Fantasy News & Analysis

NFL Week 16 Fantasy Football Recap: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Las Vegas Raiders

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) runs the ball against Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Nate Hobbs (39) and linebacker Denzel Perryman (52) during the second quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

George Pickens: 5 receptions, 57 yards, 1 touchdown

Najee Harris: 16 carries, 53 yards, 6 receptions, 42 receiving yards

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Las Vegas Raiders @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Raiders continue to ease in their starting receivers: Both Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller were back in the Raiders' lineup last week after extended absences, but neither player returned to their usual workload.

  • Waller would typically play close to 100% of Las Vegas' offensive snaps when he’s fully healthy, but he was frequently rotated out like last week.
  • He and Foster Moreau shared the field in two tight end sets, but Moreau typically played in one tight end sets on early downs while Waller took the third-down snaps.
  • Waller's limited role didn’t stop him from leading the team in receiving yards (58) while catching four passes.
  • He is a risky player to start next week against the San Francisco 49ers.
  • San Francisco has allowed the fifth-fewest yards to tight ends this season, and we probably won’t know if Waller will play more snaps before the game.
  • The gap between Renfrow and Keelan Cole for the Raiders slot role has widened, but ideally, Cole wouldn’t see the field at all.
  • Renfrow was playing 30% of the team's 12 personnel snaps last season, but Renfrow has only played one snap from that personnel grouping this season. He seems unlikely to play the same amount of snaps as he did last season.
  • On the bright side, he scored his first touchdown of the year.

Pat Freiermuth bounces back: Freiermuth’s playing time has been on the decline in recent weeks, but that trend sharply changed this week.

  • Freiermuth had been the Steelers' primary receiving tight end all season, but he was losing snaps on early downs in 11 personnel to Zach Gentry in recent weeks.
  • This led to Gentry playing more offensive snaps than Freiermuth last week, and Freiermuth was held without a target.
  • Freiermuth not only took most of the early-down snaps in 11 personnel, but he played more than he used to earlier in the season from this personnel grouping.
  • Gentry had a clear hold on snaps in 21 personnel prior to Saturday night. Freiermuth only played one snap from that personnel grouping all season.
  • Freiermuth took both of the snaps from that personnel group tonight.
  • He still played the clear majority of third downs and two tight end sets as usual.
  • This led to seven catches for 66 yards and is a promising sign he will continue to be one of the better fantasy tight ends.
  • He can remain in fantasy starting lineups next week, and there is less to worry about with Freiermuth for 2023.

Table Notes

Snaps include plays called back due to penalties, including offensive holding or defensive pass interference. The other three stats have these plays removed.

Targets may differ from official NFL sources. The most likely discrepancy would be from a clear thrown-away pass, where the NFL may give the target to the nearest receiver, while this data will not.

Carries are only on designed plays. Quarterback scrambles won’t count for the total number of carries in the game.

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