The Pittsburgh Steelers have a logjam of talent at wide receiver. In a room featuring talented players like Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and James Washington, the team can spread the ball around and create any number of mismatches.
Claypool tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns last year with nine, same as Smith-Schuster. His 109 targets and 62 catches were third on the team, but he’s been hailed as one of this year’s breakout players, expected to put up even better numbers.
Smith-Schuster decided to stick around on a one-year deal with the team. He was their chain-mover last year, rolling up 97 catches for 831 yards and those nine scores. Johnson led the team with 923 yards on 88 catches.
Latest camp news
Week 2 preseason recap: Smith-Schuster hauled in five receptions on six targets for 39 yards, while Johnson made a spectacular grab on his lone catch for 43 yards. It was his only target of the game. Both receivers will be factors in the offense. Claypool was held out due to a lingering injury issue and is expected to be ready for the regular season.
Week 1 preseason recap: While Claypool had a great night in the first preseason game of the season, he didn’t make an impact in the second. Instead, it was Smith-Schuster and Johnson making splash plays. Smith-Schuster had a solid night, hauling in all three of his targets for 22 yards. But Johnson really impressed, coming down with all three of his targets for 41 yards, including a big 33-yard gain against the Philidelphia Eagles.
August 10: Claypool had a great night in the Hall of Fame preseason opener last week. He caught three passes on four targets, including a sweet 45-yarder. All three have been consistently getting first-team reps, and, so far, it looks like Smith-Schuster will again reprise his role in the slot, despite some offseason hopes he’d work more outside. Those reps will be hard to get with Johnson and Claypool looking like a bonafide 1-2 combo.
Next preseason game: at Carolina Panthers
All three Steelers receivers will be involved in the passing game, but it remains to be seen how the targets will look with all three in the mix. Claypool is not going to be risked after an injury scare in practice and Pittsburgh would be wise to limit Johnson and Smith-Schuster’s reps in the final preseason game.
Fantasy football verdict
Week 2 preseason: The offense will look a lot like last year, although Smith-Schuster will reportedly see more outside touches after operating primarily in the slot last year. Pat Freiermuth is going to be a redzone threat, so that’ll take away some touchdown chances from the deep threats Claypool and Johnson. Ben Roethlisberger is going to keep slinging it even with an improved running game, making all three receivers relevant in fantasy football.