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PFF Fantasy Analysts Split On Diontae Johnson’s Ranking As A Top Ten WR In The NFL

While listening to the PFF Fantasy Football Podcast with Ian Hartitz and Dwain McFarland, the dialog steered off-course of the scheduled Arizona Cardinals Team Preview to contain a particular Pittsburgh Steelers large receiver heading right into a pivotal 2022 season. Starting on the 44:17 mark of the podcast, which is also shown on PFF’s YouTube page, Dwain McFarland steers off-course of speaking about Marquise Brown and the Cardinals WRs and goes into his fascinations surrounding Pittsburgh Steelers WR Diontae Johnson.

“Diontae Johnson? Absolutely a better player than Marquise Brown. To be honest, if Diontae Johnson was playing with Tom Brady, we would have him like WR3. I mean, he might be WR2,” McFarland said on Johnson’s capacity as a producer on the large receiver place in fantasy soccer. “Dude, we would. I can guarantee you I would have Diontae Johnson in my top five WRs in fantasy.”

Is this a “hot take” assertion by McFarland concerning Johnson and his expertise degree as a large receiver? According to Fantasy Data, Diontae Johnson completed 2021 because the WR8 in fantasy soccer in PPR leagues, averaging 17.2 PPR factors per recreation. Given the character of Pittsburgh’s pass-happy offense. Johnson benefitted from Ben Roethlisberger hyper-targeting him within the quick and intermediate quadrants of the sphere, racking up 169 targets which was tied for the second-most in professional soccer final season. However, the Buccaneers offense was extraordinarily pass-happy as nicely with Tom Brady trying an absurd 719 makes an attempt final season, rating first within the league. Thus, the argument may very well be made that Johnson may have been extra environment friendly and simply as focused in Tampa Bay in 2021.

While McFarland needed to sing Johnson’s praises, Ian Hartitz was fast to level out flaws in Johnson’s profile as a #1 WR, saying that Johnson wouldn’t have began on the 2021 Buccaneers. McFarland in response to Hartitz comes again in a robust manner, selling Johnson as the highest 10 WR he’s trying to receives a commission like this offseason after a robust 2021 marketing campaign.

“I would take Diontae Johnson right now over Mike Evans,” McFarland continues when addressing Johnson. “Look, I like Mike Evans, however I might take Diontae Johnson as a younger, ascending profile over Mike Evans. Absolutely. I imply, Diontae Johnson on any of those elite offenses can be within the prime 5. You give him any of those different quarterbacks, these up-tempo offenses. We are simply fearful that his offense goes to decelerate. You received to take care of both a rookie QB or mitch Trubisky. Those are the dangers with Diontae Johnson. His expertise profile screams that he’s already a prime 5, prime ten receiver within the league to me. It’s only a matter of his scenario.

Just a few days after Chase Claypool famously went on the I Am Athlete podcast with Brandon Marshall, LeSean McCoy and Adam Jones and referred to as himself a top-three receiver within the league, McFarland opts to provide that reward to Pittsburgh’s best large out the final two seasons in Johnson. Putting Johnson over the likes of mike Evans who has by no means didn’t submit below 1,000 receiving yards in a season in his NFL profession is a few lofty reward, however Johnson figures to be a participant on the rise like McFarland instructed. Removing the fantasy soccer element from the dialogue, it will be intriguing to see precisely what Johnson may do in an offense like Tampa Bay, Buffalo, or Kansas City the place he can be allowed to be paired with one of many premier QBs within the NFL and see what he may do.

While Ben has definitely fed Johnson loads of quantity throughout their time collectively, loads of these targets are nearer to the LOS because of the dink and dunk nature of the passing recreation that the Steelers have implanted the previous couple of seasons. We have seen Johnson have the ability to win down the sphere as a deep risk, and the potential for unlocking his full route tree with a franchise passer would permit Johnson to be utilized everywhere in the subject reasonably than as a brief and intermediate goal.

Still, Johnson’s poor metrics attributable to his utilization are what Hartitz level to because the potential draw back for Johnson who has benefitted significantly on quantity throughout his time in Pittsburgh reasonably than effectivity.

“I would just like to see a top five WR talent maybe just average seven yards-per-target,” Hartitz responds to McFarland.

McFarland goes on to debate how yards-per-target in typically a stat that his closely correlated to the WR’s quarterback and their efficiency as was mentioned earlier with Ben Roethlisberger trying to get the ball out fast within the quick passing recreation. While Johnson solely common 6.9 yards per goal final season, Ben Roethlisberger solely averaged 6.2 yards per try which drops to five.43 adjusted internet yards per passing try in response to Pro Football Reference.

It stays to be seen how Johnson will fare this season with out Ben peppering him targets within the passing recreation like he has historically finished to the X-receiver place in Pittsburgh’s offense, whereas the potential lower in targets may very well be a priority for Johnson, the possible enhance in his common depth of goal in addition to his utilization down the sphere within the passing recreation may assist enhance his effectivity if OC Matt Canada plans to open up the offense extra with Trubisky, Kenny Pickett, or Mason Rudolph possible below middle because the group’s beginning QB this season.

Diontae Johnson has proven us that he’s certainly a gifted WR within the NFL in his first three seasons. Whether or not he must be thought-about prime ten and even prime 5 is up for debate, however he’ll get his probability in 2022 to indicate that he belongs in that dialogue attributable to his expertise, not simply his quantity.

What are your ideas on Diontae Johnson forward of the 2022 season? Do you see his play dropping off with out Ben Roethlisberger because the beginning QB, or do you suppose that he may enhance with a brand new passer below middle for Pittsburgh this season? Where would you place Johnson as a expertise because the large receiver place within the NFL? Please go away your ideas within the feedback part beneath and thanks once more for studying!

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