Diontae Johnson’s Historical Comps Indicate He’s on the Verge of a Sophomore Breakout
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Image Credit: Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Diontae Johnson.

Diontae Johnson had an incredible rookie season. There’s no other way to put it. Although his end-of-year numbers — 59 receptions for 680 yards and five scores — don’t really jump off the page, the Toledo product managed to post positive Fantasy Points Over Expectation (FPOE) despite playing in one of the worst situations imaginable.

Before the season, it looked like one of the best possible situations for a rookie WR, as the Steelers’ pass-heavy offense lacked a proven WR2 behind JuJu Smith-Schuster. Unfortunately, a Ben Roethlisberger injury derailed what likely would have been one of the most potent aerial attacks in the league. Still, their third-round pick was a beacon of hope in an otherwise dreary campaign. Among rookie WRs who played six or more games, Johnson finished:

  • Fifth in targets per game and receptions per game
  • Eighth in receiving yards per game
  • Ninth in fantasy points per game
  • Seventh in expected points per game (reEP)
  • 11th in per-game efficiency (reFPOE)

What’s more, his 1.0 reFPOE per game led all Steelers’ WRs — a critical distinction given what Blair Andrews has shown about the importance of rookie-year efficiency at WR.

Player reFPOE per Game
Diontae Johnson 1.0
James Washington 0.7
JuJu Smith-Schuster 0.0
Ryan Switzer -1.8
Johnny Holton -2.4
Donte Moncrief -5.1

Heading into his sophomore season, Johnson will be in a better position with Roethlisberger (hopefully) healthy. He’s currently being drafted as the WR48 in early best ball drafts. What can you expect from him in Year 2?

Historical Comps

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