Breece Hall Is the Fantasy RB1 of the Future, But Can Nick Chubb Be the Present?
Image Credit: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Nick Chubb.

Seamus Carr breaks down a few of the underrated moments from Week 4, including rookie breakouts, a new candidate for the overall WR1, and the type of sell high that breaks your heart.

The Young QBs Were the Headliners, But a Rookie RB and WR Emerge

The Steelers and Jets didn’t give us huge fantasy scoring in their Week 4 tilt, but they did showcase two rookies on the verge of serious breakouts. The usage and production we saw from George Pickens and Breece Hall suggest that these players’ rise to fantasy stardom will be taking place very shortly.

Pickens was a first-round NFL talent who slipped to Round 2 after a torn ACL in the spring of 2021 forced him to miss most of his final season at Georgia. While other young stars like Drake London, Garrett Wilson, and Chris Olave have shined early this season, Pickens had to navigate a deeper depth chart and worse QB play. He was already heavily involved in the Steelers’ snaps this season, being on the field for over 70 percent of the offensive plays in each of the first three weeks. And last week versus the Browns, he ran routes on 82% of dropbacks and earned seven targets, more than doubling his looks from the first two contests. He appeared to jump the cratering Chase Claypool in the pecking order.

Halftime of the Jets game brought the second necessary catalyst. Pittsburgh made a quarterback change, bringing in Kenny Pickett to jump start the stagnant offense. Pickens responded with his biggest output of the season, reeling in six catches for 102 yards. Over his first four games, Pickens’ target shares have been 8%, 9%, 22%, and now 32%. 

Pickens showed a good rapport with Pickett during the game and was the focal point at key moments. The two hooked up for a couple of pretty back-shoulder fades, where Pickens showed off his great body control and ability to win contested catches. Several of his grabs were explosive plays, with three going for 25-plus yards.

While it will be harder to fully separate from potentially elite options like Diontae Johnson and Pat Freiermuth, Pickens has dominated the volume categories over the last two weeks.

Player Targets Target Share Recs Catch% Rec. Yards Air Yards YAC aDOT RACR WOPR
George Pickens 15 26.3 9 60 141 257 24 17.1 0.549 0.629
Pat Freiermuth 13 22.8 9 69.2 126 140 28 10.8 0.9 0.469
Diontae Johnson 15 26.3 10 66.7 95 185 17 12.3 0.514 0.563
Chase Claypool 8 14 3 37.5 35 144 -2 18 0.243 0.342

Pickens can produce regardless of who’s under center, but his ceiling case looks stronger with the rookie at the helm.

Another Rookie Superstar?

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Seamus Carr

on Twitter @seamus_carr

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