Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown’s rookie campaign will be about as unpredictable as they come in fantasy football this season.
Few players in fantasy football will be as unpredictable as Tennessee Titans rookie wide receiver A.J. Brown, but we’re going to do our best to try and break it down for you.
Brown was drafted in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft (No. 51 overall) out of Ole Miss and brings with him to the NFL an impressive skill set. Brown totaled 1,320 yards and six touchdowns for the Rebels last season and the promise is undoubtedly there for the 21-year-old.
The good for A.J. Brown
Despite suffering a minor hamstring injury during OTAs (he has since recovered), the opinion of Brown has been mostly good. He definitely has a head of steam going into training camp and there is reason to believe he can carve out a role immediately.
Among his talents, Brown has the versatility to line up all over the field, which is something he did at Ole Miss. That certainly helps his fantasy outlook because he doesn’t have to constantly compete for snaps in the slot with fellow wideout Adam Humphries.
It appears Brown will be spending the majority of his time on the outside opposite No. 1 receiver, Corey Davis.
Brown is a major threat with the ball in his hands and can take short passes for big yardage. He also possesses the kind of speed that will make him a deep threat, which fits into one of quarterback Marcus Mariota’s strengths.
Bottom line: Brown is a playmaker and has all the tools to be a No. 1 receiver. And with that, the potential to explode onto the scene as a breakout receiver in his rookie season.
The concerns for A.J. Brown
The question is: how soon will Brown realize his potential?
Therein lies the risk of taking a shot on Brown in your fantasy draft and the same can be said for any rookie receiver—you just don’t know when they’re going to break out.
One week Brown could score you 15 to 20 fantasy points with a big play and then next to nothing the following week. That is typically the nature of first-year wideouts. On top of that fact, Brown has plenty of competition for targets.
Aside from the aforementioned Humphries and Davis, Brown has two more experienced receivers to compete with in Tajae Sharpe and Taywan Taylor on the roster, both of whom have familiarity with Mariota.
If the rookie gets off to a slow start, the Titans could lean on either of those two instead of Brown, cutting into his playing time. While Sharpe has been outstanding thus far this spring, Taylor hasn’t done much to impress. Sharpe is really the bigger threat of the two to Brown’s snaps.
Even if that isn’t the case, the return of tight end Delanie Walker could cut into everyone’s production. Before going down to a season-ending injury in Week 1 of last season, Walker was Mariota’s preferred target throughout the 25-year-old quarterback’s career. Until we see otherwise, Walker should be expected to command a ton of targets in the passing game.
What’s the verdict?
Honestly, it’s hard to say what to expect from Brown this year until we actually see it. It’s clear he has a ton of competition for targets, but he also has a unique skill set that not every Titans receiver has.
He could become a favorite target of Mariota’s rather quickly. We’ll definitely know more about where Brown stands once training camp starts and we see his chemistry with Mariota.
Until then, plan to take Brown somewhere late in your draft, say the 10th round or so. At that point, he’s a low-risk, high-reward wideout who would be a solid bench stash and a wait-to-see-it type of fantasy asset.
Consider him no more than a flex option based on matchup to begin with and go from there. It isn’t recommended that he make your fantasy lineup from the jump, unless of course your options are limited.