Dynasty Buy: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (2021 Fantasy Football)
Over the next few weeks, I am going to give you a few names to consider buying at their current price tag. I’ll break down the pros and cons, give you an idea of their current value, and give you my 2021 projection for each player. Each player comes with some risk, but I think the upside is there to make each of these players a value buy right now for your dynasty team.
Juju Smith-Schuster, WR Pittsburgh Steelers / 2021 Projections - 92-966-10)
Oh, how the mighty has fallen. It wasn’t that many years ago that Juju was being taken as a top-five dynasty WR. In his four seasons in PPR leagues, he has finished 20th, 8th, 65th, and 17th. The one outlier year he had Devlin Hodges and Mason Rudolph throwing to him the majority of the year and only played 12 games. He disappointed many people who drafted him highly expecting him to still dominate after Brown left. He has left a sour taste in many people's mouths and his current value shows.
In 2018 he was WR9 in standard and WR8 in PPR. He was playing alongside Antonio Brown and taking advantage of the team's second corners and with a younger/healthier gunslinger QB Ben Roethlisberger tossing the ball around. He had 111 receptions that year and was taking advantage of playing alongside a stud WR who took away the team's top cover corners. Now, picture this… Juju next to Tyreek Hill with Patrick Mahomes throwing him the ball… sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? The Chiefs were close to signing Juju this offseason but he decided to stay with Roethlisberger for one more season. I know there is no guarantee he signs with the Chiefs, but after his one-year contract with the Steelers is up he will have another opportunity to test the market. Of course, there is some risk the situation could be worse, like if he had signed with the Ravens, but he is still very young and has shown he can put up numbers. We have seen other players such as Allen Robinson, Brandin Cooks, and Amari Cooper all change teams around the same age and find success! Sometimes change can be a good thing! I wanted to say if he can land somewhere that he doesn’t have to be “the guy,” it would be ideal, but really his one season as the lead guy was stained with injuries and 4th string QB play so we don’t really actually know what that would look like.
Juju already has one WR1 season and two seasons as a WR2 under his belt. He has seasons of 97 and 111 receptions, and last year he tied Eric Ebron for red-zone targets on the Steelers with 18 and scored 9 TDs! He might not take the top off of defenses, but he can be a steady WR2/3 in your lineup for years to come and he has already shown with capable QB play, he can even outperform expectations.
According to Justin Boone’s trade value chart, you can acquire Juju for a late first, possibly even an early 2nd with a depth player thrown in. Some names above him include Elijah Moore, Rashod Batemen, Robert Woods, Laviska Shenault, and D.J. Chark. Elijah Moore we hope will turn into Juju out of the slot, most would say better, but is he really going to be a WR1? Bateman is on a run-heavy Ravens team, Chark had a small sample of dominance, and Shanault is just a dream at the moment. Again, just like Brandin Cooks in last week's value buy, Juju has been just as consistent as Woods over his career and instead of being only a year younger, he is four years younger! If I can trade Woods for Juju plus something, I would do that in a heartbeat! With the 2022 rookie class not looking as deep as the previous two classes, now is the perfect time to take that potential late-round first and flip it for a guy who will help your team today and for many years to come! Do yourself a favor and see what the price tag is for Juju in your league, you might thank me later!
(Cover Photo Credit: Steph Chambers / Post-Gazette)