After what he did as a rookie, A.J. Brown is not going to surprise anyone in 2020.
He also is not going to last long in fantasy football drafts.
SI.com analyst Dr. Roto identifies Brown as the AFC South’s breakout player this season. He said the Titans’ leader in receptions (52), receiving yards (1,051) and receiving touchdowns (eight) as a rookie could be taken as early as the third round in this season’s fantasy drafts.
In the 11 weeks after Ryan Tannehill replaced Marcus Mariota as Tennessee’s starting quarterback last season, Brown had 778 receiving yards, which was sixth among all NFL wide receivers. Six of his touchdown catches came during Tannehill’s time in charge of the offense, a total surpassed by only three wide receivers.
And Brown did all of that on just 38 receptions, which was nowhere near the league lead for that stretch. In fact, 39 players had more.
It was Brown’s ability to break tackles and to gain yards after the catch that allowed him to do more with less. Only six wide receivers had more yards after the catch in 2019 than Brown, who had 465. That accounted for 61.9 percent of his total.
Plus, he is reliable. He only dropped two passes.
“(Brown) just looked terrific at the end of last year,” Dr. Roto said (see video). “Mariota’s gone. Tannehill is there. Play-action passing. He’s fast. He’s strong. There’s nothing I don’t like about him.”
There is no question that Derrick Henry, the NFL’s 2019 rushing champion, will be the top Titans’ option for any fantasy football player.
After that, Brown is the guy who will attract the most attention. And it likely will happen quickly.