Diontae Johnson said that he’s completely healthy and he’’ll be back in Week 7 against the Rams after the Steelers bye week, so it seems like you can plug him right in as a WR3 in his first week back and then we can potentially upgrade him as he ramps up - but in the mean time, I’m selling George Pickens right now before Diontae is back and before the bye week.
Here’s the thing with Pickens: he’s pretty great against man coverage, and we saw that big TD he had late last week. It came against man coverage - he said he knew it was man coverage, the play was changed into a go route, and he won - that’s his wheel house, and he’s really good at it. In his other big game this year against the Browns. who also play man coverage a majority of the time, he went for 127 yards and a TD on four catches. He didn’t do much in Week 4 against Houston, though, and they play a zone scheme a majority of the time.
If you look at Matt Harmon’s Reception Perception, Diontae Johnson doesn’t have any issues in man or zone coverage - in fact, he dominates - 85th and 88th percentile win percentages, respectively, for Johnson. George Pickens, on the other hand: 5th percentile in winning against zone 😬. The league is moving towards more and more zone every year and teams now play significantly more zone than man.
Check this out - he has a bye this week, Week 7 he gets the Rams who play mostly zone (tough matchup anyway); the Jags, who play zone at a 65% rate; Week 9 against the Titans, who are a big zone team - Week 10 against the Packers - 66% zone rate - big zone team… not great… so I’m taking advantage of a couple of big games from Pickens, and I’m selling because I’m also not sure he can maintain these high target shares when Diontae comes back - we haven’t seen him do it before.