Will A.J. Brown play in Week 1? Fantasy analysis and injury update

Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown will apparently be on a load management plan for at least the first chunk of the season to keep him available for Sundays. He said he’s “good to go” for Sunday’s game against the Cardinals. Brown did not have a game status designation on Tennessee’s Friday injury report (the official signal that a player is not at risk of missing the game). Can Brown help your fantasy football team in Week 1?

Is A.J. Brown’s injury a cause for concern in Week 1?

Brown has been on track to play the opener for weeks despite missing time in training camp and sitting out all of the preseason.

But the health of his knees must always be something to at least monitor going forward based on his medical history.

Brown, a Pro Bowler in 2020, needed surgery on both knees following a standout sophomore season. Playing through discomfort for much of the year, he still managed 1,075 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns in 14 games.

Could a healthy 2021 lead to a lucrative contract extension?

Brown really could use a healthy season as he enters a critical time in his NFL career arc. He’s eligible to sign a contract extension after this year. However, Titans brass probably wants to see him get through a year healthy before giving him a big-money extension.

With a base salary of just $1 million, Brown might be the best value in all of football.

Brown has spent much of 2021 recovering from what his camp deemed as “minor” surgery on both knees in early January. He did not participate in the Titans’ OTAs or minicamp this spring but was cleared for full participation in training camp and has been dominant in those sessions open to reporters.

At anything close to 100%, Brown will make the Titans the favorites to win the AFC South and a real Super Bowl contender.

Julio Jones is on track to make his Titans debut Sunday after an offseason trade from Atlanta. He and Brown will be nearly an impossible coverage assignment, particularly if teams load the box to stop Derrick Henry.

Tennessee’s offense enters the season reasonably healthy — all 11 starters are expected to play Sunday.

A.J. Brown fantasy outlook and analysis

Brown finished as a WR1 in 43% of his 14 active games last year. He’s averaged 7.6 targets, 5 receptions, 76.6 receiving yards, and 18 PPR fantasy points per game. Brown exceeded his targets, receptions, receiving yards, and touchdown totals from 2019 despite playing in two fewer games. This momentum should continue in 2021 playing alongside former Falcons receiver Julio Jones.

The third-year receiver has dealt with knee injuries throughout his short NFL career, but has confirmed he’ll be good to go this week against the Cardinals. None of the cornerbacks that Arizona has can match up with Brown. The Titans’ offensive line should be able to provide quarterback Ryan Tannehill adequate protection. Brown can be as a high-end WR1 against the Cardinals.

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