pickett has to beat out Mitchell Trubisky for the starting role. And, to be honest… that might be harder than it seems. Pickett is fine, Trubisky is just highly inconsistent. We remember Trubisky’s lows, but we rarely remember his highs. Because of this, he could ball out thanks to a new lease on life from his time with Buffalo. So, we could end up with Pickett as the #2 quarterback to start the year.

2022 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK

Even if he beats Trubisky for the #1 slot, I still have some issues with having him in your standard 1QB fantasy football league. He doesn’t really run all that well, and if you look at the quarterbacks he compares to when he slings it, they’re all mid-level QB2s in most situations. If you are in a 2QB league, then he’s relevant (every QB with a starting spot is relevant), but in a 1QB league you can safely ignore him, should you draft well enough.

TALENT
2022 OPPORTUNITY
2022 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK
Round 2, Pick 54 Overall: George Pickens, Wide Receiver, Georgia (6’3” 195 lbs)
Depth Chart:
WR1:     Diontae Johnson
WR2:     Chase Claypool
WR3:     George Pickens
WR4:     Miles Boykin
WR5:     Calvin Austin
TALENT

Pickens is a lot of fun to watch because he is constantly the recipient of YOLO balls that he does everything within his power to reign in. Because of that, watching his tape is a lot of watching limbs flail about as he dives for a ball, or a first down, or he just gets hit funny. Pickens ends every play ass over elbows but in a cool way? Numbers will belie his skills because most plays ended with no yards after the catch, mostly because he had to do everything inside his power to catch the ball. The elephant in the room is his torn ACL, which cost him most of the 2021 season. However, the ACL tear is in the past, and he still looked good in the national championship game afterward said tear. He will just need to learn how to fall properly after catching a football, but his predilection for leaving it all out there on 50/50 balls makes his comparison insanely easy (Mike Williams, the current one).

2022 OPPORTUNITY

This is where things get murky for Pickens. As a talent, he was a top-five guy in this draft. But, some assert that Pickens has “just so many red flags, and they’re big red flags.” And those are pretty prevalent; Georgia suspended him in 2020, he was ejected from a game for throwing punches on the field, and his combine interviews were reportedly terrible. Luckily, the Steelers have a history of drafting mercurial talents and keeping them from losing their minds (until they leave Pittsburgh, anyway). But, I think Pickens has a way to go before he proves to Mike Tomlin that he deserves time on the field. Even if he does make it onto the field, Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson, Najee Harris, and Pat Freiermuth all stand between him and targets. Oh, and those targets are coming from either Mitchell Trubisky or Kenny Pickett.

2022 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK

I don’t see a world where George Pickens has consistent and sustained fantasy football relevance in his rookie year, at least not without the quarterbacks suddenly coming around, and the receivers ahead of him falling off entirely.

TALENT2022 OPPORTUNITY
2022 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK

 

Round 4, Pick 138 Overall: Calvin Austin, Wide Receiver, Memphis (5’8” 170 lbs)
Depth Chart:
WR1:     Diontae Johnson
WR2:     Chase Claypool
WR3:     George Pickens
WR4:     Miles Boykin
WR5:     Calvin Austin
TALENT

Calvin Austin is a big play receiver on a team that already has two big play receivers. He is extremely fast and tracks the ball nicely downfield, which means that he will be a good weapon for whichever quarterback ends up starting for the Steelers this year. He likely makes his hay on the Steelers as a kick and punt returner, replacing Ray-Ray McCloud.

2022 OPPORTUNITY

Calvin Austin is a big play receiver who is going to get run behind not only Diontae Johnson, but two other big play receivers (Chase Claypool and George Pickens). Unfortunately, that doesn’t translate into fantasy football ability.

2022 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK

The all-time high for fantasy football seasons for a wide receiver at 5’8” or smaller was Cole Beasley’s 2020, where he was WR27. I’m not feeling a small depth receiver for fantasy football purposes, especially not one buried in a depth chart with a questionable quarterback situation ahead of him his rookie year.

TALENT
2022 OPPORTUNITY
2022 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK
Round 6, Pick 208 Overall: Connor Heyward, Tight End, Michigan State (5’11” 233 lbs)
TE1:        Pat Freiermuth
TE2:        Zach Gentry
TE3:        Connor Heyward
TALENT

He’s a little fireplug of a man who is more of a fullback than a tight end, all told. He’s a lot of fun to watch but I doubt he has next-level potential. He’s fast as all get out for his size, and he is going to catch a lot of defenders sleeping, given his profile. He’s a little bowling ball of a guy and he uses every bit of his lineage to be big and athletic. I don’t know how it works, but it does. I’m very excited for Heyward because I want to see the fun guy do fun things.

2022 OPPORTUNITY

I doubt that Connor Heyward, a FB/TE hybrid, gets enough touches to have any relevance in any fantasy football league. The best guy in that role, Kyle Juszczyk, has two touches per game over his time with the 49ers. While Heyward will be a fun little guy in the NFL, he won’t be anyone that gets enough touches to matter for fantasy football.

2022 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK

I want him to get all the touches in the world, but I know he won’t. Unfortunately, we have to live in reality, here.

TALENT
2022 OPPORTUNITY
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Round 7, Pick 241 Overall: Chris Oladokun, Quarterback, South Dakota State (6’2” 194 lbs)
Depth Chart:
QB1:      Mitchell Trubisky
QB2:      Kenny Pickett
QB3:      Mason Rudolph
QB4:      Chris Oladokun
TALENT

Oladokun is testing the viability of dual-threat quarterbacks, wading in the water that Tyler Huntley uncovered last season. He’s a traity, highly mobile player with a decent arm who could develop into a nice depth player for the Steelers in a few years. But, it’s also possible that he never develops at the next level and he fizzles out into nothingness by 2025.

2022 OPPORTUNITY

He might make it past Mason Rudolph on this depth chart, but it’s more-than-likely that he doesn’t see the field, and is a practice squad player in 2022.

2022 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK

I sincerely hope we do not see Chris Oladokun this season because that means that things went horribly wrong for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

TALENT
2022 OPPORTUNITY
2022 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK
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About Jeff Krisko

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