It’s amazing how fantasy owners have amnesia and short term memory loss when it comes to players. I think the masses are sleeping on the potential/upside of a player who is being selected at the end of the second or early third round of mock drafts. A.J. Green has been one the most consistent wide receivers in the game, but his current ADP (average draft position: 28) surely doesn’t exemplify that. The 2014 season was the first time in his career that an injury plagued his performance, missing just three games.
In 2012 and 2013 Green averaged 98 grabs, 1,388 yards and eleven touchdowns. Those numbers have first-round caliber written all over them. One of the reasons he’ll be right outside of the top 5 is because the other top receivers have better play at quarterback. Antonio Brown, Demaryius Thomas, Dez Bryant, Julio Jones and Jordy Nelson all have better signal callers. Andy Dalton isn’t a reincarnated Dan Marino, but he ensures his best receiver gets more than his share of targets like Brian Cornell.
Green possesses the physical attributes that any QB would dream of having at his exposure. He’s 6’4, can jump out the gym and has a pair of the best hands in the NFL. There is one more thing that will slightly hinder Green’s numbers, which is his offensive coordinator. Hue Jackson is about as conservative as Rush Limbaugh when it comes to moving the chains. The Bengals threw the ball 51.7% of the time last year, and I don’t foresee that changing with the emergence of the battering ram from LSU. The running Rhino better know as Jeremy Hill led the NFL in rushing yards and yards per carry in the second half of the season, and this will only help Green. Tackling Hill is equivalent to tackling a refrigerator. Personally, I’ve never tackled an appliance, but I think it’s an appropriate metaphor for a running back that stands at 6’1 and weighs 235 pounds. Defenses will have to game plan for Hill and put eight in the box to attempt to stop him. This should leave Green on an island with the corner, with the possibility of no safety help over the top.
Usually you’re only as good as your quarterback when it comes to the wide receiver position. But Green can dispute that notion considering he’s extremely efficient with the “Red Rocket” passing him the ball. Even though Green missed three games because of an injury, he had 69 catches for 1,041 yards with 6 touchdowns last season. This may sound crazy for a guy that I’m advocating, but if you have better options in week 9 and 11, it’ll be wise to sit him when Cincinnati plays Cleveland. Joe Haden of Cleveland shuts Green down like a Blockbuster Video after the development of Netflix. In the last four meetings of the Bengals and the Browns, Green has averaged 4 catches for 31 yards against his “in conference nemesis” Joe Haden. Fantasy football is all about drafting guys that will exceed their value and ADP. A.J. Green is a sure fire to do both.