A.J. Brown FAAB Report

Player Spotlight

by Mike Valverde (@RFLRedZone)

A.J. Brown ownership sits at a lowly 10% on Yahoo leagues, and just 6% on ESPN, but will most likely grow after his Week 4 performance. Brown caught all three of his targets for 94 yards and two touchdowns. His touchdowns counted for 66 yards of offense, as Marcus Mariota was hot early connecting on 14 of his 19 first-half pass attempts getting the ball to Brown early and often.

Brown’s first touchdown went as a play-action over the middle connecting with Brown on an in-route at the Atlanta Falcons 45-yard line. The rookie did the rest sprinting past the Falcons defense for the 55-yard score. Brown’s next touchdown came off a beautiful over-the-shoulder throw as he beat Desmond Trufant on a fade route in the back-right corner of the end zone from 11-yards away.

Brown must rely on Mariota, and not the other way around. Brown is raw, isn’t the captain of the offense, and doesn’t face the scrutiny of traversing the attack down the field. While Mariota’s play is under the microscope, he has shown to be an elite quarterback on the road. In Week 1 while facing the Cleveland Browns Mariota threw three touchdown passes and no interceptions. Brown was essential by catching three passes for 100 yards. In his two games on the road, Mariota has thrown for 475 yards and six touchdowns, while not throwing an interception. Brown has contributed 194 yards and two scores to Mariota’s totals. Even though Mariota has been excellent on the road, both games have been against struggling defenses. While facing Indianapolis and Jacksonville in weeks two and three, Mariota was not of much use. Brown’s statistics reflected the quarterback struggles by catching four balls for 29 yards on ten targets. Overall, Brown has 17 targets and ten receptions for 223 yards and is the apparent big-play threat by averaging 22.3 yards per reception. Brown’s detailed game sheet according to Rotowire:

The Titans future schedule doesn’t look very bright in the next two weeks, but it will be an indicator of how good the chemistry is between Mariota and Brown. Tennessee faces the Buffalo Bills and Tre’Davious White, Levi Wallace, and the rest of Buffalo’s shutdown secondary at home. Tennessee will then travel to Mile High to take on the Broncos and Kareem Jackson, Chris Harris, and crew. Despite an inconsistent passing attack, Brown shows continuously growing rapport with Marcus Mariota, and that should only continue to develop. There is no denying the impact that Brown has been since the Titans took him as the 51st overall pick from Ole Miss. Scouts saw Brown (6-1, 230) as a slot receiver who is strong and has a complete route running skill-set. He is a matchup nightmare as his strength is hard to deal with for cornerbacks, and his speed can be difficult to corral. Brown does tend to round his cuts and will need to continue to be more fluid when he changes direction. Brown will work over the middle and can snatch the ball out of the air using just his hands. He will hang onto the ball after contact and can locate the ball in flight. Brown is capable of adjusting his body to make the catch as he did for his second touchdown last week. Brown has excellent acceleration and the ability to make runs after the catch. (Check his 55-yard score). Brown lacks top-end speed and will struggle to be a deep threat a la John Ross, as his 4.49 40-yard dash time indicates.

It’s just not the quarterback play that Brown is reliant on; the Titans also have talented weapons to feed. Delanie Walker, Derrick Henry, Dion Lewis, and Corey Davis all play a significant role in the offense. Since others around him will eat volume, this will lead to inconsistencies for Brown, as Mariota doesn’t have the talent to make more than two players fantasy relevant per contest. It is up to Tennessee to use Brown’s abilities correctly and get him more involved. After five weeks, Brown has fewer snaps (121) than Tajae Sharpe (139), Adam Humphries (136), and Cory Davis (210). Brown is playing second fiddle to Sharpe on the left side as a wide-out, and to Davis on the right side. Humphries has him beat in the slot for snap share. Here is a detailed breakdown of snaps for the offense after week three according to Rotowire:

Brown’s role isn’t increasing either. In three of the four games played, Brown has gotten anywhere between 43-45 percent of the snaps. His most significant contribution was in Week 3 where he played on exactly half of the offensive snaps catching one pass for four yards on five targets.

If Tennessee can find the right blend of snaps and targets, then the ceiling is explosive for Brown. Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be the situation at this point. Tennessee looks content in sticking with a conservative passing offense while working Henry as much as possible. Brown is a hit or miss receiver with WR4/5 capabilities. Brown will come in handy as teams go on bye-weeks, or if your squad starts to get injured. I would recommend spending around $3-$5 of your FAAB to acquire Brown. The Tennessee Titans will take on a tough Buffalo Bills defense in Week 5.