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A.J. Green has been nothing but awesome since the Bengals drafted him in 2011. He has never failed to produce at least 1,000 receiving yards, and averages over 1,200 yards, and nine touchdowns per season. He has been the model of fantasy consistency, averaging 80 to 90 yards per game since his rookie year, and no less than half a touchdown per game played.
Looking back over the last few seasons, here are the relevant fantasy football stats for Green.
Although Green’s numbers for 2015 look about the same as his 2014 numbers, that is quite misleading. Before Andy Dalton was injured, his numbers were on pace to match his lofty 2013 totals, which were his career bests for yards, touchdowns, receptions, and fantasy points.
Dalton has taken steps forward as a quarterback, and those benefits showed with Green, who recorded his highest reception per target percentage of his great career.
Positive changes from 2015: The loss of Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu should only increase his already heavy use in the Bengals’ offense
What doesn’t change from 2015: Green is still a stud
Negative changes from 2015: More of an unknown than a negative, but the Bengals are on their third offensive coordinator in Green’s six year career. He has produced well under all of them, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Green was only targeted 8.3 times per game last year, which was the lowest since his rookie season, although part of that was due to the loss of Dalton, and McCarron taking over at quarterback late in the season. Green’s numbers suffered during this period. With Dalton behind center all season, we can assume Green’s targets are at least on track with their historical averages of about nine and a half per game. Green caught a personal best 65.2 percent of balls last year. Before that, his percentage was below 60 percent. A better ball from Dalton means easier catches for Green, so hitting 60 percent should easily be attainable. Over the last two seasons, Green is averaging 15.1 yards per reception, and is right around there for his career. So let’s say he hits that again this year. Similarly, his touchdowns per receptions are around 0.11 for his career.
So plugging this in over a full 16 games gives Green a projected stat line of:
If Green hits these totals, that would make him about the fifth to 10th best receiver in fantasy football this year. That makes him a solid WR1, or an elite WR2 if you grab receivers back to back. His current average draft position is at the end of round one, which seems a bit high, compared to his projections.