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JuJu Smith-Schuster Heads to New England

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The Patriots wasted little time in replacing the departed Jakobi Meyers, agreeing to terms with former Chiefs wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster Wednesday on a deal equivalent to the one Meyers signed in Las Vegas. Both receivers got three-year, $33 million deals.

Smith-Schuster certainly has a higher ceiling than Meyers. They’re less than two weeks apart in age, and Smith-Schuster has a 1,426-yard season on his resume, while Meyers has never reached 870 yards in a season. Smith-Schuster scored 9 touchdowns in 2020; Meyers has 8 receiving scores in total in his four-year career.

Smith-Schuster has become a victim of his early success. Meyers has a better reputation among the fantasy community at this point, because Smith-Schuster has been viewed as a bit of a disappointment after his big-time early-career production; when he lost Antonio Brown as a running mate, his production dipped. Meanwhile, Meyers entered the league as an undrafted free agent and outperformed any realistic expectation for him. Even in 2022, when Smith-Schuster was viewed as a distant second (at best) option in the Kansas City offense, while Meyers was the top pass-catcher in New England, we ended with Smith-Schuster at 185.3 PPR points (WR27) and Meyers at … 180.3 (WR29). 

In New England, barring more additions this offseason, Smith-Schuster will almost certainly be the lead receiver in a low-ceiling offense, with Kendrick Bourne, Tyquan Thornton and TE Hunter Henry sharing targets. That’s not nothing, but it isn’t very exciting for fantasy. Smith-Schuster likely isn’t more than a WR3 for 2023, though a healthy target load could help him in PPR.

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