Fantasy Fallout: JuJu to Kansas City

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Fantasy Fallout: JuJu to Kansas City

After the Jaguars broke the market at wide receiver in the first 48 hours of free agency, things have been on a roll with Allen Robinson signing in L.A., Davante Adams on the move to Vegas, and now JuJu Smith-Schuster has signed with Kansas City.

JuJu’s one-year pact with the Chiefs is surprisingly 70% incentives-based, meaning he only got a little money in his base salary…

… and I agree with Joe that there is a massive gulf between JuJu’s perceived value in fantasy and his actual NFL value:

The bottom line is that this is a very savvy move by GM Brett Veach to see if Smith-Schuster can regain his early career form. It’s also a great chance for JuJu to prove himself in the best role possible for his skill-set with Patrick Mahomes.

The Chiefs No. 2 receiver role has been a bit of a joke in recent years with Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, and Sammy Watkins all getting a chance but never stepping up. Byron Pringle was the most consistent option of that bunch, but he’s moved on to Chicago.

Kansas City desperately needed to improve their wide receiver depth, but it’s not like JuJu Smith-Schuster has been setting the world on fire as of late. Because of injuries and poor QB play, Smith-Schuster hasn’t come close to repeating his stellar 2018 season where he finished as the WR8 (18.6 fantasy points per game) with 111 receptions, 1,426 yards, and 7 TDs.

Over his last three seasons, JuJu ranks 63rd out of 66 WRs in receiving yards gained per route run (1.30) while only Darius Slayton (1.29), Curtis Samuel (1.29), and Zach Pascal (1.10) are worse.

Yikes.

While Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill will continue to get their usual 25% target share apiece, there is still plenty of room for a productive third-option. The Chiefs averaged 39.7 pass attempts per game last season – second-most behind the Buccaneers (43 per game) – so if JuJu only sees a 18-20% target share, he’d easily be looking at 7-8 looks per game.

We’ve got an interesting conundrum here because the role JuJu has a chance at taking over could make him a very strong WR3 option in fantasy, he’s been one of the least efficient receivers in the game over the last three years. Because JuJu is so popular among the fantasy hivemind, I could certainly see a scenario where he ends up getting over-drafted by the summer. For now, I’ll remain conservative and slide JuJu into the mid-WR3 range in my best-ball ranks.

Graham Barfield blends data and film together to create some of the most unique content in the fantasy football industry. Barfield is FantasyPoints’ Director of Analytics and formerly worked for the NFL Network, Fantasy Guru, and Rotoworld.

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