Would You Rather: Draft Antonio Brown or JuJu Smith-Schuster in 2019 Fantasy Football

Jason Schandl
Pittsburgh Steelers v New Orleans Saints
Pittsburgh Steelers v New Orleans Saints / Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers were the only team to have two wide receivers finish in the top 12 in PPR fantasy points in the 2018 season, with Antonio Brown placing fifth and JuJu Smith-Schuster finishing eighth. They also both rank in the top 11 in the NFL in receiving yards since JuJu entered the league in 2017.

Both thrived while sharing looks in the Steelers' offense, and now that Brown is an Oakland Raider, we'll get to see them each work as No. 1 WRs.

With JuJu and AB set for featured roles in their respective offenses, fantasy football drafters are taking both inside the first two rounds. JuJu has an average draft position (ADP) of WR7 and Brown is WR9, per FantasyPros.com. With that in mind, let's break down which WR you should draft in the upcoming season.

Antonio Brown Fantasy Outlook

We've never really seen a WR soak up volume like Brown did in Pittsburgh. His six seasons with 100-plus receptions are tied for the most of any player in NFL history, and he's the only player to ever hit that mark in six consecutive seasons.

That's obviously an incredible feat, but we also can't separate him from the context of the Steelers' offense, which has ranked top 10 in pass attempts in four of the last five years, finishing no worse than 16th in any of the last six seasons.

He goes from a Steelers squad that ranked first to a Raiders team that ranked 16th in pass attempts in 2018 and also gets a big downgrade at QB, going from Ben Roethlisberger to Derek Carr.

JuJu Smith-Schuster Fantasy Outlook

It's hard to ever project a team to lead the league in passing, but with the Steelers' track record of pass-heavy play calling, we can still expect a ton of volume in 2019. Having racked up 166 targets while playing second fiddle to Brown last year, it's hard to see JuJu's target number dropping too much, even if the team's attempts do fall.

The potential concern with JuJu is how his efficiency will fare as the No.1 option. He worked out of the slot extensively in 2018, and having Brown on the outside helped open up space for him to work. He has looked like a truly special player though, and his 2,343 receiving yards is the 10th-highest mark ever recorded by a WR in the first two years of their NFL career.

Both guys rank among the league's elite in terms of both floor and ceiling for their fantasy production in 2019, but with Brown's change in scenery, it's easier to like JuJu to come closer to his ceiling.

Brown doesn't have much room for an increase in volume even though he's going to have less competition for targets this year. The Raiders are unlikely to pass as much as the Steelers, and touchdowns could be harder to come by.

The big potential downgrade for JuJu, not having Brown take heat off of him, may not even prove to be a major blow, as it will give him the opportunity to improve his target share. He's slightly more expensive than Brown in fantasy football, but he could prove to be well worth the higher price tag.

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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 his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.