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Contract Year Player Outlook: Diontae Johnson (2022 Fantasy Football)

Jun 23, 2022
Diontae Johnson

We recently look at the impact contract status has on fantasy football performance. Focusing specifically on players entering the final year of their rookie contracts, Sam Ryner put together key takeaways and also players impacted entering the 2022 fantasy football season. Let’s take a deeper dive on one of those players, Diontae Johnson.

Fantasy Football Redraft Draft Kit

Contract-season fantasy performances for WRs (2017-21; PPR scoring)

  • 48.9% produced a PPG at least one point above their career average.
  • 32.6% produced a PPG at least one point below their career average.
  • 18.3% produced a PPG within one point of their career average.
  • 38.7% had the best season-end rank of their rookie contract.
  • 30.6% had the worst-season end rank of their rookie contract.

Fun Fact: 67.2% of fantasy-relevant WRs produce a PPG number that is better than or equal to their career average in the final year of their rookie contract.

What this means: The fact that WRs are more likely to increase their fantasy PPG during the final season of their rookie contracts isn’t surprising given that the WR position tends to be one of the more difficult transitions from college to the NFL. Fantasy managers have been spoiled by Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson the past two seasons, but the majority of young WRs require a few seasons in the NFL to establish themselves as consistent contributors. Research has shown that a WR’s prime years are generally between ages 25 and 28, with age 27 most likely to be the pinnacle of production. So WRs improving their PPG in the final year of their rookie contracts makes sense when rookie contracts can range from 3-5 years. The final season of WR rookie contracts is usually taking place as the player enters or is already within his prime in most circumstances. With this being the case, WRs entering the final season of their rookie contracts are good bets to increase their production and may present draft-day bargains assuming that their potential bump in production isn’t already baked into their ADP.

Diontae Johnson 2022 Fantasy Football Outlook

The ADP market believes that Mitchell Trubisky or Kenny Pickett can take the Steelers to the fantasy promised land. I am not as optimistic.

The best-case scenario for the Steelers’ No. 1 wide receiver is seeing a boatload of targets – albeit inefficient like last season when he ranked second in that category – to deliver for fantasy.

Whether it’s Trubisky or the rookie under center, that is the reality with DJ. Let’s not forget that last year’s heavily-coveted rookie quarterback class produced almost zero reliable options outside of Brandin Cooks (WR20), Jakobi Meyers (WR33) and Kendrick Bourne (WR30).

So with a top-15 early best ball ADP in an offense with more competition for targets between Chase Claypool, Pat Freiermuth, George Pickens, and Calvin Austin III, I would need Johnson to fall significantly in drafts before selecting him.
– Andrew Erickson

8 Contract Situations to Monitor This Offseason >>

2022 Fantasy Football Staff Consensus Rankings

2022 Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros

 

 

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