By Matt Moulaison
Diontae Johnson has taken the fantasy landscape by storm (in PPR leagues) and JuJu Smith-Schuster being on his team is a big reason why. Ever since JuJu Smith-Schuster entered the league in 2017 he has been one of the most liked players, and most importantly, one of the best teammates in the league. Unlike his ex-teammate Antonio Brown, JuJu loves when the team succeeds; he doesn’t really care about his individual stats.
Smith-Schuster often says: I would rather get a W than have the most yards on the team.” So how does this help Diontae Johnson and company? Well for starters, it’s clear that JuJu is by far the #1 hype-man in the NFL, so just being around him makes you want to do better. He’s one of the most relatable guys in the NFL; despite everything, he’s just a kid at heart. He loves to play video games, do Tik Tok dances; JuJu is just down to do anything with the boys. Could you ask for a better teammate?
Got the only present I wanted today: 10-0 😇🎂
— JuJu Smith-Schuster (@TeamJuJu) November 22, 2020
Obviously, Diontae Johnson’s success (and Claypool’s) isn’t just because of JuJu; the Steelers are known for being great at drafting wideouts. That being said, when the Steelers selected Diontae Johnson with the 66th pick of the 2019 draft JuJu was the one to take him under his wing. Much like JuJu, Johnson’s strongest ability is his route running. You have to believe that being under JuJu’s wing and learning better routes from him at practice will lead to Johnson continuing to improve and it’ll all lead to what we love most… more fantasy points.
Smith-Schuster takes coverage away from Diontae Johnson when he lines up out wide. With Big Ben getting rid of the ball in less than 2.2 seconds this season, it allows Diontae Johnson to thrive in the slot and get more touches. This sets up Johnson to use his quickness and explosiveness to get yards after the catch and create touchdown opportunities. JuJu is also one of the best-blocking receivers in the league (another reason why you couldn’t ask for a better teammate). As a result, Johnson is able to take screens and short passes and turn upfield with more success thanks to the excellent blocking.
Diontae Johnson finished his rookie season leading the Steelers in targets with 92 and as he continues to grow as a player so will his numbers. JuJu is the perfect teammate to grow around. Again, we are lucky Diontae Johnson didn’t grow around Antonio Brown because who knows what would’ve happened to him if that was the case. If JuJu Smith-Schuster sticks around, I expect Johnson to be a mid-round pick in most fantasy leagues for years to come. He’ll be a great receiver to start at flex week to week, but the true WR1 is JuJu Smith-Schuster.