ESPN Fantasy Football Expert Believes Kenny Pickett Can Take A Trevor Lawrence-esque Jump In Year Two

While fantasy football is not real football, if you are a productive player on the field normally you are productive in fantasy and vice versa. This is especially true at the quarterback position, and one fantasy expert, ESPN’s Mike Clay, believes Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett is about to break out and become a viable fantasy (and NFL) QB1.

Clay compared Pickett to last year’s version of Trevor Lawrence who has a breakout campaign last season and is quickly emerging as a superstar quarterback. Clay called Pickett “This season’s Trevor Lawrence” and believes his play both on the field and in fantasy will mimic other second-year leaps of quarterbacks drafted in the last half decade.

Carson Wentz (2017), Patrick Mahomes (2018), Lamar Jackson (2019), Kyler Murray (2020), Joe Burrow (2021) and Lawrence (2022) are recent examples of the many first-round QBs who broke out in their second season,” Clay wrote. “None were as productive as rookies, which is notable here, as Pickett had some struggles (6.2 YPA, 12.8 fantasy PPF during 10 full games) in his first season. The good news is that weak efficiency simply isn’t a concern for first-year QBs, who generally make a big leap in Year 2. Rushing ability is becoming more important for the fantasy relevance of QBs and Pickett delivered in that department as a rookie, ranking sixth in carries and seventh in rush yards during those 10 games. An improved offensive line and upgraded goal line targets (Allen Robinson II, Darnell Washington) should help Pickett to step forward.”

Pickett played better than his stats showed in his rookie season. Pickett finished the season with a stat line of 2,404 yards, seven touchdowns, and nine interceptions. After a slow start in which he began his season throwing two touchdowns and eight interceptions, he picked up his play, and in the last nine games of the Steelers’ season throwing five touchdowns to only one interception. While he did not play in all of Pittsburgh’s final nine games, missing most of the first Baltimore Ravens game and Carolina Panthers game with a concussion, Pickett still was lacking in the touchdown department. Five touchdowns in seven games is not ideal and he will have to improve on that to be a true QB1, not only in fantasy football but also in real football.

As Clay noted, one area where Pickett really impressed was his rushing ability. Entering last season, everyone acknowledged that Pickett was mobile but not many expected him to be as mobile as he was. Pickett often utilized his legs to pick up first downs and even ran in three touchdowns as he was almost unstoppable running the QB sneak.

Steelers fans are very excited for Pickett in 2023 after the promise he showed last season. If he can take a Trevor Lawrence-esque jump fans of the Black and Gold will be jumping for joy. With the improvements made to the offense this offseason by Pittsburgh’s front office, Pickett is certainly set up for success this year. Now, it all depends on if he does take that step. If he does, not only will he be able to help win your fantasy football team a championship, but maybe, just maybe, he can help the Steelers win one too.

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