Stud wide receivers produce regardless of circumstances. OBJ produced with Eli Manning, Michael Thomas has looked good with Teddy Bridgewater, and DeAndre Hopkins has been elite with quarterbacks marginally better than my ten-year-old son throwing him the ball.
The axiom of stud WRs producing in all situations led me to read a social media post suggesting that JuJu Smith-Schuster is not only not a stud but is nothing more than an over-hyped wide receiver who succeeded only due to playing opposite Antonio Brown in 2018. He offered one sole argument: JuJu is currently on pace for a 2019 stat line of 68 catches, 1,032 yards, and 4 touchdowns — because Antonio Brown is gone. Not a stud, never was, and never will be, he concluded.
I then decided to play the small sample-size game with JuJu Smith-Schuster, and I replied to the post with something similar to this:
2017, Week 16: 6 / 75 / 1 (7 targets)
2017, Week 17: 9 / 143 / 1 (10 targets)
2017, Week 17: 5 / 37 / 1 (10 targets)
2018, Week 1: 6 / 78 / 0 (8 targets)
That adds to a four-game stretch of 26 / 333 / 3 (35 targets), for a projected 16-game line of 104 / 1,312 / 9 catching 74% of the balls thrown his way. Screams stud to me!
The question of whether or not Smith-Schuster is a stud ultimately comes down to one thing for me: JuJu has put up extraordinary numbers his first two years in the league — extraordinary. It’s hard for me to imagine what else a player needs to do to be considered a stud (or, minimally, on the clear and direct path to being called one).