Diontae Johnson was a full participant in practice on Wednesday, which means we're ranking him for Fantasy purposes. It also means the Steelers' wide receivers are terribly difficult to project. They have no shortage of talent with Johnson, Chase Claypool, JuJu Smith-Schuster and even James Washington. But guessing which one to trust in Week 7 seems nearly impossible.
Johnson might be the easiest to project in terms of volume, if he could just stay healthy. In the first two games of the season he dominated target share (31.9%). But he's left each of the past two games due to injury, and that opened the door for Claypool.
I can't imagine anyone is going to sit Claypool no matter what I say. I'm not. But it's worth noting he had five total targets in the two games Johnson finished. And he only has one game all season with more than four targets. He's not going to continue averaging 13.96 yards per target, but it's reasonable to think his target share will grow due to his recent performance.
Smith-Schuster is certainly the most frustrating. Not once all season has he led the Steelers in targets, and he hasn't had more than five targets in a game since Week 2. I do not believe Smith-Schuster's talent has been stolen by the Monstars, so my expectation is that he'll eventually be a good Fantasy receiver again. But I can't offer you any assurance that "eventually" starts in Week 7.
So what am I doing with them this week? I'd start Claypool as a No. 3 receiver or flex. I wouldn't blame you for starting him over some of the guys I have projected higher than him. I'd start Smith-Schuster over Johnson, but neither are in my top 36 this week and I'd do my best to avoid them. I fully expect one of them to make me look ridiculous for saying that, and it's possible we get a repeat of Week 1 where Smith-Schuster and Washington are the two best options. As long as they're all healthy, this profiles as a situation that could frustrate us all year. For your sanity the best option may be to trade whichever one is hot. Currently, that would be Claypool.
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Week 7 WR Preview
The following players are not being projected to play Week 7 at this time:
Numbers to Know
- 10 -- Jamison Crowder is still the only receiver in football with double-digit targets in every game he's played. That makes him a must-start despite his disappointing Week 6.
- 0 -- A.J. Green, T.Y. Hilton and Julian Edelman are the only players in football with at least 36 targets and no touchdowns.
- 18.7 -- Marquez Valdes-Scantling leads receivers with at least 20 targets in average depth of target. He's not reliable, but this role means he could make your week on any given play.
- 152.8 -- Ben Roethlisberger has a 152.8 quarterback rating when targeting Chase Claypool. It's 86.5 when targeting Diontae Johnson.
- 4.7 -- JuJu Smith-Schuster's aDOT. It's nearly impossible to be Fantasy relevant with low volume and a low aDOT.
- 31.8% -- Michael Thomas was targeted on nearly a third of the Saints pass attempts last year. Will his return spell the end of Emmanuel Sanders and Tre'Quan Smith as Fantasy options?
Matchups that matter
Tee Higgins WR
CIN Cincinnati • #85
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Waiver Wire Targets
Tim Patrick WR
DEN Denver • #81
Age: 27 • Experience: 3 yrs.
I keep waiting for Jerry Jeudy to take over as the Broncos' No. 1 receiver and Tim Patrick keeps scoring Fantasy points while I wait. He has 15 targets to Jeudy's nine in the Broncos past two games and he's been better on a per-target basis as well. The Broncos should be chasing the score against Kansas City in Week 7, and Patrick should be a solid No. 3 receiver.
Keelan Cole WR
JAC Jacksonville • #84
Age: 27 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Cole shares a lot with Fulgham and Patrick in that we're much more excited about D.J. Chark and Laviska Shenault. Cole's currently the No. 23 wide receiver in PPR scoring, ahead of D.J. Moore, Devante Parker and Odell Beckham. There's enough pass volume for multiple receivers to be good in Jacksonville, and more often than not this season one of them has been Cole.
TB Tampa Bay • #81
Age: 32 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Brown is eligible to return after Week 8 and there are reports that teams are interested. We don't know what he has left, but you could do worse for an upside bench stash.
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #82
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Between the injuries and the poor performance in Week 6, I kind of get it, but it's really weird that the leader in targets per game is priced around six thousand on both sites. The Bills haven't been good at all against the pass this year, and Crowder has 29 catches for 290 yards and two touchdowns in his past three games against them.
Corey Davis WR
TEN Tennessee • #84
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Davis is back off the Covid list and in a really interesting spot. I'm not sure the Titans can run on Pittsburgh, and I'm pretty sure the Steelers will do whatever it takes to take A.J. Brown away. That could leave Davis in a very interesting spot as a tournament play only. And no one is going to play him.
So who should you start and sit this week? And which surprising quarterback could lead you to victory? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 7 rankings for every position, plus see which QB is going to come out of nowhere to crack the top 10, all from the model that out-performed experts big-time last season.