Each week we have been taking a deeper look at some of the top waiver-wire pickups of the week here to give you a better understanding of the prospects you are buying into. This is a common spot to find yourself in when looking into running back handcuffs, but with the WR position seeing injuries left and right as of late, we are seeing more WRs pop up as top adds. One player who has been worthy of this honor more than once this season is Titans rookie wideout A.J. Brown who is coming off a dominant performance against the Raiders where he caught five passes for 153 yards and two TDs.
So, let’s take a deeper look at who A.J. Brown is as a player, what the current state of the Titans offense looks like, and what we can expect over the final weeks of the fantasy season.
Brown played his college ball at Ole Miss and was selected in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Titans. He was the leading receiver in the SEC with 1,252 yards in 2017 and 1,320 yards in 2018. He also led the SEC with 11 TDs in 2017. He was easily the leading receiver on his team those seasons and his production was about double what we saw from former teammate and Seahawks rookie D.K. Metcalf. He’s the all-time leading receiver at Ole Miss with 2,984 receiving yards.
Our own Mike Tagliere offered a pre-draft rookie scouting report on Brown breaking down the pros and cons of the young wideout whom many had tabbed as their number one prospect at WR heading into the draft. Some of the notes that I have noticed carry over from his prospect reports to his on-field play in the NFL is that he doesn’t have lightning speed, but at 6’0′ and 226 lbs he is a handful who plays bigger than his size and is quicker than most wideouts at his weight.
Last week’s performance wasn’t the first big game we have seen from Brown so far this season. He put up 100 yards on just three catches in his Week 1 debut, he had 94 yards and two TDs in Week 4 and had a 4-135-1 line in Week 12 as well. There have been a lot of peaks and valley’s with him this season though as he also has six games with less than 30 receiving yards as well. He hasn’t been able to maintain a solid role just yet despite his undeniable talent as he was only averaging a 66.6% snap share heading into Week 14. He has made the most of his time on the field though like this monster 91-yard TD he had last week:
State of the Offense
The Titans offense has been on fire ever since Ryan Tannehill took over under center. They’ve been 6-1 with Tannehill after starting out 2-4 with Marcus Mariota to begin the season. Tannehill has had multiple TDs in every game as a starter this season for the Titans and thrown for over 300 yards three times. Their most recent 42-21 victory over the Raiders saw them put up a season-high 552 total yards of offense.
Tannehill brought some much-needed balance to an offense that was trying to get by solely on the legs of Derrick Henry and behind a stout defense. Brown has had four TDs in seven games with Tannehill under center and gone over 100 yards in two of his last three games. The season stats are skewed when looking at the Titans offense overall this season due to their early struggles and the recent revival, but one thing that stands true is that Brown leads the team in every major receiving category this season but is surprisingly owned in just 26% of Yahoo leagues at the moment.
The Titans are squarely in the playoff hunt right now and really control their own destiny with two matchups against the first-place Texans over the final three games of the season. The Texans have been amongst the most generous teams when it comes to fantasy points allowed to WRs this season and has given up multiple TDs to wideouts in a single week five times this season. They also have a matchup against the Saints in Week 16 who have had a wicked pass rush but can be beaten in the secondary. The Saints obviously just got torched by the 49ers last week, but they have also given up over 100 yards to a receiver six times this season.
The matchups are there down the stretch and Brown is the best receiving option on a team that is surging and has everything to play for over the final weeks of the season. It baffles me that he is unowned in such a high percentage of leagues. He has some boom/bust risk obviously which is to be expected for a rookie, but when he booms, it’s big. He’s given us three WR1-caliber performances this season already and could have at least one more in him over the final weeks of the fantasy season.
I think we will be seeing a lot of A.J. Brown for years to come in fantasy leagues and he really is a must-own and start as a flex play at worst with these last two great matchups.