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What to do with JuJu Smith-Schuster on Thursday Night Football

Steelers QB Mason Rudolph hasn’t been helpful for JuJu Smith-Schuster’s fantasy production, but there remain flashes of usefulness. Can he put up a good fantasy game on TNF?

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster warms up before playing the Indianapolis Colts at Heinz Field. Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

JuJu Smith-Schuster’s inconsistency this season was cemented as soon as Ben Roethlisberger was ruled out for the year. Smith-Schuster has five useful fantasy games to four, not very useful games this season, but if you look at just his last four games, he has only one that helped your fantasy team. Things are getting worrisome, as James Washington and Diontae Johnson have started to see more work at his expense.

When you have a sub-par quarterback like Mason Rudolph, six targets a game isn’t going to be the same as if you have Russell Wilson throwing you the ball. Since the bye, Smith-Schuster has 20 targets in three games compared to 17 for James Washington, 15 for Diontae Johnson, and 18 for Vance McDonald. In this offense, those are all risky workloads.

Fantasy football analysis: Pittsburgh Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

The Browns allow the twelfth-fewest fantasy points and eleventh-fewest receptions to receivers this season. The return of Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams has helped shore up their secondary of late as well. They have had trouble with slot receivers, though, as Cooper Kupp and Julian Edelman both have two-touchdown games against them.

The fact that Williams and Ward play on the outside should help Smith-Schuster see easier coverage in the slot and boost his targets and production. This game will likely be low scoring, so we can’t rely on game script raising pass attempts, but there should be a funnel effect toward the middle of the field to give Smith-Schuster enough of a boost to play him.

Traditional Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation

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