Diontae Johnson Fantasy Outlook Includes Great Sleeper Value

Max Staley
Diontae Johnson fantasy outlook points to incredible sleeper value in 2020.
Diontae Johnson fantasy outlook points to incredible sleeper value in 2020. / Steven Ryan/Getty Images
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Diontae Johnson is one of the most talked-about sleeper candidates in the 2020 fantasy football season. It's not hard to see why the second-year player is generating so much buzz, either.

Despite being saddled with a horrendous combination of Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges at quarterback for the majority of the year in 2019, Johnson finished with 680 receiving yards and 5 scores as a rookie. With Ben Roethlisberger returning to action, Johnson's fantasy value could explode in the 2020 season.

Diontae Johnson Fantasy Football Value

Johnson currently carries an average draft position (ADP) of WR46, per FantasyPros, and he's a fantastic target at that range.

Over his final four games of 2019 the second-year wideout 7.8 targets and 5.8 receptions for 64.3 receiving yards per game while scoring 2 touchdowns during that span. That's certainly an encouraging trend for any rookie WR.

And it doesn't look like a fluke, either. On average, Johnson created 3.6 yards of separation, per NFL Next Gen Stats, and that was the best mark among all wide receivers. He just wasn't positioned to capitalize on that with Rudolph and Hodges throwing him the ball.

Even if Roethlisberger isn't back to full health, he's going to be an upgrade on those two – at the very least. Rudolph's 5.7 adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A) was the worst mark among all qualified QBs, and Hodges 5.0 was significantly worse, though he didn't technically play enough to qualify. Aside from the injury-riddled 2019 season, Roethlisberger has never averaged below 7.0 AY/A in his career.

Coming off an outrageously efficient rookie season, Johnson looks poised for a year-two breakout. He's a fantastic target at his current ADP and we have him ranked as WR41 in our 2020 fantasy rankings.

Diontae Johnson Injury Update

Johnson has missed the last five days of Steelers' practice. It's likely a calf issue, though the team hasn't released anything concrete yet. Rookie wideout Chase Claypool and third-year WR James Washington have gotten the bulk of Johnson's reps over the last few days.

The severity of the issue isn't exactly clear as of now, but soft-tissue injuries can be really troubling for players that rely on quick, hard cuts like WRs and RBs. This is a situation to monitor.


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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. 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.

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