2021 Diontae Johnson Fantasy Football Player Profile

Diontae Johnson Pittsburgh Steelers

It’s that time of year once again! Football Absurdity will bring you a breakdown of every notable fantasy football-relevant player throughout June, July, and August. We’ve run through 20 quarterbacks and 40 running backs; that means it’s time to get to the deepest and most varied position! That’s right, we’re on to the wide receivers! Today, I’ve decided to take a look at the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver corps. That’s right, it’s 2021 JuJu Smith-Schuster, 2021 Diontae Johnson, and 2021 Chase Claypool. And yes, I wrote this in a generic enough way to use it as an intro to all three. And also yes, I stole this from the Buccaneers’ WR corps intro! Great catch!

On to whichever player is in the title!

Diontae Johnson ADP & AAV:

Average Draft Position (HPPR): WR22, Pick 56
Average Auction Value: $5.7 (WR21)

Diontae Johnson Statistics:
Year G GS Tgt Rec Yards TD Tgt/G Rec/G Rec% Yds/Tgt Yds/Rec
2020 15 13 144 88 923 7 11.08 5.87 61.1% 6.41 10.49
2019 16 12 92 59 680 5 5.75 3.69 64.1% 7.39 11.53
Year Std Pts HPPR Pts PPR Pts Pts/G HPPR Pts/G PPR Pts/G Pts/Tgt HPPR Pts/Tgt PPR Pts/Tgt
2020 133.8 177.8 221.8 8.9 11.9 14.8 0.93 1.23 1.54
2019 104.1 133.6 163.1 6.5 8.4 10.2 1.13 1.45 1.77
Year Air Yards aDOT YAC YAC/Tgt YAC/Rec AYMS Tgt MS
2020 1144 8 383 2.66 4.35 25% 22%
2019 843 9.2 305 3.32 5.17 21% 18%
2021 Diontae Johnson Fantasy Football Overview:

Diontae Johnson is a horribly polarizing player on fantasy football twitter. His detractors scream about drops, and his proponents scream that Drops Don’t Matter. We all know that Diontae Johnson had a ton of drops last year (11, the most in the league, according to PlayerProfiler.com). But, his drop rate was… well, it was still bad. He dropped 7.6% of targets last year, “good” enough for WR16 in that particular stat. But, do drops matter?

In a discussion with a few people, the drops discussion came up. I decided to see if drops do matter. And I don’t know anywhere else to put that. Given that Diontae Johnson is the poster boy for the drops discussion, it goes here.

On average, players with 100+ targets, and who rank inside the top-20 in drop rate in a year, lose about 9.8% of targets. I filtered for clear injury guys and removed people who fell out of the league entirely. This is… well, it’s rough. The 80 players I looked at over the last four years averaged about 127.3 targets in their drop-addled year. The next year, the same group averaged 114.7 targets.

So, drops do matter. But, a talented wide receiver can overcome drops; they’re a component of being a bad wide receiver. I believe Johnson to be talented enough to overcome drops and garner enough targets to matter. Mostly because he had so many targets that even if he loses 9.8% of them, he still has 138 targets over a seventeen-game season. The extra game will offset the target loss, and the obvious inbound catch rate increase will give him… probably about the same numbers as 2020: 88 catches, 923 yards, and 7 touchdowns. Bump up the yardage over 1,000 and I feel very comfortable with that outcome for Johnson.

2021 Diontae Johnson Fantasy Football Draft Strategy:

Diontae Johnson Auction Value: $6
Draft Ranking: Find out for your league settings in a Beersheet!

Diontae Johnson is currently the first Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver off the board in drafts. But, at this point, we aren’t really sure if it’s Johnson, JuJu, or Claypool who will take over as the best fantasy football wide receiver in Pittsburgh. But, they all go within 14 picks of each other, so just pick your poison with the Steelers’ wide receivers. Personally, I am going to wait and take the third one in a snake draft. That way, you aren’t overreaching for a receiver, and have an equal chance at hitting as the other two guys.

In auction drafts, JuJu and Claypool go, on average, for $4.6 dollars combined. Diontae goes for about $6. That means you can snag JuJu and Claypool for your WR2 slot and see how things sort out, or go and get Diontae Johnson for $6 and pray.

Or get all three for $11. And get Najee Harris, and Eric Ebron, and Ben Roethlisberger while you’re at it.

Best Case Scenario:

Diontae Johnson is a talented enough wide receiver to overcome the drops (which mostly dry up) and he finishes with about 1,200 yards and 9 touchdowns, on 90 catches.

Worst Case Scenario:

Drops do matter, and Diontae Johnson goes for the all-time high score.


Check out all our 2021 player profiles, here.

Want more 2021 fantasy football draft discussion? Check out these links!


quarterback Beersheets Arizona Cardinals Seattle Seahawks Los Angeles Rams San Francisco 49ers New England Patriots

[Statistics are sourced from pro-football-reference.com, airyards.com, and ftnfantasy.com]

[Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Diontae_Johnson.jpg, cropped under CC BY-SA 2.0]

About Jeff Krisko

You can follow me on twitter, @jeffkrisko for the same lukewarm takes you read here.

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