With the NFL Draft just over a month away, I’ve been breaking down top prospects and their ideal fits for Dynasty fantasy football. If you need a refresher on Dynasty, I wrote about how fun it can be in my previous articles. Here are the prospects I’ve covered so far:
- Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
- Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
- David Bell, WR, Purdue
- Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
- Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
- Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
- Dameon Pierce, RB, Florida
Lucio Vainesman also broke down the best landing spots for these prospects, too:
- Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
- Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
- Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
- Drake London, WR, USC
- Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
- Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State
Today, I’ll be talking about Georgia wide receiver George Pickens. There isn’t much to dislike about Pickens’ game. His athleticism and catch radius make him one heck of a downfield threat. Pickens is the type of receiver that quarterbacks can trust when throwing to. In Pickens’ scouting report, Drae Harris specifically notes that Pickens needs to bulk up to better handle more physical cornerbacks.
“Because he is lean and there have been injury concerns in his past, this could affect the projection to the next level,” said Harris. He also adds that Pickens would be best as a perimeter receiver in a downfield offense.
At this point, it’s too obvious I would include the Falcons. For every wide receiver prospect I’ve covered in my Dynasty series, I’ve included Atlanta. They need help across the board. With wide receivers Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage no longer in the picture, the Falcons have about 20 vacated targets per game to fill. Translation: whoever Atlanta drafts can be in-line for a hefty target share alongside Auden Tate, who’s underrated in his own right. Pickens has the skillset to be a team’s top wide receiver. If he bulks up a bit more and stays healthy, the only player stopping Pickens from seeing, say, eight targets a game is Kyle Pitts. We’ll need to see just how efficient Arthur Smith’s offense is with Marcus Mariota—or another rookie—before we crown Pickens the top rookie receiver in fantasy. Regardless of his ranking within the league, Pickens could still have a straight shot to becoming the Falcons’ long-term wide receiver.
Like the other four teams on this list, the Bears could use another wide receiver. I have no clue why they haven’t addressed that need yet this offseason. It definitely opens the door for Chicago to draft multiple pass-catchers, but few seem like a better complement to Darnell Mooney than Pickens. Bryan Perez agrees that the duo could create better opportunities for each other in the passing game.
“For the Bears, a player like Pickens makes almost too much sense,” said Perez. “He’s an estimated 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds and is equal parts field-stretcher and contested-catch wizard.”
Chicago’s offense will look different than last year with Head Coach Matt Eberflus replacing Matt Nagy. Still, quarterback Justin Fields looked fine enough to suggest he can sustain two fantasy-relevant wide receivers. Pickens gives Fields a true alpha receiver, not unlike what Allen Robinson used to be. Pickens may not see as much volume in Chicago as he would elsewhere, but the opportunity is there to make an immediate impact in fantasy football. And if you’ve read the rest of my Dynasty series, then you know how important early opportunity is to long-term success.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
In case you haven’t heard, the Packers could use a wide receiver or two. Obviously, I’m not suggesting a rookie receiver like Pickens would come in and instantly replicate Davante Adams’ success. But you have to start somewhere, right? Pairing Pickens with one of the best quarterbacks of this generation is a recipe for fantasy success. Not to mention the wide receiver group in Green Bay is scarily thin. Although the Packers were a bit below league average in pass-play percentage, Adams’ departure should create enough volume for his replacements. For my money, Pickens would not only be Green Bay’s best pass-catcher, but he’d be my top choice in rookie wide receiver rankings, period. The sky is the limit for Pickens in Green Bay and this is by far my favorite Dynasty fit for him.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Similar to the Packers, the Chiefs suddenly find themselves lacking a true No. 1 wide receiver. While tight end Travis Kelce should remain Patrick Mahomes’ favorite target, the departures of Tyreek Hill, Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson leave nearly 15 targets per game up for grabs. Yes, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling were brought into the receiver room to alleviate the massive hole left by the Hill trade but Smith-Schuster will almost certainly play in the slot and Valdes-Scantling, well, I have my reservations about his overall ability. Pickens brings a more trustworthy pass-catching skillset and would take over as a perimeter receiver. His lack of versatility may cost him a few schemed touches, but this situation is too good for Pickens. There’s a reason why the best wide receivers in fantasy football tend to play with the best quarterbacks, let alone the best offenses. Pickens gets that in Kansas City.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Would you look at that? Another team that could use a wide receiver. Oh, what’s that? New Orleans still has Michael Thomas? Sure, Thomas will almost certainly be the Saints’ top pass catcher but for as good as Thomas once was, we still don’t know how he’ll fare after missing a majority of the last two seasons with an ankle injury. Betting on Pickens in New Orleans is also expecting a decline from Thomas. And even if Thomas plays like his All-Pro self from 2018 to 2019, there is still room for Pickens to see valuable targets. I say “valuable” targets because Jameis Winston is back. In seven starts prior to his ACL injury, Winston averaged 8.3 air yards per pass attempt. That would’ve been the seventh-highest rate in the league. You don’t have to be a math major to know why that large depth of target is valuable in fantasy. Even if the Saints move on from Winston in the future, who’s to say it impacts Pickens? In Dynasty, you can’t look too far ahead when predicting team rosters. Besides, Pickens would enter a great situation in New Orleans with Winston at quarterback, no true secondary wide receiver and questions surrounding the top guy. It’s not my favorite fit, but it’s one that could help Pickens’ Dynasty value all the same.