Fantasy Focus: Las Vegas Raiders Wide Receiver John Brown
Over his seven-year NFL career, John Brown has totaled 320 receptions, 4748 receiving yards, and 31 touchdowns. He has seen 97 or more targets in four of those seasons, including a career-high 115 targets in his 2019 campaign with the Buffalo Bills. Brown’s 4.34 40-yard dash time has translated to a 14.8 yards per reception average over his NFL tenure. Brown even ranked fifth in deep targets in 2019 with 28 total.
His 2020 performance was limited by knee and ankle injuries that caused him to miss seven games. Prior to last season, Brown had played 15 or more games in four of the previous five years. He started 15 games for the Baltimore Ravens and Bills in the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Besides his deep ball efficiency, Brown has always been sure-handed around the goal line.
— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) October 4, 2020
Raiders Depth Chart
Wide receiver Nelson Agholor bet on himself last summer, signing a one-year, $1.05 million contract with Las Vegas. After producing 48 catches, 896 yards, and eight touchdowns, Agholor inked a big two-year deal in New England. He leaves 82 targets available on a team with an undistinguished wide receiver depth chart, including second-year players Henry Ruggsand Bryan Edwards, along with slot man Hunter Renfrow.
There is also the matter that in Ruggs’ first NFL season, he gave no indication he is ready to ascend to the team’s WR1 role.
If you subtract out the “Greg Williams Tanking Play” (shown below), Henry Ruggs finished his rookie season with:
-406 Receiving Yards
In a year where Derek Carr set a career-high in passing yards 🧐pic.twitter.com/JR8p5cv6HX
— Mike Randle (@RandleRant) April 19, 2021
Similarly, the Raiders are optimistic about a big second-year for 2020 third-round pick Bryan Edwards, but general manager Mike Mayock was disappointed with the lack of production from last year’s entire rookie draft class. Renfrow is a solid receiver, but his 4.59 (34th percentile) 40-Yard dash and 9.85 (24th percentile) catch radius limit his potential target volume (PlayerProfiler).
Tight end Darren Waller remains the focus of this passing attack, but there remains plenty of wide receiver opportunities available. Las Vegas has the 16th most vacated targets from last season, with Agholor, Devontae Booker, and Jason Witten accounting for 21.8 percent of the team’s total. Last season, quarterback Derek Carr improved as a passer, ranking eighth in deep ball attempts (65) and 10th in deep ball completion percentage (44.6%). Brown will have an excellent opportunity to see big plays in a Las Vegas offense that will need to contend with the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers twice.
Brown is currently the WR64 on FootballDiehards Best Ball ADP. He is going seven spots later than teammate Henry Ruggs, who produced just one overall WR2 and one WR3 performance last season. He is going later than rookies Jaylen Waddle and Rashod Bateman, who haven’t even been drafted yet.
Brown is an accomplished NFL receiver with two seasons of 1000-plus receiving yards and four years of five or more touchdown catches on his resume. Over the past two seasons, Brown has produced at an overall WR2 or better performance in nine of 24 games (38 percent). He is now on a Raiders team where he could easily ascend to the team’s WR1 role. When he operated in that role with the Bills in 2018, he produced 72 receptions, 1060 receiving yards, and six touchdowns. That equates to last year’s overall PPR WR19.
Take advantage of his unreasonably low ADP. Brown is a productive veteran presence that brings the explosive ability Las Vegas desperately needs. He finished 22nd in wide receiver fantasy points per game in 2019. Last season, Brown was the WR48 despite battling injuries and the presence of the league leader in targets, Stefon Diggs (168). Even at that disappointing level, Brown still outperforms his ADP by 12 spots.
John Brown will be a great WR5/6 in Best Ball leagues and an exceptional bench WR in redraft formats.
Projections: 72 catches, 912 receiving yards, five touchdowns
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images