When healthy, A.J. Green has proved he’s a number one wide receiver in the NFL. While not the fastest receiver, he has the wide catch radius, agility, jump ability, hands, and crisp route running to be a menace for opposing defenses. With six 1000 yard seasons and dominance without a star quarterback, A.J. has begun to sniff hall-of-fame discussions. However, health has been a major hindrance in his career, especially in his last few seasons. With college quarterback phenom Joe Burrow joining the Bengals, will A.J. Green put together another 1000 yard season? Many have predicted he will, but I am skeptical given his age and injuries in the past two seasons.
|REC||REC YDS||REC TDS||FPTS||FPPG|
A.J. Green did not play in 2019 due to a lingering ankle injury suffered in training camp. The last we saw of A.J. Green was a nine-game stretch in 2018 where he put up 46 receptions for 694 receiving yards and 6 receiving touchdowns before going down with a toe injury. Green was unstoppable when on the field and well on pace for 75+ receptions, 1000 receiving yards, and 9 touchdowns. The question becomes what version of A.J. will we see? We could see an A.J. Green unable to fully recover from his injuries or a Green that returns to dominance. I don’t think A.J. Green is worth the risk fantasy owners unless they drafted high floor receivers in previous rounds.
|REC||REC YDS||REC TDS||FPTS||FPPG|
A.J. did not show any signs of decline in 2018 despite the multitude of injuries earlier in his career. With Green set to turn 32 next month, I think the decline will finally become present. With consistent lower-body injuries including a toe injury in 2018 and torn ankle ligaments in 2019, I find it hard to believe Green will be the same explosive player. However, Green finally has a respectable supporting cast at the receiver position.
Playing alongside Green in 2020 will be number one overall pick Joe Burrow, a quarterback with fantastic accuracy, pocket awareness, and ability to read opposing defenses. I can see Green thriving under Burrow given his success with the mediocre Andy Dalton. This gives me some optimism that Green will perform close to his career averages in 2020. In addition, the receiving corp is excellent. AJ Green and Tyler Boyd make a great wide receiver duo and rookie Tee Higgins is a physical receiver who will complement Green and Boyd’s skillset. In some scenarios, having too many weapons can negatively hurt everyone’s performance. In this case, I see the opposite. A.J. is the team’s number one receiver and these weapons should elevate his performance.
Ultimately Lineups projects a quality season with 60 receptions for 856 yards and 7 touchdowns slightly lower than Green’s career averages. I agree with this projection. Green’s injury history and age are too big of concerns to project anything higher.
ADP: 65.6 WR: 30
Auction Value: $13
A.J. Green’s current auction value is 65.5 meaning that fantasy owners are valuing him as a borderline second receiver or bench option. I think the latter is fair for Green. Ranked 30th amongst receivers by lineups, Green provides so much potential upside but his injury concerns and age make the upside not worth the risk. However, stashing him on your bench for the perfect matchup could be a winning formula.
— Matthew Berry (@MatthewBerryTMR) April 24, 2020
At his best and most healthy, A.J. Green is a 1000-yard receiver. If he returns to peak performance, fantasy owners will get a huge return. He could also put up these numbers but could only produce 600 yards in another injury-plagued season. Nevertheless, Green has a high ceiling. We know what we get with a healthy Green, a top-five receiver in terms of production.
A.J. Green has a low floor given his injuries. In 2019, Green finished with 0 receptions, crippling fantasy owners that drafted Green as a number one or two wide receiver. With injuries, you never know. He could put up another fat zero or produce less than ideal numbers given his age. At 32 and an expansive injury history, how good do you expect Green to be? I’m leading towards average at best.
Cincinnati Bengals Offense
The Cincinnati Bengals offensive weapons are exciting. However, their offensive line is one of the worst in the league, which will hinder Burrow’s success. Burrow’s success as a rookie directly correlates with Green’s success as a receiver. While Green is the Bengal’s number one receiver, Burrow might not develop the chemistry that Dalton had with Green. In Burrow’s eyes, Boyd could be his de-facto number one receiver. This is something to look at in the first few games of the regular season.
Second, Joe Mixon is a top-ten running back but doesn’t have the offensive line boost his production. If Mixon struggles behind this terrible offensive line, Burrow will have to depend more on the passing game, which could help Green, but also make the Bengals a predictable offense.
Strength of Schedule
The Bengals have a difficult schedule, to say the least. They play tough divisional opponents the Browns, Ravens, and Steelers, all of which have menacing front fours and above-average secondaries. At the very minimum, six games will be difficult for Burrow and the passing game. On top of a tough division, they play the Chargers, Eagles, and Titans all of which have quality defenses. The schedule doesn’t look easy which could have an effect on Green’s production.
At A.J. Green’s current ADP and Auction Value, I don’t hate the idea of picking him up. Green has great upside if you stash him on the bench. If you’re drafting Green to be a number one or two wide-receiver, his risk is not worth the reward. Far better options with higher floors exist at this ADP. I think Green will be healthy for the majority of the season, but his age could catch up to him limiting his physical gifts. All things considered, a healthy A.J. Green should finish with decent production but not production worthy of a number one or two receiver on your fantasy team.