Washington likely will compete with Donte Moncrief for playing time, ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler reports.
The Steelers added Moncrief and re-signed Eli Rogers shortly after they traded Antonio Brown, leaving them with five viable options for playing time at wide receiver once Ryan Switzer and lead dog JuJu Smith-Schuster are accounted for. Switzer and Rogers have both operated as slot specialists, while Smith-Schuster arguably does his best work inside but also is dangerous out wide. That leaves Washington and Moncrief as the pure outside receivers, potentially competing for one regular job unless the Steelers are set on keeping Smith-Schuster in the slot. Coming off a disappointing rookie season, Washington has a nice opportunity with Brown out of the picture, but the new situation still appears rather competitive -- and it could become even messier after the draft. Given the prolific track record of the Pittsburgh passing game, it's easy enough to make a case for both Washington and Moncrief as high-upside assets in the middle or late rounds of fantasy drafts.
Washington caught all three of his targets for 64 yards during Sunday's 16-13 win over Cincinnati.
The rookie benefited from Antonio Brown (knee) being inactive, falling one-yard shy of matching his single-game high from Week 15. Washington finishes the 2018 season with 16 catches (on 38 targets) for 217 yards and one touchdown in 14 games. He has three years remaining on his current contract but is one of several receivers -- Ryan Switzer, Eli Rogers and Justin Hunter are also in that group -- fighting for targets behind Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Switzer has two years left while the other two are both free agents heading in to next season.
While Washington can't be expected to duplicate Brown's level of play, he figures to see enough work opposite JuJu Smith-Schuster on Sunday to merit Week 17 lineup consideration.
Washington failed to catch either of his two targets during Sunday's 31-28 loss to New Orleans.
This was the sixth of 13 games in which Washington was held without a reception and he has caught just 13 of 35 targets for an abysmal 37 percent catch rate. The Steelers needing a win and help to get in to the postseason, but there are much better receiving options than Washington in Week 17, despite facing a Cincinnati defense that ranks 30th in the league against the pass.
Washington is expected to step in as a starter if JuJu Smith-Schuster (groin) can't play in Sunday's game at New Orleans, Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
The rookie second-round pick has caught just 13 of his 33 targets, but he did haul in three of four for 65 yards in last week's 17-10 win over the Patriots. Teammate Antonio Brown expects Smith-Schuster to give it a go, but an absence from Friday's practice suggests the second-year pro is truly questionable. Even if he does take on a much larger role, Washington may have trouble dealing with a red-hot Saints defense that held each of its last six opponents to 17 points or fewer.