The Duel

JuJu Smith-Schuster Injury Update Boosts Diontae Johnson and James Washington Fantasy Outlook

Jason Schandl
Los Angeles Rams v Pittsburgh Steelers
Los Angeles Rams v Pittsburgh Steelers / Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The 2019 NFL season has already been a disappointing one for fantasy football owners who drafted JuJu Smith-Schuster, but it looks like things are about to get worse.

Smith-Schuster made it through just 22 snaps before suffering both a concussion and a knee injury in a loss to the Cleveland Browns in Week 11, clouding his status for a Week 12 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals. Diontae Johnson (though he suffered a concussion of his own) and James Washington stand to see increased fantasy value if Smith-Schuster is on the shelf.

JuJu averaged only 10.4 PPR fantasy points per game when healthy this season, but his volume was still high enough that his absence will have a big impact on the Steelers' offense. His 56 targets accounted for a team-high 19 percent share, and he also led the team with a 28 percent share of air yards. Johnson (15 percent) and Washington (14 percent) are second and third on the team in target share.

While neither Johnson nor Washington will simply default into JuJu's role as the Steelers' No. 1 WR, the increased volume should affect them both positively in fantasy. Tight end Vance McDonald and RBs James Conner and Jaylen Samuels should pick up some additional looks if Smith-Schuster sits as well.

Steelers WRs also get a great matchup in Week 12, as the Bengals rank dead-last in Football Outsiders' pass defense DVOA metric. If he does suit up, JuJu ranks at WR23 in our Week 12 PPR fantasy football rankings.

If he doesn't play, then both Washington and Johnson will be viable fantasy starters. The edge between the two goes to the healthy Washington, though, and if Johnson and Smith-Schuster are both ruled out then Washington will be especially valuable in Week 12.

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