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George Pickens Tabbed as Must-Draft Pick in Fantasy Football



Pittsburgh Steelers George Pickens

With Arthur Smith as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ new offensive coordinator and Russell Wilson/Justin Fields at quarterback, this could be the year where George Pickens truly breaks out and solidifies himself as one of the best wide receivers in the league.

Pickens caught 52 passes for 801 yards and four scores in his rookie season in 2022. Last season, he elevated his game with 63 receptions for 1,140 yards and five touchdowns. Pickens could be in prime position to make an All-Pro leap.

Pickens will serve as the Steelers’ bona fide No. 1 wide receiver. And with the Steelers not having a true No. 2 wideout, Pickens should receive a bevy of targets. That’s why Kate Magdziuk of Pro Football Focus named him as a must-draft pick in fantasy football this year.

“Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver and former second-round pick George Pickens enters 2024 poised with the opportunity for a true breakout season, and his ADP as the 28th wide receiver off the board doesn’t reflect it in the least,” Magdziuk wrote.

“Pickens has made his mark with splashy, jaw-dropping plays, as four of his five touchdowns in 2023 were 40-plus-yard plays – the second-most such plays in the league. Despite having tied for the 27th most targets at the position, his propensity for big plays saw him ranked 16th in the league with 1,140 receiving yards, ranking top-10 in yards per target (10.96), yards per reception (18.1) and yards after the catch per reception (6.49).

“Not only does Pickens have the opportunity for a significant increase in target share absent Diontae Johnson, but he’s also now paired with a starting quarterback who complements his skillset better than any of those he’s played with to this point in his career in Russell Wilson. Pickens, who ranked 10th in the league with a 99.3 receiving grade on targets of 20+ yards, will now catch passes from Russell Wilson, who had a 6-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio last year on such throws, earning a 92.3 passing grade that ranked 11th among quarterbacks.”

Pickens was the highest-ranked Steeler at No. 60 on PFF’s 2024 PPR top 400 rankings.

Pickens’ 18.1 average per reception in 2023 led the league. Steelers wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni believes Pickens’ ceiling is unlimited.

“He just has to pick it up and take the cheese and do the things we ask him to do,” Steelers wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni said at minicamp. “He can to anything he wants. He’s that talented. Ray Charles can see that, you don’t need to be a coach. We know that’s out there for him if he wants it.”