Amon-Ra St Brown had a way better rookie season than anyone was expecting. He was drafted in the fourth round out of the University of Southern California with very little hype. I thought he could be a good slot receiver, but I wasn’t expecting him to blow out all expectations. It did help that the Lions didn’t have De’Andre Swift, T.J. Hockenson, or any decent wide receiver at one point. This allowed ARSB to soak up targets and play calls. He got rushes, designed plays, and everything needed to help him succeed. With the Lions always playing catch up, this meant more passing work too.
2021 Season in Review
I doubt you expected a Lions receiver to finish in the top 24 of WRs in fantasy football in 2021. As mentioned earlier, ARSB had a lot of luck being the fortunate survivor of many injuries to the Lions’ offense. Being healthy allowed him to showcase his ability and get a lot of work. Jared Goff didn’t have anyone else to throw to. That is unless you consider Craig Reynolds, Kalif Raymond, and Josh Reynolds to be starting receivers/running backs.
Due to that, ARSB got 119 targets over his 17 games and nine starts. He caught 90 passes for 912 yards which equal 10.1 yards per reception. St. Brown added on five touchdowns through the air and one more rushing. He rushed for 61 yards. For good measure, he added two 2-point conversions. He did the most of his damage after Swift and Hock went down with injuries in Week 11. From Week 12-17, he caught 51 passes for 560 yards and five touchdowns. This was when he did his rushing work as well. He averaged 24 PPG in PPR during this time, helping many people win their leagues.
2022 Season Projections
The Lions didn’t rest on their laurels over the off-season. Instead, they added two quality WRs to their wide receiver room. DJ Chark returns from a fractured ankle, but this shouldn’t limit him. Their first-round pick Jameson Williams is still recovering from a torn ACL. He should return sometime this season, likely mid-season. St. Brown should still get plenty of work to start the season as he’s the most established receiving option. Yet, you can’t knock Swift and Hockenson being healthy again.
The Lions will be throwing a lot due to playing from behind. This is good, except Goff isn’t Patrick Mahomes. With so many targets, it will be hard for St. Brown to replicate his 2021 season. This isn’t to say it won’t be a good season, as I have him averaging a good 12.8 PPR ppg. Below, I have my projections for ARSB this year. They are fine for a WR3 in dynasty; just don’t set your expectations extremely high.
Buy or Sell the Sun God?
If you can buy St. Brown for a second-round pick, I’d probably do that. He’s a young (22 years old) WR who will return WR3 value for you this year and likely in the future. He’s a solid dart throw for rebuilders due to his age and uncertain future. While he did great last year, will that continue? Will the Lions keep featuring him? See if you can’t get him in a rebuild as an added piece. If St. Brown blows up, that helps your rebuild a ton.
If he sucks, then he wasn’t the main piece you were getting back anyways. On a competing team, ARSB is a WR3/flex player. He should be good to help you win a chip. Don’t be averse to selling him if you get a good offer. Chances are that second or early-second-round pick will help you win the chip more than ARSB. I’d hold him to see what happens. I don’t want to sell too early and find out the Lions are making him a focal point of their offense.
St. Brown had an unexpected breakout in his rookie season. This came about due to a sudden need for any talent on offense with most of their players injured. With added competition and players returning from injury back, St. Brown won’t get near the same amount of work. He could still do quite well, especially as a WR3. Just don’t expect another tremendous season. St. Brown is a worthy add-in dynasty if you can get him cheap. I would hold though until we find out more about his future. The Sun God is a talented football player but is stuck in a rebuilding offense with a bunch of competition for targets.
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As always, May the Force be with You…