For the first six weeks of the 2019 NFL season, not many offenses struggled to air out the football more than the Tennessee Titans. Despite a top-tier run game and a promising group of pass-catchers, their quarterback Marcus Mariota was holding them back.
Tennessee decided to pull the plug on the former Heisman trophy winner ahead of Week 7, instead opting for one-time Miami Dolphins draft bust Ryan Tannehill. Since then, Tannehill has taken the Titans aerial attack to new heights, while seemingly changing the perceived viewpoint of many previous doubters of the signal-caller.
However, arguably the best thing to come out of the Titans turning to Tannehill is the emergence of rookie wide receiver AJ Brown. Brown has flashed his big-play ability for weeks on end now. However, can you trust the former Ole Miss Rebel in your fantasy football league championship against a New Orleans Saints defense that dominated a week ago? Let’s discuss.
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AJ Brown’s Fantasy Outlook vs. New Orleans Saints
Over the past month or so, Tennessee Titans pass-catcher AJ Brown has gone from a promising rookie to a legitimate WR1 option for your fantasy team. In fact, since Week 11, Brown’s 22.5 fantasy points per game are more than any wide receiver not named Michael Thomas over that span.
Brown has registered 114+ receiving yards and three total touchdowns over three of his last four games. Most notably, he’s dominated the target share of late, averaging 10 targets over the past two weeks.
While Brown has seen his usage go up as the season has gone on, it’s not as if he was sparingly used earlier in the season. Yet, his production uptick has much to do with the fact that he now has a QB that is capable of getting him, and all other Titans pass catchers, the football on a regular basis.
While Marcus Mariota averaged about just one fewer pass attempt per game as the starter than Ryan Tannehill has this season, their efficiency has been night and day when compared to one another. Over Tannehill’s eight games as a starter this season, he’s completed 21+ passes on five separate occasions. Mariota accomplished this feat just once over his six games at the helm in 2019.
Brown’s matchup with the New Orleans Saints on Sunday may scare some fantasy owners on the surface, mainly due to the fact that they dominated Indianapolis Colts pass-catchers on national TV a week ago. However, one week does not tell the whole story of the Saints defense, more specifically, the Saints secondary.
Despite holding all Indianapolis receivers below 45 receiving yards a week ago, New Orleans still surrenders the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season. That statistic has much to do with the fact that prior to the Saints game vs. Indy, they had allowed their last three opponents’ leading receivers to average 124.6 yards and score three total touchdowns. In fact, since Week 10, the Saints have allowed seven receiving touchdowns to the receiver position.
Should You Start or Sit AJ Brown in Week 16?
When you dig deep into the statistics of both Brown and his opponents, you realize this decision is quite simple. Brown should be started across all formats, and at worst should produce low-end WR2, high-end WR3 numbers. Although another 100+ yard, one-plus touchdown performance should not be out of the question.
- *Check out our Week 16 Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Ems to further optimize your lineups
- Start-Sit [ QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | DEF | Ks]