Diontae Johnson’s fantasy football value has risen through his first three seasons. However, with questions at quarterback in 2022, should fantasy managers be concerned entering the season? Let’s take a look at Johnson’s ADP in 2022 fantasy football drafts and whether he is worth that price.
Diontae Johnson ADP | Is he worth his current price in fantasy drafts?
Johnson’s current ADP for 2022 redraft leagues sits between 40th and 50th overall, varying between WR15 and WR18. He’s being selected highest on average in PPR, at 41 overall and the WR15. However, on NFL.com, his ADP is as high as 39 overall as the 14th receiver selected.
The general range in which we are seeing Johnson selected is the fourth round of 12-team leagues and the fifth round of 10-team leagues. In PPR, he’s being taken earlier, while in half-PPR and non-PPR, he’s being selected towards the back end of those respective rounds.
Diontae Johnson’s projected fantasy value in 2022
Johnson’s role in the Steelers’ offense has grown year over year. As a rookie, he had 92 targets, which moved to 144 in 2020, and then 169 last year. His numbers in terms of catch rate, yards per reception, and yards per target have remained reasonably flat. Additionally, Johnson’s found the end zone in almost every other game during those past two seasons.
When it comes to Johnson’s role in the offense, we shouldn’t expect major variations. His 25% target share should not see a huge reduction, given little in the way of changes among the coaching staff and the scheme. However, with a different QB to Ben Roethlisberger under center, we could see the Steelers change up their run-to-pass balance.
If so, we could see Johnson having a 25% share of a smaller pie. We may see a drop in targets as a result, but it will be due to a change in the offense as opposed to a reduction in Johnson’s role. What we can somewhat pencil in are around 6.5-6.8 yards per target and a ~63% catch rate.
Projecting the 2022 season
So if see the Steelers drop to around 550 pass attempts, Johnson could be in line for 137 targets, 87 receptions, 915 yards, and 5-7 touchdowns. That would equate to around 7.5 points per game (ppg) in non-PPR and 12.6 ppg in PPR. Those numbers would see Johnson as a WR3 in non-PPR and a low-end WR2 in PPR.
However, those projections very much feel like a floor for Johnson. The Steelers still have major questions along their offensive line and are projected to be chasing in a number of games this season. That means we could see a wide range of outcomes in the passing game.
It would be optimistic to project the Steelers to be a top-five offense in pass attempts again. However, 50 pass attempts would see them drop below the league average from last year. Therefore, if we project a mid-point of around 600 targets, then we could see Johnson with similar numbers to last year when he was a fringe WR2. That feels more like his median outcome for this season.
Should you draft Johnson in 2022?
The problem with knowing what to do with Johnson in fantasy drafts is the balance between upside and consistency. His ADP as a borderline WR1 is very close to where his ceiling sits and takes a lot of the value out of his projection. But there’s also his consistency week-to-week to consider.
Yes, the offense has a new QB, but Johnson should still be a major part on a weekly basis. Last year, he saw double-digit targets in 12 of the 16 games he played. He was a WR2 in 13 of those games, and in the three he wasn’t, Johnson only scored fewer than 10 points in a PPR league once. The previous season was a little rockier, but he was still a WR2 in 10 of his 15 games and saw double-digit targets in the same number.
That is where this becomes a tricky balance. Johnson’s most likely range of outcomes is as a WR2, potentially on the lower end, but he should do that consistently for you. That can be a rare commodity and is really useful when setting lineups. However, you are having to pay almost WR1 price for him, eating into a lot of that value.
In PFN’s consensus 2022 WR fantasy rankings, Johnson is the WR16 in PPR, WR18 in half-PPR, and WR19 in non-PPR. Therefore, we have Johnson as a solid value just below his ADP. I personally am a touch higher in PPR, just simply because I value that consistency. However, taking him as a mid-WR2 is more than solid value for a player that you should never really have to worry about after drafting.