In this series of articles, I’m looking at the breakout potential for second-year wide receivers. This article will focus on Diontae Johnson, and you can find the articles for the other wide receivers from the 2019 draft class here. Johnson led a dysfunctional Pittsburgh Steelers offense last year in targets and receptions — an impressive feat for a third-round pick.
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One of the best ways to determine the range of outcomes and probability of success for fantasy players is comparing them to similar historical players. In this analysis, I’ll compare Johnson to hundreds of receivers drafted since 2006 and project the likelihood of his breakout based on those who had the most similar size, college production, draft position and rookie metrics.
The matching methodology for this set of articles is similar to that for the 2020 wide receiver and running back prospects, where I found the closest statistically comparable players using principal component analysis (PCA) and the euclidean distance between the players' components, and then gave each a “Similarity” score based on percentile of distance.
The metrics for PCA are: draft position, weight, rushing attempts per game, market share of college receiving yards (CFB MS), college yards per reception (CFB YPR), rookie yards per route run (YPRR), rookie average depth of target (aDOT), rookie PPR fantasy points per game (PPR/Gm) and top-24 fantasy weeks (Top-24). All college numbers are from players’ final seasons.
DIONTAE JOHNSON COMPS