The three-headed monster in Arizona was the source of much consternation in many fantasy football circles this draft season. Unfortunately for 2/3 of those involved in the fight, only Larry Fitzgerlad has been worth owning thus far this season, with John Brown and Michael Floyd ending up on many waiver wires as owners needed to make tough roster decisions that found Brown and Floyd on the outs. However, the Cardinals’ passing game hosts the woeful Jets secondary, and all three options should get in on the passing game. Given the woes of the Jets’ defense, however, it will be John Brown who has the biggest day, and who should be the biggest beneficiary of the cake matchup.[embedit snippet=”jeff-ads”]
First, you have to understand Brown’s role in the offense. Of the main three, he is the speedster who takes the top off the defense. Granted, so are the Cardinals’ #4 and #5 receivers (Jaron Brown & J.J. Nelson), but Brown is a much more talented target. He and Floyd are much higher than Larry Fitzgerald in average depth of target (16.5 and 15.9 yards, compared to Fitzgerald’s 10.0), but Brown is catching a much higher percentage of his passes (54% compared to an appalling 36%). While both Floyd and Brown are going over the top for Carson Palmer, Brown is coming down with nearly 20% more catches.
That means that Brown is more likely to take advantage of a Jets defense that is tied for third in most passing big plays allowed (a big play is 25 or more yards). We all remember Tyrod Taylor having two deep bombs against the Jets, and how easy it was for A.J. Green to go over the top on Darrell Revis. However, the most concerning statistic for Jets fans should be that eight different players have had receptions of 40 yards or more against them through the first five weeks of the season. They’re giving up deep bombs, and deep, deep bombs.
While Brown’s overall production has not been great this year (his 144-yard outburst in week four is almost 60% of his yards on the season), let’s not forget that Brown ended the preseason and started the season recovering from a particularly nasty concussion. His week five production was mostly the result of having balls thrown his way by Drew Stanton. His yards with Palmer have increased weekly. While he won’t improve on 144, he’s rounded into shape.
John Brown is the most effective and preferred deep target for Carson Palmer, and the receiver most likely to take advantage of the lax deep ball defense. His early season woes should be behind him now that he and Palmer are both healthy, and he should produce. This is likely to be the week that he finally finds the end zone, and he’s going to be good for a deep play or two. This is the week to get Brown into your lineups.