The Spotlight Series
A Footballguys Spotlight is an in-depth look at a player. His plusses and minuses are examined, and we give you our bottom-line stance on his 2022 prospects. If a player listed below doesn't yet have a link, don't worry. It's coming soon.
Predicting the Future is Hard
Amon-Ra St. Brown is a reminder of the absurdity of predicting future outcomes. That may sound ironic coming from a fantasy football analyst whose job is making rankings, projections, and predictions – but we all know that we’re trying to synthesize a vast array of possible outcomes and betting on the paths we see as most likely. Any successful fantasy season will be wrought with head-scratching decisions along the way. No one hoisting their league trophy in a few months will have done so without glaringly wrong takes that go entirely awry.
A year ago, St. Brown was a fantasy afterthought in redraft leagues. He was drafted 64th among receivers, on average. The lukewarm ADP spoke to St. Brown’s NFL draft pedigree. He was a three-year starter for USC but didn’t garner the national attention a USC receiver normally would because the Trojans were in a historic down period under fired coach Clay Helton. Despite USC’s struggles, St. Brown was production; he caught 178 receptions, 2,270 yards, and 16 touchdowns in 30 games.
Last April, he was drafted in the fourth round (112th overall) as the 17th receiver in an ultra-deep class of pass catchers.
2021 NFL Draft Results, Receivers (through St. Brown at WR17)
St. Brown had plenty working against him, including:
- A pedigree that doesn’t usually lead to strong rookie fantasy outcomes – Fourth-round receivers are a crapshoot to contribute, much less star. Less than 50% are running routes for an NFL roster by their third season. Also, St. Brown isn’t an elite athlete, ranking below average in most metrics for speed, strength, and agility.
- An uncertain depth chart – At the end of training camp, veteran Tyrell Williams was the No. 1 receiver, and Kalif Raymond was listed as the starter on the other side. 2nd-year Quintez Cephus and journeyman Tom Kennedy were listed as the No. 2 receivers on the depth chart, leaving St. Brown and Trinity Benson as the 5th and 6th receivers.
- A quarterback widely viewed as being outside the Top 20 – We don’t need to spend a lot of time bashing Jared Goff, other than to say he’s generally considered a below-average starter despite his pedigree as a No. 1 overall draft pick.
- Young, emerging stars in D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson commanding high target shares – Not only was St. Brown not projected as a starting receiver last summer, but the Lions top two weapons, Swift and Hockenson, are both well above average as pass catchers at their respective positions.
Through 12 weeks, those who bought into the skepticism looked prescient.
Amon-Ra St. Brown Weekly Stats, Weeks 1-12, 2021
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