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Why JuJu Smith-Schuster should go over his receiving yardage total in 2020

JuJu Smith-Schuster and the Steelers had a lost 2019 with their starting quarterback out the season with an injury. Smith-Schuster should rebound but how much? We break down his 2020 over/under.

JuJu Smith-Schuster #19 and Diontae Johnson #18 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrate after Johnson’s touchdown during the first half of the game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on December 22, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The Steelers without Ben Roethlisberger last season were awful. Yes, they managed to go 8-8 due to their defense, but their quarterback play was nothing more than bad, as the team had 10 touchdowns over their final nine games. No. 1 receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster ended up with 42 receptions for 552 yards and three touchdowns in 12 games played.

As the 2020 NFL Draft nears, DraftKings Sportsbook has given us over/under totals on passing, receiving and rushing yards for individual players. Smith-Schuster’s over-under for receiving yards in 2020 is set at 1175.5.

Prediction: Over

With Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges starting at quarterback for the Steelers in 2019, we can scrap Smith-Schuster’s numbers without much of a look back. We also can’t chalk him up for the 1,426 yards he earned in 2018 playing next to one of the best receivers n the league, Antonio Brown. What we can bank on is that Smith-Schuster will be the lead receiver on a team that throws the ball often.

Smith-Schuster did start 2019 with 78, 84 and 81 yards in his first three games, but it was mostly downhill from there except for big games against the Ravens and Dolphins before getting injured, missing four games. There is no doubt that Roethlisberger would have continued to feed him and easily put him over 1,200 yards in a full season.

Receivers Diontae Johnson and James Washington both showed promise in their lost season, which we can read as hurting and helping Smith-Schuster. Teams won’t be able to focus on taking him out of games if Johnson and Washington are playing well but that could also take targets away. The team also added Eric Ebron in the offseason, but he will likely split time with Vance McDonlad and be more of a touchdown threat to Smith-Schuster than yardage. IN the end, the better the passing game plays as a group, the better Smith-Schuster’s chances at big plays and consistent success.

The Steelers have had just two seasons over the last 11 years where they didn’t have a receiver hit the over on 1,175.5 yards and of course one of those was last season and in 2012 when Roethlisberger missed 3.5 games.

JuJu isn’t a lock to hit the over, but he is still the no-doubt No. 1 receiver on a team with question marks at running back that will get their starting quarterback back in 2020.

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