Don’t Drop The Ball: Diontae Johnson
Last season’s leader in drops (11) is a real catch this year for fantasy owners but a large group of analysts and experts are very down on the third year man out of Toledo.
Diontae Johnson has the fantasy community split with some ranking him as a high end WR2 and others a very low end WR3 or worse. His current ECR (expert consensus ranking) on Fantasypros is WR29. I think that is an absolute steal for a guy who was the 7th best Receiver in PPR formats from weeks 6-17 last season! Let’s take a deeper look at what people are missing.
Johnson has picked up the stigma of being very injury prone over his first two seasons in the pros but he has actually only missed one game. However, he has left games early due to a small injury and suited up the very next week. This happened twice last season. He’s also been benched for his drops resulting in extremely disappointing outings for his fantasy owners. Including the two games that saw him exit early due to injury and the benching, he scored just 3.3 points and one of the injuries caused him to miss a game altogether so 218 of his 221 points were scored in only 12 games. That’s just over 18 points a game! Deandre Hopkins was the WR4 last season with an even 18 PPG. You get the idea. Johnson was absolutely elite while on the field.
There’s a debate of who’s the true WR1 in Pittsburgh with some believing it’s JuJu and others thinking Chase Claypool will make the year two jump into that role. To me it’s clear that it’s Diontae Johnson. He led the entire league in drops even though he missed time which is bad but he still led the Steelers in targets by a wide margin despite JuJu and Claypool not missing time. Johnson was 5th among all WRs with a whopping 144 targets and garnered 16 targets in Pittsburgh’s playoff loss to Cleveland. There’s no doubt that Big Ben trusts him, he just needs to capitalize on his opportunities more and he could be a top 5 fantasy receiver. His 2020 statline of 88/923/7 could drastically improve this season if he stays on the field and cuts down on those drops. Even if his numbers don’t improve he’s still a bargain near his current ADP of #68 as he finished as the WR21 last season.
Pittsburgh’s offense will look different this year with a true workhorse running back in Najee Harris but I think they’ll still be in shootouts often and will throw the ball a ton. Johnson has worlds of upside with a very high floor. Don’t drop the ball, draft Diontae Johnson.
Thanks for reading and as always, stay true.
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