A fan favorite at wide receiver is usually tough to evaluate when it comes to fantasy football, but for this Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, his outlook for the 2019 fantasy season is black and white. This is the JuJu Smith-Schuster fantasy football outlook for the 2019 season.
Early Career Success
Playmaker is the best word to describe this young wide receiver, as he racked in 587 yards after the catch, leading the league in that category last season. JuJu was also able to finish fourth in targets (166) and fifth in receiving yards (1,426), netting him a top-10 finish at the position, at WR8 in PPR.
When looking at the numbers, JuJu has been able to produce in his career, it is easily shown that he is on the verge of becoming an elite fantasy wide receiver, and I think this is the year. In his entire career of 30 regular season games, he has finished as a weekly top-24 wide receiver 56.7% of the time. That is quite impressive when considering that he is only in his third year. When projecting JuJu for this upcoming season, it seemed as if there were going to be no concerns and he was going to finish as a top-10 wide receiver, but once his teammate Antonio Brown was traded to the Raiders, a small concern arose.
The concern for JuJu has been talked about around the fantasy football industry all off-season, and that is the fact that he has shown no valuable production when lined up outside of the slot. To put the numbers in perspective, these are JuJu’s success rate percentages against various coverages.
199 routes vs man coverage—> 50.30% success
162 routes vs zone coverage—> 84.00% success
102 routes vs press coverage—> 38.20% success
As you can see, JuJu struggled to show success when faced against man and press coverage, which is the main coverage a wide receiver at this talent is up against when lined up on the outside. JuJu was so bad against press coverage that he ranked in the bottom third percentile when facing press coverage and finished in the 87th percentile when facing zone. There is concern linked to this “theory,” but I am not buying it.
Like I mentioned above, there is concern when looking at JuJu’s numbers while lined up as the outside receiver, but I don’t know where people got the idea that just because Brown left that JuJu was going to be immediately shoved to the outside. The Steelers are going to stick with what works and has shown results in the past, and that is lining JuJu up in the slot. Last season, he received 81.3% of his targets at 15 yards or less, and with the additions of Donte Moncrief and Diontae Johnson, the usage of JuJu will not change. JuJu is going only going to improve for this season and will see even more targets, as he is now the top option in a pass-heavy offense. I believe JuJu will finish as a top-5 wide receiver, right along with Julio Jones, Davante Adams, DeAndre Hopkins and Michael Thomas.
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