Fantasy Football Stud or Dud? The Return of John Brown

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NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers featuring John Brown in the end zone.
Oct 30, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers defensive back Leonard Johnson (23) breaks up a two point conversion pass during the fourth quarter intended for Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (12) at Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers defeated the Cardinals 30-20. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The John Brown Outlook

In 2017, the Arizona Cardinals will be getting back one of their more explosive wide receivers: John Brown. Brown was forced to miss time last year with a concussion followed by issues with his sick-cell trait. He never had the chance to get back to his 2015 self where he excelled.

In 2015, Brown showed off his explosive playmaking abilities by accumulating 1,003 receiving yards on just 65 receptions. All the reports out of offseason workouts have been positive besides a minor hamstring for Brown. Fantasy owners should remain relatively optimistic about Brown in 2017. There is a high probability that he can get back to his 2015 production where he finished as the number 21 wide receiver in fantasy.


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Projection

If one were to look at his 2014 and 2015 statistics one would find that Brown averaged 101.5 targets over those seasons. Due to his injuries last season his targets dropped over 25 percent down to 73 targets. Projecting the overall target share for the Cardinals in 2017 however, shows that Brown has a great chance of reaching at least 100 targets.

First off, Michael Floyd and his total of 70 targets are gone. Next, one can predict that with Brown back, J.J. Nelson may end up taking a lesser role on the offense. Nelson only had seven more targets than Brown last year, despite all of Brown’s limitations. Fantasy owners should expect some of those targets to also shift back towards Brown. With David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald running the shorter intermediate routes, Brown has the real opportunity to be the number one option on the outside. A great opportunity for a steady amount of volume, Brown needs to be on the radar of all fantasy owners.

According to FantasyFooballCalculator.com Brown’s average draft position (ADP) in standard leagues is the number 42 wide receiver off the board. Overall he is going with the 9.09 pick. Now, his ADP has risen over the past weeks, but still getting him in the ninth round is a great value for a player that as strong chance to finish as a low-end wide receiver two/high-end wide receiver three. If Brown ends up being healthy this year, he could turn out being a real asset for Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals.

Speaking of Palmer, it has also been reported by the Arizona Republic that Palmer and Brown have been living together in hopes of building on chemistry. This type of commitment Brown is showing proves that he knows that this is going to be a huge year for his NFL career going forward. 2017 is a contract year for Brown and it sure looks like he is out to prove his worth. He was even quoted saying in an interview on the popular morning football show Good Morning Football saying, “I can have a real big season, just with the receiving corps we have, we’re something similar to my second year. We have a great running back in the backfield, so I can have a big year. It’s just up to me to make the plays and do what I have to do.”

Brown played a crucial part in the offense in 2015 and was one of the reasons why Palmer was a MVP candidate. If the Cardinals plan to get back to the NFC Championship game getting Brown back into the offense will provide a great stepping stone to achieve that goal.

What do you think of John Brown? Comment in the section below or tweet @AndrewErickson_!

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