Diontae Johnson, lining up as a WR1 for the Steelers, is coming off his best season yet although the Pittsburgh couldn’t get past the Wild Card round for the second season in a row. Johnson is entering the fourth and final year of his rookie contract, while the Steelers are reportedly in talks with Johnson and his camp. The hope is to get a contract extension done with his team before Week 1, but time will tell if that’ll happen for the 26-year-old receiver.
2021 season statistics & fantasy finish
Receiving: Johnson caught 107 of his 169 targets in 2021, totaling 1,161 yards on the season. He added eight touchdowns, with every stat coming in as a career-high in his third year.
Rushing: He ran the ball five times for 53 yards and lost two fumbles through 16 games.
Fantasy: Johnson finished as the overall WR8, with a total of 274.4 points in PPR leagues, averaging 17.2 points per game.
Steelers offseason moves
In what ended up being a very busy offseason for Pittsburgh, the banner signing was bringing on QB Mitch Trubisky as they enter into their first season in nearly two decades without Ben Roethlisberger at the helm. Trubisky is coming off a one-year deal with the Buffalo Bills where he served as backup to Josh Allen, but didn’t see much playing time at all. Now with the assumption that he’ll be the starting QB for Mike Tomlin’s side, he’ll likely be backed up by rookie Kenny Pickett, who the Steelers drafted in the first round at the No. 20 overall pick. They also lost JuJu Smith-Schuster, who signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, but picked up WR George Pickens in the draft who is slated to start alongside Johnson and Chase Claypool.
2022 best case scenario
With Johnson still slated to be Pittsburgh’s WR1, a best case scenario would see him dominating the majority of the target share to boost his fantasy output. He came in second in the league last season in number of targets, tied with Davante Adams at 169 overall. A hypothetical best case scenario would also see him boost his efficiency, as last season he only caught 107 of those targets for a 63.3% completion rate. Fantasy managers will hope to see that percentage jump up by quite a bit especially in PPR leagues.
2022 worst case scenario
The worst case for Johnson this season would likely include Trubisky not being able to work with Johnson’s game very effectively. It’s somewhat unknown at this point how the Steelers’ offense will play out with a new QB in charge on the field, and who knows if Trubisky will even end up being the starter once the season gets underway. He’ll be competing with Mason Rudolph and rookie Kenny Pickett, so the offense could get off to a rocky start for all receivers, including Johnson.
Once the offense gets firing on all cylinders and there’s a clear starting QB, things will fall into place for Johnson and the rest of the receivers. I’d expect him to finish in as a top 10 WR again this season as he looks to top last year’s performance.