Fantasy football enthusiasts are gearing up for the exciting 2023 season. One player who deserves a close look is Diontae Johnson of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Johnson's previous performances have shown immense potential. He is expected to have a significant impact on fantasy teams this year. In this article, we will explore Johnson's performance during the 2022 NFL season and compare him to other players in his position. We will also analyze the team's prospects for the Steelers in 2023 and discuss how this might influence Johnson's fantasy football value. So, let's dive right in!
Ever since entering the league as a third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Johnson has proven himself as one of the top receivers in the NFL. While he had a bit of a challenging year in 2022, he was the overall fantasy football WR8 in 2021 and secured a top-24 finish in 2020. His reputation as an exceptional route runner places him among the league's best. He also ranked above the 90th percentile in success rate against both man and zone coverages.
Performance So Far
In fantasy football, volume is key. As such, Johnson's notable pass reception volume in the NFL is striking. Since 2019, only four players have had more targets than Johnson: Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill. In that timespan, despite competition from players like Juju Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool, and George Pickens`, Johnson has consistently found ways to excel. However, Johnson's fantasy performance lagged last year. He fell short of his projected WR15. He even finished at WR39 despite playing all 17 games. The main issue was his low touchdown count; he set a new record with 147 targets but no touchdowns for the first time in his career.
Considering his ample opportunities, Johnson's 2022 performance should have been better. He should have had a few more touchdowns potentially elevating him to WR25. With a strong history, it's unlikely he'll underperform for two consecutive years. This suggests a probable return to his usual touchdown-scoring form. Recall that he managed 20 touchdowns in his first three seasons before the previous year.
— Billy Hartford (@BudDupreeFan) June 16, 2023
How He Compares
When comparing Diontae Johnson to other players in similar positions, his distinct qualities become evident. Johnson's precise route-running and impressive speed make him a potent threat in the passing game. His skill in creating separation from defenders allows him to consistently find openings on the field. Additionally, his reliable catching abilities and knack for making contested catches add to his value for fantasy football enthusiasts. While there are other skilled wide receivers in the league, Johnson's combination of talents and his role within the Steelers' offensive strategy positions him as a promising fantasy option. Right now, we have Johnson among the top 25 WRs for 2023. He is alongside guys like Calvin Ridley and Terry McLaurin.
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Without a doubt, Diontae Johnson's fantasy potential hinges on the Pittsburgh Steelers' 2023 outlook. Led by second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett, the Steelers boast a potentially explosive offense. An improved offensive line and running game could make their offense more dynamic. This should benefit Johnson's playmaking opportunities. Furthermore, the Steelers coaching staff is committed to involving Johnson in the passing game. With a high target count and central role, he's dependable for fantasy players, especially in PPR leagues. As long as the Steelers' offense thrives, Johnson's fantasy value remains high.
Keep in mind that Johnson is likely to stay the primary receiver despite competition from Pickens and Allen Robinson II. Even if Pickens shines, Johnson's role as Pickett's trusted option keeps him relevant in fantasy. As such, the Steelers' offensive output could rise if Pickett excels. After a tough rookie start, he led a 6-1 finish and got Rookie of the Year consideration. If Pickett has a sophomore leap like that of Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence, that could boost Johnson's fantasy value in a big way.
Fantasy Outlook for 2023
Johnson is primed for a rebound season following an unconventional 2022. Despite 16 red-zone and 14 end-zone targets, he astonishingly scored zero touchdowns. With then-rookie QB Pickett and backup Mitch Trubisky, Johnson averaged 10.6 PPR points per game, ranking sixth in targets with 147. Excluding touchdowns, he would have been 20th in PPR points. Positive changes this season could restore his valuable Fantasy WR status. In 2023 PPR leagues, consider Johnson in Round 5, and Round 6 in non-PPR.
That said, assuming a WR37 ADP, Johnson would be a steal. He should exceed his draft position if healthy. Reliable and consistent, Johnson just offers steady fantasy value. He's positioned for a top-24 finish, securing top-36 comfortably. He has a high floor with a variably high ceiling as well, especially in PPR formats.
To sum up, Diontae Johnson's fantasy football outlook for the 2023 season as a member of the Steelers is exceedingly promising. His performance during the 2022 NFL season underscores his capacity to deliver consistent results and make a meaningful impact on fantasy teams. When measured against peers in his position, Johnson's unique skill set and strategic role within the Steelers' offense solidify his worth. Furthermore, the positive projections for the Pittsburgh Steelers' performance in the 2023 season further elevate Johnson's fantasy value. As fantasy football managers gear up for the approaching season, they should keep a watchful eye on Diontae Johnson. In addition, they should consider him as a top-tier wide receiver option could prove to be a prudent choice.