Diontae Johnson is a special talent and he proved that as the Pittsburgh Steelers' top receiver in 2021. The former Toledo product set new career-highs across the board in his third NFL campaign, finishing the year as the WR8 in PPR fantasy football formats.
After such an impressive performance, fans are wondering what Johnson does for an encore. He's in an interesting position due to Mitchell Trubisky replacing the retired Ben Roethlisberger under center, leaving Johnson's fantasy outlook somewhat up in the air.
Diontae Johnson Fantasy Football Outlook
Johnson's impressive play last year saw him cement himself as one of the best at his position. He saw a total of 169 targets over 16 games, hauling in 107 of them for 1,161 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. He paced the Steelers in each of those categories, leaving fans expecting more of the same in 2022.
Though opponents focus a lot of their attention on him, Johnson is fortunate to have wideouts Chase Claypool and rookie George Pickens, along with tight end Pat Freiermuth, to take some pressure off. It worked last year and time will tell if that's the case again.
Nevertheless, the big concern is whether or not Johnson can be as effective with Trubisky as his quarterback. His time as a starter with the Chicago Bears didn't take long to come to an end and there's no telling how the former second overall pick will handle a full-length season.
If Trubisky and Johnson establish immediate chemistry, the latter still has a ton of value as Pittsburgh's No. 1 option. If that isn't the case, it could be a long season for fantasy managers.
Diontae Johnson Projections
Projections from the NFL odds on FanDuel Sportsbook aren't too high on Johnson. For instance, he's currently in a six-way tie for the 16th-best odds (+3500) to lead the league in receiving yards next season. He also has +6000 odds (T-No. 32) to be the receiving TD leader.
It seems like FanDuel expects Johnson to regress this year. The sportsbook has set his projected receiving yards total at 950.5 with -122 odds on both the over and under. He averaged 10.9 yards per reception in 2021, meaning he'd need about 87 receptions to hit the over if that trend continues.
Considering that he's surpassed that number of targets in each of the last two seasons, Johnson shouldn't have an issue hitting the over if he stays healthy.
Is Diontae Johnson a Good Fantasy Football Pick?
Even with Trubisky as the quarterback, Johnson is still a good fantasy football pick. The only thing is that you have to be sure to temper expectations. While last year's showing was impressive, managers shouldn't expect similar success until Trubisky proves that he can handle starting duties.
For now, Fantasy Pros has Johnson listed as their WR14 ahead of the 2022 NFL campaign — a projected six spots worse than he finished last season. He also holds an average draft position of 41.2, making him a candidate to be selected around the middle of the fourth round.
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Devon Platana is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Devon Platana also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username PepeSilvia0. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.