I started to actively look for trade partners for Diontae last weekend. Not in panic mode, but I’d prefer to not have him on my roster once the season kicks off.
Diontae’s WR#8 season last year was built on one main pillar: volume.
The 2021 Steelers had the 4th most passing attempts in the league (664), only 11 attempts behind the Chiefs and the Chargers. Their passing game was inefficient (22nd in terms of completion rate and dead last in terms of yards per completion).
But the volume alone was enough to push Diontae into the top 10. Only Cooper Kupp saw more targets, Diontae tied 2nd place with Davante Adams in that category.
Is this going to repeat in 2022? I have my doubts. The Steelers will try to push the ball further downfield. That will lead to less passing attempts, a lower completion ratio, but more passing yards.
In other words: less passes, more yards. And I’m not sure if Diontae will benefit from that approach.
I don’t see him fading, still have him as WR#12 in my rankings. The positive aspect for him is that there is not a lot of competition for targets. Pickens and Austin were obviously drafted with 2023 in mind and won’t claim a huge volume this year. That leaves only 4 relevant pass catchers: Najee Harris, Pat Freiermuth, Chase Claypool and Diontae.
A high-volume offense with few pass catchers is exactly what we are looking for in fantasy. But that’s also my best argument for a high asking-price for Diontae.
If the main beneficiary of the Steelers’ new passing game is indeed Chase Claypool (rumor has it there are people out there betting on that ), then Diontae’s value will plummet.
I don’t see a scenario in which Diontae’s value will be higher in 12 months than it is right now. The best-case scenario is that he will retain his value. So I can as well sell him now, if another owner is willing to pay an adequate price.
Right now, I’m trying to turn him into Michael Pittman or Jaylen Waddle. Both owners aren’t thrilled, but at least we are talking. Good thing is, both teams are RB-needy, both don’t have an early 2022 pick, and I am in a position where I can afford to give up an RB2 because I happen to have the 1.01.
The trade talks are: I give up Diontae, Damien Harris (plus Rhamondre as handcuff) and maybe a mid/late 2022 pick in exchange for Pittman or Waddle and a 2023 1st (both in the 1.05-1.09 range).
If one of the owner bites, Diontae is a goner. If not, I’ll not lose any sleep holding on to him.
TL;DR: Diontae is not a panic sell candidate by any means. But it’s not the worst time to trade him away.