Throw out JuJu Smith-Schuster's 2019 season - injuries to JuJu and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made the final numbers look pathetic. Some numbers, like his six drops over 70 targets or his 1.49 yards per route run, will be hard to ignore, but the Steelers offense was a mess. The hope is Smith-Schuster returns to a high-volume role where he averages 10.4 targets per game as he did in 2018, not the 5.8 targets per game he had in 2019. Fantasy managers also have to hope Big Ben's arm is back to normal and that the Steelers revert to a high-powered passing attack, neither of which are promised. If you're certain Smith-Schuster (and Roethlisberger) will be just fine, then spend a late Round 2 pick on him. But if you're cautious, you'll set aside a pick after the middle of Round 3 to get him, though someone else in your league will probably beat you to it.
Smith-Schuster caught two of six targets for six yards during Sunday's 28-10 loss to the Ravens. Although Smith-Schuster finished second on the team in targets, he struggled to produce as Devlin Hodges turned in a putrid performance against the tough Baltimore defense. Smith-Schuster recorded one gain of 11 yards and lost five yards via a screen play on his other grab. This poor performance ends an extremely disappointing season for Smith-Schuster, who finishes with less than half his receiving yardage total from a year ago. Of course, injuries and poor quarterback play were huge factors in his 41-552-3 stat line, and he'll look to get back on track during the 2020 campaign.
Smith-Schuster (knee) caught two of four targets for 22 yards in Sunday's 16-10 loss to the Jets. Clearly gutting it out at much less than 100 percent, Smith-Schuster failed to make much of an impact in his first action since Week 11. The banged-up wide receiver will likely be out there when the Steelers try to clinch a playoff berth against the Ravens in Week 17, but his impact will probably be limited.
Smith-Schuster (knee) is active for Sunday's game against the Jets, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Smith-Schuster didn't carry an injury designation into the weekend after practicing fully Thursday and Friday, but his status was still somewhat unsettled leading up to kickoff after Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com relayed earlier Sunday that the team was monitoring the wideout's ability to tolerate pain in his knee during a pregame workout before determining his fate. Evidently, Smith-Schuster's knee wasn't too bothersome, but it wouldn't be surprising if the Steelers used him cautiously as he returns from a four-game absence. If Smith-Schuster's snap count ends up being limited Sunday, more reps and targets would open up for Diontae Johnson and James Washington.
Smith-Schuster (knee) -- who practiced fully Thursday and Friday -- doesn't carry an injury designation for Sunday's game against the Jets. While that non-listing presumably puts the wideout on track to play this weekend, Smith-Schuster admits that he isn't completely past his knee issue at this stage. "I don't feel 100 percent but I am going to see what I can do," Smith-Schuster acknowledged Friday. "It depends on what (coach Mike Tomlin) says. It's coming along. It's a process. The knee is kind of tricky. You don't really know you are full go until you run your full speed, when you are getting hit, getting tackled. Hopefully I am able to go this week and play." Given Smith-Schuster's words, it still will be worth confirming his playing status in advance of Sunday's 1:00 p.m. ET kickoff, just to be safe. Moreover, assuming he does suit up this weekend for his first game action since Nov. 14, it's plausible that he could be eased back into the mix.
Though Smith-Schuster practiced fully Friday, he acknowledged that his knee isn't 100 percent and isn't sure if he'll play Sunday against the Jets, Brooke Pryor of ESPN.com reports. We'll circle back on Smith-Schuster's status later Friday, but despite his full practice participation, it looks like he could well be listed as questionable on the Steelers' final Week 16 injury report in advance of Sunday's 1:00 p.m. ET kickoff.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/14||@New York Giants||29||26.00|
|13||12/06||Washington Football Team||24||23.00|
|3 Year Avg||106||70||965||6||43||13.79||130|