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Steelers WR Diontae Johnson might not return until after Week 6 bye

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson (18) looks on during the regular season NFL football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 10, 2023 at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, PA. Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Wednesday AM update: Diontae Johnson’s timeline just got more definitive, but it’s not good news, unfortunately. The Steelers receiver is expected to miss up to four weeks with the hamstring injury he suffered in Week 1, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

A four-week absence would lead right into the team’s Week 6 bye, which means it’s likely we don’t see him until after. The Steelers travel to Los Angeles to play the Rams in Week 7 after their bye.

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Diontae Johnson pulled up with a hamstring injury in Week 1’s matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. Now, he’s expected to miss a few weeks with the injury, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

Johnson was heavily involved from the start in Week 1, having amassed six targets on just 27 offensive snaps played, reeling in three of those for 48 receiving yards. The hamstring injury itself came on a solid catch and run — one of the team’s better plays of the day — which went for 26 yards.

This injury would mark the first time in Johnson’s career that he’s missed more than two games in a season if it does end up being the case, although he's frequently dealt with bumps and bruises that have caused him to lose snaps here and there. In his place, expect increased involvement from WRs Allen Robinson, who led the team in targets for Week 1, as well as Calvin Austin.

While Robinson and Austin stand to see the greatest benefit in Johnson’s absence, it seems most likely that the bulk of those vacated targets will be distributed throughout the offense (including to TE Pat Freiermuth and potentially rookie Darnell Washington) rather than to one player in general.

Fantasy managers will likely want to prioritize Robinson when placing their waiver wire claims, who led the team with eight targets in Week 1 (5 catches, 64 yards), with Austin being an option primarily in full PPR scoring leagues with deeper benches.