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News: 4 days agoPickens turned 10 targets into four catches, 127 yards and a touchdown in Monday's 26-22 win over the Browns.
Spin: Pickens bounced back from a quiet Week 1 to record his first 100-yard receiving game as well as his first touchdown of the 2023 season. Most of the damage was done on a 71-yard connection between him and quarterback Kenny Pickett late in the second quarter. Outside of the poor catch rate (40 percent), Pickens proved he can be the Steelers' top option after Diontae Johnson (hamstring) was placed on IR this week. Pickens will be aiming for similar results against a less-than-intimidating Raiders secondary Sunday.
ESPN Fantasy Projection: Pickens is one of the top breakout candidates at wide receiver after an up-and-down rookie campaign. The 2022 second-round pick finished 17th at the position in routes but only 48th in targets. Pickens' volume was limited by a vertical-heavy role (his 14.7 aDOT ranked third), but his efficiency was solid (9.5 YPT ranked 11th). Pickens' target volume inexplicably barely changed when Chase Claypool was traded last season (he never cleared six targets in a game after that point), but it figures to increase in his second NFL season. The 22-year-old's downfield role makes him more valuable in non-PPR, but especially if second-year QB Kenny Pickett makes a leap, Pickens has a shot at flex value (or better) in all formats.