The Pittsburgh Steelers lost themselves a possible Hall-of-Fame clown this past off-season as they traded him to the Raiders (Antonio Brown if you’ve been under a rock.) The Steelers have been a household name for grooming wide receivers over the years. They even found their next great wide out in JuJu Smith-Schuster a few years ago, but now they need to find his Robbin. So, now there is a battle for the second wide out spot. Getting into August there are two players who stand out over the bunch; Donte Moncrief and James Washington.
Challenger # 1
We start with our first challenger, Donte Moncrief. Moncrief is the veteran of this intense battle. He has been in the league for five years, and this is his third team in three seasons. He started off with the Indianapolis Colts, but injuries happened, and after four seasons they moved on. He did show promise in his second season, when he was given opportunity as he went on to catch 64 passes for 733 yards with 6 touchdowns.
After the Colts, Moncrief moved on to Jacksonville on a one-year “prove-it” deal. He didn’t disappoint, but no way did he show his true potential in the offense. He was second on the team in targets, and finished the season with 48 receptions for 668 yards with 3 touchdowns. This production was with a disappointing Jaguars team, and a trash Blake Bortles as his QB for most of the season. Moncrief has the potential to be a solid fantasy wide receiver, but I think he has had some bad luck.
Now he moves on to the Steelers, who are looking to find that number two wide out. Besides disappointing in week two of a preseason game where he fumbled, Moncrief has been tearing it up in practice. He has been given more time and reps in practice over his competition, James Washington. As for a fantasy asset, you can scoop him up in the double-digit rounds. Knowing he plays in a high power offense, and if he secures the WR2 job, he can easily have a top-30 upside.
Challenger # 2
James Washington is looking to beat out veteran Moncrief for the WR2 job. Washington is looking to be the next great in-house Steelers’ wide receiver. He was a second round pick out of Oklahoma State in the 2018 draft with enormous talent. His rookie season was very forgettable as he caught only 16 passes for 216 yards and 1 touchdown. However, in his defense, it wasn’t entirely his fault. He was behind two of the top receivers in the league, a solid TE duo, and a young breakout RB, James Connor.
In 2019, Washington is looking to take the next step, and show that the consistently reliable player he was in college, still lives. On the positive side, at the end of last season, during his final two played games, he did average 3 catches for 65 yards. The Steelers are hoping he can take that into the new season, and be that next star for them. So far, two pre-season games in, he has averaged 4 receptions for 79 yards with 1 touchdown. He is making the most of his opportunity in live action. Don’t be surprised if players like Eli Rogers or Ryan Switzer or TE Vance McDonald have a high impact.
If you are sitting there in your drafts wondering who to take, I’d lean towards Moncrief for now. The job should be his, BUT I would also take a shot on Washington too as I could see him taking over quickly if Moncrief struggles. Both of these players are well worth a late double-digit pick for your team.
WINNER: Moncrief ...for now…