After seeing limited usage as the Steelers' No. 4 wideout in the season-opening tie with the Browns, Washington climbed to the third spot on the depth chart in Week 2 with head coach Mike Tomlin making Justin Hunter a healthy inactive. Though Washington was on the field for 66 of the Steelers' 80 offensive snaps and proved useful for fantasy owners that activated him thanks to the first-half touchdown, his output was somewhat disappointing considering that Ben Roethlisberger uncorked 60 passes on the afternoon. Fellow receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster (19) and Antonio Brown (17) more than tripled Washington's target total, revealing a clear divide regarding where the rookie stands in the team's passing attack. Washington's usage should grow as he establishes more familiarity with Roethlisberger, but he's unlikely to make a consistent week-to-week fantasy impact when both Brown and Smith-Schuster are healthy and the offense has a more balanced run/pass ratio.
Washington (abdomen) isn't listed on the initial injury report for Sunday's game in Cleveland, Scott Petrak of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reports.
Washington suffered a minor ab injury while trying to catch a pass in the third week of the preseason. He finished the exhibition slate with seven catches for 158 yards and two TDs in three games, seemingly locking down a role as Pittsburgh's No. 3 receiver. The job could come with a couple extra opportunities if the Steelers don't have Le'Veon Bell (holdout), who averaged 7.1 targets per game last season.
Washington said he hurt an abdominal muscle when he "turned for a ball" Saturday against the Titans, Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Washington termed his early departure a "precautionary measure" and believes he won't be sidelined for long. With one preseason game remaining before Week 1, Washington has shown enough to put himself into the conversation for the No. 3 wideout spot behind Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster, totaling seven catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns in parts of three exhibitions.
The rookie stood out on a night that featured explosive offense on the part of both teams, hauling in a pair of second-half touchdown passes from Joshua Dobbs. Washington's first scoring reception -- a 19-yarder -- capped off a three-play, 45-yard drive, a score he followed up with a 22-yard end-zone grab that finished off a seven-play, 75-yard march. Washington's reception and target totals both led the Steelers on the night, while his yardage drew even with the Packers' Jake Kumerow for a game-high figure. With seven catches for 158 yards over his first pair of exhibitions, Washington is validating his second-round selection thus far. He'll look to keep pushing for a sizable role in his rookie season against the Titans on Aug. 25.
Washington caught two passes for 44 yards in Thursday's 31-14 preseason win over the Eagles.
The second-round draft pick was targeted a total of four times, from both Josh Dobbs and Mason Rudolph, including a 35-yard connection from the latter to set-up a Chris Boswell field-goal. The Steelers have a plethora of offensive weapons, so Washington's greatest challenge this season may be getting enough touches. Still, Pittsburgh's third wide receiver spot has been productive over the past five seasons, averaging 37 receptions for 588 yards and six touchdowns, suggesting he could be a nice middle-to-late round fantasy option.
|3||9/24/18||@ TB||8:15 pm|
|6||10/14/18||@ CIN||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 7|
|9||11/4/18||@ BAL||1:00 pm|
|11||11/18/18||@ JAC||8:20 pm|
|12||11/25/18||@ DEN||4:25 pm|
|14||12/9/18||@ OAK||8:20 pm|
|16||12/23/18||@ NO||4:25 pm|