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.
A.J. Brown is one of the most polarizing wide receivers in fantasy football. In three seasons, Brown has finished 21st, 12th, and 33rd despite being consistently ranked in the Top 12. He has shown he can be a WR1, but volume has been an issue playing for the Tennessee Titans. Tennessee had the second most run-heavy offense last season, third-most run-heavy in 2020, and fourth most run-heavy in 2019. Brown has offset lower target volume with impressive efficiency. He ranked 1st in yards per target as a rookie, 9th in 2020, but fell to 49th in 2021 as he dealt with injuries. He has the talent to put up elite fantasy numbers, but his offensive system has been an albatross.
But following a blockbuster trade to the Philadelphia Eagles, are things any better? The Eagles gave up a haul to acquire Brown, and are paying him a league-high $25 million per year. They clearly view him as a vital piece of their offensive puzzle, but they're also coming off a season where they won by running the ball more than anyone else in the league. Can Brown live up to his current ADP? Let's take a look at where he is being drafted compared to his peers:
- ADP 3.04 WR10 Keenan Allen
- ADP 3.05 WR11 A.J. Brown
- ADP 3.06 WR12 Tee Higgins
- ADP 3.11 WR13 Michael Pittman Jr
- ADP 3.12 WR14 Diontae Johnson
- ADP 4.01 WR15 Jaylen Waddle
While his ADP has slowly declined over the last two months, Brown is currently being drafted in the 3rd round of fantasy drafts as the WR12. There is considerable risk to drafting Brown given the Eagles conservatism, but let's make the case why he can outperform his draft position and return to fantasy WR1 form.
Throughout 2021, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni’s offense saw highs and some lows.
- No. 1 rushing offense
- No. 4 third-down conversion rate
- No. 2 in second-half scoring
- No. 5 in giveaways
- No. 6 in pass protection rate
The team showed flashes throughout the season on the ground, but the passing attack was inconsistent.
- No. 25 passing offense
- No. 17 in first-half scoring
- No 14 in first downs
- No. 14 scoring offense
The Eagles had the fewest passing attempts last year and the 2nd-most rushing attempts (one less than the Titans), and consciously transitioned from a run-heavy approach to the league's most run-oriented offense in the second half of the season, when they made their playoff push. Despite their success as a run-heavy unit, Sirianni promised a more pass-focused offense in 2022, and that was before acquiring Brown.
The question is, what will the offense look like, and how does Brown fit? Last year, the Eagles' relied heavily on the run-pass option (RPO).
- No. 1 in RPO plays
- No. 1 in yards gained on RPOs
- No. 1 in RPO rushing attempts
- No. 3 in RPO passing attempts
- >30% of yards gained came from RPOs
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