As we close in toward a new season, the ever-changing NFL landscape has player fantasy football values constantly on the move, and nothing shakes up the league like the recently finished NFL Draft, where young rookies begin their NFL careers.
Quentin Johnston’s Dynasty Outlook and Value
The Chargers were a team we wanted one of the upper-tier wide receivers to land. We got that as they selected former TCU wide receiver Johnston with the 21st overall pick of the NFL Draft.
The decision to draft Johnston was unexpected since most reports before the draft predicted he would be chosen as a second-round receiver. But the NFL Draft is full of smokescreens and narratives. The play on the field for Johnston was that of a first-round receiver.
Out of the top-tier players expected to perform well in the season, Johnson was the only one who truly excelled in 2022 and boosted his chances of being drafted. He had an impressive 1,064 yards and six touchdowns on 59 of 49 receiving, with an average of 3.22 YPRR, 11.8 yards per reception, and an efficient 2.47 YPTPA. He also checks the measurables box standing 6’3″ and 208 pounds with a 40 1/2″ inch vertical leap.
While not a burner, Johnston is a RAC specialist with an explosive first step, allowing him to gain immediate separation. He could be a more polished player, but when we consider his potential target volume, it’s easy to see how he could maximize each target after ranking 11th in missed tackles and sixth in YAC/reception last year.
I do need to address some concerns regarding Johnston. Firstly, his tendency to catch the ball with his body rather than his hands negates some of his size advantages. Furthermore, his drop rate and low contested-catch rate (40.7%) are red flags that must be considered.
Will this change my positive outlook on Johnston? No, it won’t, especially since the Chargers recently drafted one of the best receivers. That’s a big deal. Johnston joins Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, but the most significant part is OC Kellen Moore, who will bring a more vertically attacking scheme to LA that meshes with not only Herbert but also Johnston.
Although Josh Palmer may be his competition for targets initially, Johnston will likely have a more significant role. This will especially be the case during weeks when either Allen, Williams, or both are out due to injury.
In those weeks, Johnson could go from four or five targets to double-digit looks in a high-flying offense that puts points on the board and produces for fantasy. If that doesn’t get you excited about the future of Johnston and what he will bring to your roster, I don’t know what will.
Quentin Johnston’s Fantasy Ranking
Los Angeles has consistently thrown an average of 39.3 passes per game since 2021, with a peak of 41.9 attempts last season. In contrast, the Dallas Cowboys averaged only 32.9 passes last season, but this was likely due to Mike McCarthy’s preference for running the ball rather than a trend of what Moore would bring to Los Angeles.
Los Angeles will remain one of the pass-happiest teams in the league. They operated out of the shotgun on 48% of their first downs, with 60% coming from 11 personnel with an overall passing rate of 67%. Their overall passing rate was 67%, which exceeded the expected rate by 4.3%, the fourth-highest positive differential in the NFL.
What this means is, assuming Johnston takes that No. 3 spot which the draft capital suggests, he’s going to be on the field at one of the highest rates for any No. 3 WR in the NFL and also brings some of the highest per-catch upside of anyone in this class.
This is why I’m so bullish on Johnston. He was one of my top-ranked receivers all season and went to a team where he could thrive. He’s currently my WR27 for dynasty and is someone who I want on my roster.
Even though it might take part of the season for Johnston to find his footing, once we reach the halfway point, I fully expect him to thrive in Los Angeles, especially when considering by that point, the offense should be firing on all cylinders after the coaching change.
I can see a very realistic path where Johnston is viewed inside the top 16-20 WR this year. The minute Allen or Williams are gone, high-end WR2 upside is on the table for Johnston.
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