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2022 Week 2: Patriots 17, Steelers 14 (Dynasty/Fantasy Analysis Game Report)

September 22, 2022 11:59 AM
September 22, 2022 11:57 AM


2022 Week 2: Patriots 17, Steelers 14 (Dynasty/Fantasy Analysis Game Report)


Two similarly mediocre teams faced each other…and both teams tried to give the game to the other all game, but neither would take it. Eventually, mercifully, the Patriots emerged/survived victorious.

Both these teams are ‘good’/tough on defense and very limited on offense.

The Patriots will fight for .500/a wild card because they are still well coached…but have a lack of offensive firepower to compete with the big boys.

The Steelers could fight for .500/a wild card but they’re erratically coached and have a lot of offensive firepower…going to waste. However, the Steelers could/maybe have their season turned around in one move…it’s just will they/when will they make the move? Possibly never in 2022. Possibly next week. We’ll start the next section by discussing that move.



Fantasy Player Notes…


  -- The Steelers need to go to Kenny Pickett…like, right now. Time’s a wasting.

Now, I’m not saying this like some NFL analyst hack who is always wanting change…especially at QB and/or to a rookie. And I’m not some fan bellyaching about ‘my team’ and thinking I’m a part of the organization by discussing what ‘we’ need to do…and I’m a spoiled brat and want a piece of candy/a new QB after every loss.

As an unbiased scout/professional in such matters, and as one of the only people walking the earth that has some respect for Mitch Trubisky (21-33 for 168 yards, 1 TD/1 INT), but also having scouted Pickett a lot pre-NFL Draft and in the preseason -- Pickett is CLEARLY the better QB, and can change the Steelers fortunes…but he needs to get in quickly to get through some of the learning curve, before it’s too late in the season.

Mitch Trubisky is done in the NFL. A nice backup, but he is a QB from a bygone era…and all the new era/new wave pocket passing QBs have completely bypassed him in their passing prowess. Trubisky has a ton of natural talent and is a great athlete (for a QB) but he’s just not a new era passer. Trubisky runs the plays as called. He already knows where he is throwing before the snap and he’s not going to change it. Now, he has talent/skills, so he can deliver the ball where it needs to go…but he is not going to read progressions or make big time throws -- he’s a robot, and a mediocre behind-the-times QB. He would have been ‘good’ in the 1980s. But he’s not one of the best 32 QBs walking the earth in 2022. Kenny Pickett is.

Pickett is like Justin Herbert with half the arm strength (and that’s not a hit on Pickett, Herbert has a cannon). Pickett can read the field and slice up defenses. He’s great at hanging in the pocket and throwing at the last second…to the right spot. But occasionally, Pickett waits too long or thinks he has an arm better than he does and gets burned forcing some throws…but more times than not he’s on the money.

He’s athletic. He’s smart on the field…dumb on a Wonderlic, which totally baffles me. He’s going to change the Steelers offense in short order. And with the Bengals crumbling, if Pickett splashes (as rookie QBs can do these days) then the Steelers could actually make a run at the AFC North…but they gotta hurry before it’s too late.

The best thing that could ever happen to the Steelers is that they lose Week 3 TNF vs. Cleveland, and the Steelers struggle on offense and Trubisky is bad/to blame. If that happens, I would bet that Pickett is starting Week 4.

I know what Mike Tomlin has been saying, rallying to Trubisky’s cause in the media. What’s he supposed to do? Create doubt in his fragile QB before they play a game? Tomlin is not Kyle Shanahan, in that instance, stirring the pot and undermining his chosen QB starter. Tomlin’s comments are what was true THIS WEEK. Next week, after a bad loss (if)…then there will be a new reality. Like your Fantasy teams. You hate Kyle Pitts…but if he goes 5-75-1 this week and launches into the top 5-6 TEs YTD, all is forgiven…for now. This week you hate him and want to dump him or bench him. Next week, he’ll be the cornerstone of your future (potentially). Same sentiment for Tomlin with his QBs.

Think about it. If the Steelers get humiliated by Jacoby Brissett on internet television, he’ll have 10 days until the next game to make a switch. 10 days to hear all about it from fans, the media, and probably from the team. Tomlin is stubborn, so he will probably wait too long to change just to show you that you cannot influence his genius -- but if there is an early window for change, then it would be next week after a bad loss Week 3 TNF giving 10 days of prep to get ready.

If the Steelers win Week 3…then we’re +2 more weeks away from any change at a minimum.

You can try and grab Pickett early and stash him to see, but he’ll lock out a roster spot after Thursday for you and thus take away one option not to be able to maneuver the roster into the weekend, if needed. If you’re right, and the Steelers lose, and chaos is created -- you’re ahead of the game. If you’re wrong, the Steelers win nicely…Pickett is clogging roster space for at least the next week or three.

What to expect from Pickett? In a Steelers offense…as a rookie…with a bad O-Line but a ton of weapons? Probably 250 +/- yards passing, 1-2 passing TDs per game and 10-30 yards rushing (he’s a savvy runner)…and building from there, hopefully. He has upside. But he’s also going into a stiff offense with limited coaching plans. But Pickett is one of those guys that just makes things work.

All the knocks on Pickett are not on-the-field: hand size, too cool personality, low Wonderlic…but watching the preseason, none of that seems to be a real issue. Outside of that, he’s the most talented technician pocket passer in the 2022 or 2021 NFL Drafts.

What I’m excited about is the effect Pickett can have on the other weapons. Let’s discuss that…


 -- The Steelers receivers…

We don’t know who Pickett’s favorite target will be. I think it will be Chase Claypool (4-26-0/60 because he works the middle of the field, and all over…and is clearly the best option. Trubisky is only throwing simple timing routes to the sidelines with Claypool…he’s wasting away otherwise. You can’t use/start CC with any confidence with Trubisky. CC’s only real value is waiting to see what happens with Pickett.

Diontae Johnson (6-57-0/10) will be good enough with Pickett too…as DJ is working like a Justin Jefferson on the outside some, but Trubisky is not comfortable finding DJ weaving through the middle of the field. Most throws to DJ are now timing throws towards the sidelines. Trubisky loves to throw to the sidelines away from the defense, preplanned/timing throws…the sign of a bad/nervous/can’t read the field QB (like what Desmond Ridder will be/is).

George Pickens (1-23-0/2) is going to be the deep threat, 5th choice option in this passing game with or without Pickett. Pickens has a lot of work to do in order to be a real NFL WR. And he is not going to get a push over the way more talented Diontae and Claypool.

Pat Freiermuth (4-22-1/7) is doing well with Trubisky because it’s an easy pre-planned throw short over the middle, right in front of his face…or Pat just sitting down open short in between a zone. Pickett will be good with Freiermuth as well.

This group of receivers is a great group to hand over to Pickett right away.


 -- Najee Harris (15-49-0, 5-40-0/6) will be helped by Pickett as well because teams won’t stack the run/line as much as they do now. Najee is played by the defense like he is Derrick Henry…but Najee isn’t, but the opposing D-C doesn’t know that…nor does the Steelers HC or O-C, so it’s actually wise for D-Cs to play Najee as a star because the Steelers try to push him as one, despite the weak returns from their heart investment. Pickett can open things up a bit more for the run game, in theory.

Najee can be a decent NFL RB…an RB1…but he can’t if defenses overplay him as he runs behind a terrible O-Line.

Jaylen Warren (4-13-0, 1-6-0/1) is the best RB the Steelers have for this current offense -- because teams don’t stack the line when he’s in. But the Steelers coaches would NEVER disrespect Najee, their idol, like that by giving more touches to Jaylen. Warren should be taking 25%+ of the touches to throw curve balls at the defense with Trubisky at QB…but that WILL NOT happen, ever. Only a Najee injury can spring this.


 -- The Patriots played in this game as well, so let’s talk about them…starting with Mac Jones (21-35 for 252 yards, 1 TD/1 INT). He played a pretty solid game here. He has a lot of the issues Trubisky does…pre-planned throws, not really reading the field…but Mac does show some ability to go off script occasionally but between an average arm and a lack of great instincts it’s very touch and go.

The Steelers played the Patriots to run, so the passing game was wide open, and Mac did a decent job of exposing it…a better job than Trubisky did as the Pats played the run and dared Mitch to beat them.


 -- Because of the Steelers playing the run and daring Mac to beat them, and because of the Steelers lack of ability to cover the slot WR ever, Jakobi Meyers (9-95-0/13) was open all day and it was an easy play action throw over the middle to Meyers. This isn’t going to be his normal output.

Nelson Agholor (6-110-1/6) had a good game, but it came from a play that defines these two offenses…right before halftime, Agholor went deep and was totally blanketed, but Mac threw it up anyway. The ball was underthrown, Agholor adjusted, leapt and the defender turned and saw the wounded duck approaching and went to swat at it but totally missed the easy PD and Agholor reached his hands out in prayer and miraculously had the ball miss the defender and land in his hands…then the defender fell away as Agholor landed and darted into the end zone. The worst pass of the day wound up a highlight reel 44-yard TD.

That defines these two offenses.


 -- The Patriots backfield trend remains the same…more Damien Harris (15-71-1, 2-16-0/2) than Rhamondre Stevenson (9-47-0, 1-4-0/2) in carries and targets, but everyone still worships and believes Stevenson is the secret lead and pass game specialist. OK then. Believe what you want.

A lot of the same people believe A.J. Dillon is secretly the favorite lead back for Green Bay despite all the evidence he is not. Just like I think Kyle Pitts is gonna be a featured weapon and FF-elite because he’s so obvious a nuclear bomb to use for an NFL team…but then every game is 1-2 catches with no TD hope, but I believe THIS WEEK is the week.

Fantasy Football is fun, right?


 -- An alternative analysis of this game from Pittsburgh Dad: https://youtu.be/AHKRqsNINqg



Snap Counts of Interest:


54 = Claypool

51 = Diontae

50 = Pickens


42 = Najee

17 = J Warren


42 = Stevenson

27 = Dam Harris

03 = P Strong


About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

Learn more about RC and the Fantasy Football Metrics system >>