The new Cardinals receiver should be considered draftable as a top-24 receiver thanks to Brown's reunion with old pal Kyler Murray. Arizona's offense is way more pass-friendly than Baltimore's, and Murray ranked in the top five in deep-ball passing rate and deep-ball adjusted completion rate in 2021. Unfortunately, it must be noted that Brown had nearly as many drops (three) as receptions (five) in 2021 on 30 deep-ball targets. Here's the reality: Brown is expected to play in the same kind of role Christian Kirk was in last year, a gig that saw Kirk average 7.3 targets in games Hopkins left early or missed and 5.0 targets in games Hopkins was in. Kirk didn't always see deep-ball targets and blossomed into a volume-friendly No. 3 receiver. Brown, however, is one of the league's most explosive receivers and his familiarity with Murray dating back to their days at Oklahoma should put them in instant rhythm. There's a real chance that Brown helps Fantasy managers rocket off to a great start through October before providing still-good numbers in November and December once Hopkins comes back. Bank on him getting picked in Round 5.
Brown’s fantasy stock gets a boost with the move from Baltimore to Arizona. The Cardinals project to throw it more than the Ravens. And Kyler Murray looks like an upgrade over Lamar Jackson based on their play over the past couple of seasons.
It’ll be a crowded pass-catching corps after WR DeAndre Hopkins returns from his 6-game suspension. But Brown is capable of getting off to a hot start – and then keeping that momentum rolling.
Now, this hasn’t been the smoothest summer for Brown. He missed about a week of camp with a minor ankle injury. And he was arrested in early August on criminal speeding charges.
He’s on track to be ready for Week 1, though. Barring any setbacks, we're treating him as a borderline WR2 with big spike-week potential.
Brown was traded to Arizona after three seasons in Baltimore. The 2019 first-round pick has emerged as one of the league's best (and most underrated) high-volume, vertical targets over the last two seasons. Brown has finished top 12 among wideouts in target share and top five in average depth of route each of the past two seasons. He posted a career-best 22nd-place fantasy finish in 2021, but that's a bit misleading. Brown was 11th in fantasy PPG in 11 games with Lamar Jackson, but 67th in five games while Jackson was out. Brown now joins a more crowded Arizona offense, but especially with DeAndre Hopkins suspended for six games, he remains positioned for a sizable workload in a Kyler Murray-led offense. Brown's value took a hit, but he remains a fantasy WR3.
Last season, Brown became the first Baltimore receiver to surpass 1,000 yards receiving in a season since Mike Wallace did it in 2016. Brown has shown flashes of a clear-cut WR1 but has struggled with consistency. That was on full display last season, where he had the sixth-most receiving yards (682) and six touchdowns through the first nine weeks of the season, only to struggle down the stretch. He would finish with only 442 yards the rest of the year and no touchdowns. That dip could easily be attributed to Lamar Jackson being injured, but 2021 will be a make-or-break year for Brown. His current ADP sits at WR31, and at that price, he's a value right now. There's no clear WR1 in that range, and he could be a great mid-round target for fantasy managers.