JuJu Smith Schuster Scores in Back-to-Back Weeks, Monster Season Brewing?

JuJu has scored in back-to-back weeks, and looks ready to build upon a strong rookie campaign.

JuJu Smith-Schuster scored for the second week in a row, this time on a four-yard slant versus the Packers. The week prior, he highpointed a ball over the coverage before outrunning the defense for a 71-yard score. Indeed, Smith-Schuster is benefiting from Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown’s absences, as he’ll undoubtedly rank below them on the Steelers’ Target Totem Pole. Still, he’s picking up right where he left off: making incredible plays at every level of the field.

By any metric, JuJu’s 58-917-7 TD rookie debut was a smashing success. He finished as the 11th overall WR in Fantasy Points Per Game (14.8), despite seeing only 79 targets. He posted Pro Football Focus’ highest QB-pass catcher passer rating (134.8). And, perhaps most importantly after Martavis Bryant’s trade, JuJu’s target share was an insane 32.3% whenever Bryant was out of the lineup — as compared to 13.3% target share with both active.

Encouragingly, with scores in back-to-back preseason games, JuJu’s picking up right where he left off — a 9 – 143 – TD effort against Cleveland. Though others worry about his volume behind two studs, JuJu’s efficiency is off the charts, especially when he’s lined up against weaker, single-coverage — especially since he spends much of his time destroying the slot (led all NFL receivers with 2.15 yards per route out of the slot, according to Pro Football Focus). Yes, rookie James Washington has been highly impressive (5-114-2TDs last night), yet, if anything, he helps left the lid for JuJu and the rest of this offense. Reporters suggested JuJu was hungrier than ever in practices, and that’s reflecting in game-action. Expect him to continue surging in Year 2, and be a major bargain at his 41 overall ADP.

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