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Countdown to 2021 fantasy football drafts: A.J. Brown No. 35

A.J. Brown comes in at 35 in our fantasy football rankings countdown to the 2021 NFL season.

Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) during training camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park. Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Brown had a great follow up season to a strong rookie year, as he put up over a thousand yards and 11 touchdowns in 14 games. His ability after the catch is one of the best in the league and with Julio Jones lined up on the other side of him this season, there’s no reason to think the two can’t be one of the top duos in the league.

To commemorate the 2021 NFL season, we’ll be counting down the 75 best fantasy football players in the league. Picking a Top 75 is subjective, especially when you are projecting a whole season of accumulated fantasy points, but that’s part of the fun. We’ll assume what I see as an average league, which is 12 teams, .5 PPR scoring and a roster of 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, & 1RB/WR/TE. Kickers and defenses need not apply.

Change is the nature of the NFL beast, so trades and injuries will likely impact this list as we go along, but hey, this isn’t rocket science. We’re here to have a little fun and build up some much needed anticipation for a league cast in the shadow by baseball, soccer, hockey, etc. Sarcasm aside, the NFL is addictive and we’re here to give your daily fix as we close in on the season.

The official and often updated fantasy football drafting tiers can be found here.

No. 35, A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans, WR

Brown has 19 touchdowns through 30 games in the NFL to go along with 2,126 yards and 122 receptions. He also has an amazing 17.4 yards per catch due to his big play ability after the catch.

Competition for touches

The thought after Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith headed off in free agency was that Brown could be a Top 5 fantasy option with such a lock for a great usage percentage. Unfortunately, the Titans went out and got future Hall-of-Famer Julio Jones from the Falcons to shore up their thin receiver group after Brown. Jones’ presence ill help and hurt Brown. The targets won’t be quite as high as they could be, but he won’t see as much extra coverage sent his way while also being one of the best young receivers in the league.

Team offensive expectations

The Titans are one of the best offenses in the league, but do focus on Derrick Henry to get their offense moving. That leads to fewer passing targets all around, but also better efficiency. The trio of henry, Brown and Jones is set up to be a Top 10 offense in 2021.

What’s his upside?

Brown’s upside is capped by a run-first offense, but he’s good enough to take the targets he does see and put up big numbers. His upside will likely depend on health more than anything else, as he’s too good not to be a huge part of the offense.

What’s his downside?

Brown missed two games last season along with a lot of practices with injuries to both knees. He had surgery on those knees this offseason and should be fine, but his physical nature as a runner could push him to miss some games.

Projection

80 receptions, 120 targets, 1200 yards, 12 touchdowns