A.J. Brown is Fantasy Football Fools Gold

A.J. Brown
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 29: Tennessee Titans Wide Receiver A.J. Brown (11) rushes the ball during the NFL game between the Tennessee Titans and the Atlanta Falcons on September 29, 2019, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown had a fantastic Week 4 and is one of the most highly-sought free agents in fantasy football. The rookie ended his night with three receptions for 94 yards and two touchdowns, but he probably won’t repeat that performance in Week 5. Based on all measurable factors, Brown is going to have a rough Week 5 and fantasy football owners would be better off claiming somebody else.

Fantasy Football: A.J. Brown Not A Viable Start

The Sustainability

The worst thing a fantasy football owner can do is chase last week’s results. Football is a strange game, and sometimes random players can have great outings even when facing unfavorable circumstances. However, just because somebody overcame obstacles once doesn’t mean they’re going to do it again. There’s no 100% accurate way to project future success, but there are ways to measure the likelihood of sustained production.

In order for a player to do well in fantasy, they need to consistently see the field and get a dependable target share. Right now, Brown has neither. According to Pro Football Reference, Brown has yet to play in more than 49% of any games’ snaps. Additionally, Brown has yet to receive more than five targets in a single game. Last week, he only saw three passes come his way. Quite frankly, this mix of low playing time and volume means that he probably won’t duplicate his success in Week 5.

As if that wasn’t enough, Brown has the misfortune of playing for Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans. Mariota isn’t exactly the best quarterback in the world, and the Titans hardly throw the ball. Tennessee wants to win by running the ball with Derrick Henry and using the passing game as an afterthought. Through the first four games of the season, Tennessee throws the ball on 54.8% of their offensive plays, 27th in the league. The low-volume passing attack isn’t going to be enough to consistently sustain peak performances from Brown moving forward.

A.J. Brown Matchup

Even if you believe that Brown can overcome his unfavorable usage, he faces one of the worst matchups imaginable in Week 5. Brown and the Titans face off against the Buffalo Bills and their top-five defense. Last we saw Buffalo, they were busy limiting Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to just nine offensive points. The Patriots offense is considerably better than Tennessee’s, so the Bills should be able to shut down this passing attack.

Buffalo’s success against New England wasn’t a one-week fluke. Through the first four games of the season, the Bills rank fourth in Football Outsiders DVOA while allowing just 14 points per game. From a fantasy standpoint, the Bills allow just 15.8 fantasy points per game to the wide receiver position, which is third-best in all of football.

If you were planning on starting A.J. Brown, you’d have to hope that he takes one of his few opportunities and turns it into a big play. However, it’s hard to imagine him doing that against a defense this good. The Bills aren’t going to allow many big plays, and the Titans don’t throw the ball enough to make Brown worth the risk. A.J. Brown is a good player, but the situation dictates that you find somebody else to add for Week 5.

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