JuJu Smith-Schuster's 2022 Projections & Outlook
#20 Wide Receiver
145.9 Projected Points
DS 3D Projections
What You Need to Know:
- Smith-Schuster suffered a shoulder injury in Week 5 last year that required surgery and knocked him out for the rest of the regular season. He also left early in Week 3 with bruised ribs.
- In his 3 healthy regular-season games, Smith-Schuster posted lines of 4-52 (8 targets), 6-41 (7 targets) and 2-11 (8 targets).
- He was able to make it back for Pittsburgh’s playoff loss to the Chiefs, catching 5 of 8 targets for 26 yards.
- In 28 games across the 2019 and 2020 seasons, JuJu averaged 5.0 catches, 49.4 yards and .43 TDs per game.
- He finished 64th among WRs in PPR points per game and 69th in non-PPR in 2019; 24th in PPR points per game and 35th in non-PPR in 2020.
- Smith-Schuster ranked 72nd and 83 qualifying WRs in Pro Football Focus’ 2019 receiving grades and 58th out of 90 in 2020.
- He dealt with shoddy QB play from Mason Rudolph, Duck Hodges and a washed-up Ben Roethlisberger …
- But JuJu finished behind teammates Diontae Johnson and James Washington in yards per route run in 2019 and behind Johnson, Washington and Chase Claypool in 2020.
- That all followed 1 of the most productive opening 2 seasons we’ve seen from a WR in NFL history.
- Smith-Schuster posted a 58-917-7 line in 14 games as a rookie in 2017. He finished 12th in PPR points per game and 7th in non-PPR points per game.
- Then he exploded for a 111-1,426-7 line in 2018, finishing WR8 in PPR points and WR9 in non-PPR.
- Smith-Schuster recorded the 5th most catches and 9th most receiving yards through 2 seasons in NFL history.
- Only 7 WRs have totaled more PPR points through their first 2 seasons: Odell Beckham, Randy Moss, Justin Jefferson, A.J. Green, Michael Thomas, Jerry Rice and Marques Colston.
- JuJu undoubtedly benefited from playing alongside Antonio Brown those 2 years. But he also ranked 29th and then 17th in PFF’s receiving grades.
- Smith-Schuster will turn just 26 in November.
- He hit the open market for the 1st time in his career this offseason and signed a 1-year deal with the Chiefs in the 1st week of free agency.
- The contract has a base value of $3.25 million with $2.49 million guaranteed but is loaded with incentives:
- $1.5 million if Smith-Schuster plays 65+% of Kansas City’s offensive snaps.
- $500K for 40 catches, $1 million for 50 catches, $1.5 million for 65 catches
- $500K for 500 yards, $1 million for 650 yards, $1.5 million for 900 yards
- $1 million for a Pro Bowl selection
- Less than a week after signing Smith-Schuster, the Chiefs traded WR Tyreek Hill to Miami.
- Hill garnered a career-high 9.4 targets per game last year.
- He averaged 9.0, 7.4, and 8.6 targets per game the previous 3 seasons.
- The Chiefs also lost WRs Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson this offseason. Those 2 combined for 15.0% of the Chiefs’ targets, 15.0% of the receptions, 16.9% of the receiving yards and 21.6% of the receiving scores last year.
- The Chiefs added WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling in free agency. He signed 6 days after Smith-Schuster but got a 3-year, $30 million deal.
- Kansas City spent the 54th overall pick of this year’s draft on WR Skyy Moore, who’s coming off a big 95-1,292-10 line at Western Michigan.
- TE Travis Kelce and WR Mecole Hardman return … along with QB Patrick Mahomes and HC Andy Reid.
Draft Sharks Bottom Line:
Smith-Schuster is truly tough to figure out. He scored the 8th most PPR points by a WR through 2 seasons in NFL history – then has been mostly disappointing the 3 years since.
He’s still just 25 years old, though, and finds an excellent opportunity in 2022, catching passes from Patrick Mahomes on a Chiefs team looking to replace Tyreek Hill’s snaps and production.
There’s a wide range of outcomes for JuJu this season. Don’t ignore the downside … but the upside is certainly worth taking a shot on.