Once Juju started getting some opportunity after Martavis Bryant couldn’t step up as Big Ben’s second WR, he shined. The rookie broke out right before his 21st birthday in a game on a Sunday night against the Lions where he did the most he could with 10 targets, securing 7 of them for 193 yards and a TD. Over his next 6 games, he averaged 6 catches on 7 targets for 82 yards and half a TD.
Here’s the thing: when he was on the field and getting targets, he was near the top of the league in getting it done. According to PFF, Juju was 4th in points per opportunity in standard leagues and 6th in PPR. That’s up there with Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, and Julio Jones. On a per snap basis, he was 8th in standard and 10th in PPR. That’s up there with Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Thomas, and Keenan Allen.
If Juju was used like he was over his last 7 games of the season (he missed a couple of games due to injury), he would be on pace for 94 catches on 121 targets. I know, that catch rate is unsustainable, but he could end a season with a more realistic 80 catches or so. But it remains a question as to if he will see those targets. Over the last 5 seasons, Antonio Brown had 150+ targets. The closest we’ve seen to a second WR (don’t forget that Le’Veon Bell commands around 100 targets as well) getting a ton of targets with the first WR getting that many was in 2013 when Brown had 167 targets and Emmanuel Sanders had 113. In 2009, Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes had 137 and 138 targets each, respectively. In 2008 and 2011, Ben gave his #1 WR 124 targets (Hines Ward, Antonio Brown) and his #2 WR (Santonio Holmes, Mike Wallace) 114 targets.
All that being said, looking at these numbers it seems like it can be done. If Juju is on the field a ton, which he was over the second half of the season, he should produce, and can return value depending on his ADP. He lined up all over the place as well: LWR, RWR, and the slot. If you’re drafting him though, just hope that Martavis Bryant doesn’t have a resurgence – that’s the risk we have to be willing to take.