Game-By-Game Projections: JuJu Smith-Schuster (2020 Fantasy Football)
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Below are the game-by-game projections for JuJu Smith-Schuster. It takes into account all factors from athletic profile and volume of touches to offensive line talent, surrounding skill player talent, matchups, game scripts, and the likelihood of injury to JuJu and those surrounding him. Let’s take a look at his game by game expectations in 2020.
Week 1: @ New York Giants
In 2019, JuJu dropped down to just 70 targets but that was with what may have been the league’s worst passing game and while playing through an injury for 12 games. He is still just 23 years old and now gets the quarterback who threw him 166 targets as a 21-year-old. JuJu will have a handful of double-digit target games in 2020.
Predicted stat line: 6 receptions on 10 targets with 72 yds and 0 TDs — 10.2 fantasy pts
Week 2: vs Denver Broncos
Part of JuJu’s struggles were expected. Antonio Brown left and the Steelers tried to fill that void by moving JuJu to the outside where he had more difficult individual matchups and often double-teams. This season, he will go back to the slot which should lead to much easier matchups. Last year, this would have been the lone exception because Chris Harris Jr. is the best slot corner in football but he moved onto the Chargers so JuJu has another strong performance in Week 2.
Predicted stat line: 4 receptions on 7 targets with 56 yds and 1 TD — 13.6 fantasy pts
Week 3: vs Houston Texans
The Texans have been known to have some of the best defenses in football since they drafted J.J. Watt but that hasn’t exactly been true. And this season, it should be among the league’s worst. JuJu puts up another big game–his best of the season–and fantasy owners are doing cartwheels about having drafted what seems like a clear WR1 by this point.
Predicted stat line: 5 receptions on 8 targets with 95 yds and 1 TDs — 18.0 fantasy pts
Week 4: @ Tennessee Titans
The Titans are going to be a powerhouse this season. Once Ryan Tannehill took over, they averaged over 30 points per game over 10 contests then went into New England and Baltimore to beat them in the playoffs. So Pittsburgh finds themselves playing from behind here and Big Ben airs it out a ton, giving JuJu 13 targets. Unfortunately, he isn’t able to break a big play or get in the end zone, giving fantasy owners a lackluster WR5 performance as is bound to happen here and there.
Predicted stat line: 7 receptions on 13 targets with 54 yds and 0 TDs — 8.9 fantasy pts
Week 5: vs Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles’ secondary was an absolute trainwreck last year thanks to a number of injuries. They won’t be world-beaters by any means this year but they should be improved enough so as to not be a cakewalk anymore. JuJu has a standard performance against them in Week 5 and fails to find his way into the end zone.
Predicted stat line: 6 receptions on 10 targets with 70 yds and 0 TDs — 10.0 fantasy pts
Week 6: vs Cleveland Browns
Much like the previous week, JuJu does his part for the offense, catching six balls for over 10 yards per reception but because he doesn’t get those magical 6 fantasy points from a touchdown, it turns out to merely be a WR3 week even with him being top 1o in the NFL for yards over the week.
Predicted stat line: 6 receptions on 8 targets with 91 yds and 0 TDs — 12.1 fantasy pts
Week 7: @ Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens needed some linebacking help this spring but the rest of their defense was rock solid. They should have no trouble slowing down a 38-year-old Big Ben, and even though the Ravens are better on the outside than in the slot, you can bet Harbaugh will have a creative answer for JuJu.
Predicted stat line: 4 receptions on 8 targets with 25 yds and 0 TDs — 4.5 fantasy pts
Week 8: BYE WEEK
Week 9: @ Dallas Cowboys
The touchdown drought continues following the bye week. Although this matchup and expected game script may seem ideal on paper during the preseason, there will be defenses who are much better than anticipated and game scripts that are nothing like what we would have seen. Who expected the 49ers to be a Super Bowl team last preseason? Who expected the Steelers to have one of the worst offenses in football? These things happen with injuries and breakouts. I’m not forecasting either for the Cowboys but it is going to happen at some point where a breakout defense stuns JuJu for a week or two.
Predicted stat line: 3 receptions on 6 targets with 48 yds and 0 TDs — 6.3 fantasy pts
Week 10: vs Cincinnati Bengals
You knew the blowup game had to happen eventually! The Bengals are going to be playing in a ton of shootouts this season as their offense should actually be quite good and their defense may just be the worst in football. The Steelers air the ball out all four quarters for nearly 60 pass attempts and JuJu gets an even larger percentage of the target share than he usually does. He makes the most of his opportunity, catching 12 balls for a week-high 153 yards.
Predicted stat line: 12 receptions on 15 targets with 153 yds and 1 TDs — 27.3 fantasy pts
Week 11: @ Jacksonville Jaguars
If you managed to buy low during JuJu’s struggles, you are dancing on the rooftop about now as he posts a top three fantasy performance for the second straight week. This time, it all happens in the first half as the Steelers jump out to an enormous lead and JuJu comes out of the game a bit early.
Predicted stat line: 5 receptions on 6 targets with 124 yds and 2 TDs — 26.9 fantasy pts
Week 12: vs Baltimore Ravens
Unlike the last time JuJu took on these Ravens, he jumps out to 3 receptions in the first quarter. Unfortunately, he is knocked out with a minor injury and doesn’t return. These things are bound to happen to most players in a season. Knowing who and when is a total crapshoot but it should be written into the projections based on historical rates.
Predicted stat line: 3 receptions on 4 targets with 37 yds and 0 TDs — 5.2 fantasy pts
Week 13: vs Washington
The early week injury report had it seeming like JuJu would definitely be good to go for Week 13, but as time progressed during the week, he was downgraded to doubtful before being ruled out for a rather meaningless home game against a lackluster Washington team.
Predicted stat line: 0 receptions on 0 targets with 0 yds and 0 TDs — 0 fantasy pts
Week 14: @ Buffalo Bills
The Bills’ run defense is horrendous but their pass defense might just be the best in all of football. It is highlighted by what may be the number one cover corner in football this season in Tre’Davious White. Sometimes these shadow corners move into the slot and going into the season, there is no telling which ones will do it. In this scenario, I have White slowing down JuJu for his worst performance of the season.
Predicted stat line: 1 reception on 2 targets with 11 yds and 0 TDs — 1.6 fantasy pts
Week 15: @ Cincinnati Bengals
Much like Week 10, the Bengals have no answer for JuJu as he runs wild on them catching 9 of his 10 targets for nearly 100 yards. This is the kind of bounceback performance fantasy owners needed if they hung on through the first round of the playoffs despite JuJu’s dreadful fantasy performance.
Predicted stat line: 9 receptions on 10 targets with 97 yds and 1 TDs — 20.2 fantasy pts
Week 16: vs Indianapolis Colts
JuJu follows up his big game with an even bigger one in the fantasy championship, catching 9 more passes including a 40 yard touchdown towards the end of the game.
Predicted stat line: 9 receptions on 11 targets with 126 yds and 1 TDs — 23.1 fantasy pts
Week 17: @ Cleveland Browns
Although the fantasy season is over, the numbers still count and once again, JuJu has a standard performance versus the Browns’ much-improved pass defense.
Predicted stat line: 4 receptions on 7 targets with 66 yds and 0 TDs — 8.6 fantasy pts
2020 Season Totals
See the chart below for full weekly stat breakdowns (for half-PPR leagues) along with season totals:
|Week||Opponent||Targets||Receptions||Receiving Yds||Receiving TDs||Fantasy Points|
So much can happen in any given year from a season-ending injury to your quarterback (see last year) to a lingering injury that ends up shutting you down (also see JuJu from last year) to even a two-week CoVid quarantine this season (hopefully not for JuJu this year). All of these things are written into the equation when we forecast projections. If you ran 10,000 simulations, however, JuJu would more often than not, see a huge bounceback season. That is what happens in my projections.
No, he doesn’t total the same 1,426 yards he gave fantasy owners in the 2018 season that Big Ben threw 675 passes, but he does catch 84 balls for over 1,100 yards and 7 scores. That would have been enough to make JuJu the #13 fantasy wideout last season. He is currently being drafted 17th among wide receivers and take note: he is ranked 12th on average by the expert consensus in the industry.
There is, of course, a chance that JuJu vastly underperforms this season but he is still young enough that we could see him blow away his draft expectations and lead the league in receiving yards. All in all, you are getting a great value at the 3rd/4th round turn this year if you can manage to snag JuJu.