75 catches, 1,078 yards, and eight touchdowns.
That was the stat line A.J. Green put together in 2017; the last year he played a full-game season.
It’s hard to believe that the last time that happened, players like Ryan Hewitt, T.J. Johnson and Josh Shaw were taking meaningful snaps for the same team.
Green’s contract situation has been the main conundrum on the minds of Bengals fans. But when the season begins, and Green presumably is healthy for it, what are the expectations for how the box score will represent his performance at season’s end?
The fantasy football department at Pro Football Focus recently took a crack at that.
A.J. Green projections— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) June 9, 2020
7 TDs pic.twitter.com/kyOYuFRlUG
For a full season prediction, this is fairly modest for Bengals fans to process. Green has averaged 5.4 catches, 80.2 yards and 0.6 touchdowns per game for his career. Over a full regular season, that comes to 86.4 catches, 1,283.2 yards, and 9.6 touchdowns.
In the four seasons where he’s played 16 games, Green averaged 89 catches, 1,287.8 yards, and 10 touchdowns.
At his best, Green has been one of the very best receivers in the game. The problem is that we haven’t seen him at his best in what feels like a while. It’s difficult for anybody to expect him to stay healthy and even perform at his top form over the course of a full season when he hasn’t done it in over two years. On one hand, he’s A.J. Green. On the other hand, everything else about his situation matters. The latter is the heavier hand at the moment.
Then there’s the quarterback change. For years, Green has had Andy Dalton throwing him the ball, and the two developed quite the rapport working together.
Dalton is now being replaced by Joe Burrow, who should end up being a positive force for the Bengals in the long-term, but expectations should be modest for him as a rookie starter. That doesn’t mean Green can’t put up attractive volume stats that fantasy owners care about, but it is a variable to consider.
Provided Green does play a full 16-game slate, how do think his stat sheet will look?