With lackluster numbers through two games but signs of better looming, A.J. Green is a prime buy-low candidate in fantasy football.
After catching five passes for 51 yards in Week 1 against the Los Angeles Chargers, Cincinnati Bengal wide receiver A.J. Green had just three catches for 29 yards Thursday night against the Cleveland Browns. Drawing a lot of Browns’ top corner Denzel Ward was a factor in that lack of production, but Green was targeted 13 times in the game (21.3 percent target share; 61 attempts for rookie quarterback Joe Burrow).
So Burrow is looking Green’s way often, 22 times through two games (22.7 percent target share), but he has just eight catches for 80 yards total. Green’s first target Thursday night was a near-miss along the sideline as he couldn’t extend and keep his feet down in-bounds, and for the second time in as many games, he just missed a touchdown. In Week1 it was an iffy offensive pass interference penalty on him that took a score away, and Thursday night he couldn’t pull in a slightly off-target throw in the fourth quarter.
With a h/t to Charles Curtis of For The Win, check out these numbers from Thursday night.
Will things come together for A.J. Green?
Green’s 36.4 percent catch rate through two games is only going to rise. The Bengals’ offensive line is ceding a lot of pressure on Burrow, with has surely thrown off the narrow margins of timing on deeper routes to Green (average depth of target thus far-15.4 yards). It’s worth noting Green has not been credited with a drop on his 22 targets, and don’t forget about the absence of two near-miss touchdowns on his season stat line.
Missing all of last season with an ankle injury and having less than normal practice time with a new quarterback this offseason are big factors in Green’s slow start this year. The gap between his deeper numbers and his raw stats will only narrow going forward. So the time to buy low on the 7-time Pro Bowler in fantasy is right now, with extra time before he plays in Week 3. For those who drafted him, patience is a virtue even if it’s hard to confidently put Green in a lineup.