Is JuJu the New Go To Wideout in Pittsburgh?

Coming into this season, a lot of Fantasy Football owners picking in the top 3 of their drafts probably ask themselves the now annual question of “should I take Antonio Brown with my first pick?” I know I was asked that question on several occasions by some of my friends that lack much football knowledge, but still wanted to compete in their respective leagues. In the past my answer would almost certainly have been “absolutely, especially in a PPR league.” But this year was a little different, my answer this year was  “I still like him as a top 3 pick, but don’t be surprised if JuJu has a better season.” And without fail Smith-Schuster has already made me look like the next Matthew Berry of the amateur fantasy football game.

GTY 900116720 S FBN USA PA

With a total of 27 rec, 356 yds and a tuddy on 38 targets so far this season the Juju man is outperforming the perennial best wide receiver in AB who hasn’t looked terrible but not what we expect from the guy who likes to shake his booty all in opposing teams faces in the end zone each Sunday. Brown has 24 rec and 210 yards on 42 Targets so far this year. Are opposing defenses focusing in on Brown and giving him a lot of double coverage? No doubt. But that hasn’t seemed to slow him in the past and with him putting up social media posts like the following it leaves the question of where his head is really this season.

antonio-brown-ab84-trade-me-lets-find-out-ryan-scarpino-36327215

With the Steelers locker room seemingly in the worst shape its been in the Mike Tomlin era, (which says a lot) it must come to a relief to many Steelers fans that it looks like the next explosive wide-out is already on the roster and making plays. In just 14 games last season he went for 58 rec and 917 yds. In all 3 games so far this year he has topped 100 yds and if he can continue on this pace his projected numbers would be in the range of 140 Rec for 1800 yds. Stats that look eerily similar to ones put up by the guy who is supposed to be the star WR on this team.

The reason I had an inclination that Juju was heading for a breakout year is that he is one of the rare NFL talents that not only has track style speed, but also runs routes better than any young receiver in the game today. He also seems to have that instinctive feeling for finding the open spot on the field and where he needs to get to. It’s something he has the benefit of watching AB do every day in practice, (except for the post twitter beef days) but a lot of that instinct can not be taught and guys either have it or they don’t. Its part of the reason we have seen slot WRs become just as valuable to teams as the typical 6’3, 225 wide-out who will run the sidelines and make a jumping grab in the end zone. We’ve watched talents like Wes Welker, Julian Edelman and Antonio Brown perfect the craft and it seems Juju could be the next guy in that list of potential HOF players. So relax Steelers nation, even if your other top players might not want to play in Pittsburgh anymore, you still got that Juju.

Juju Catch

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit
The Big Lead 
USA Today
Pro Football Talk

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