When you think of top fantasy wide receivers, AJ Green has been up there with Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, and Odell Beckham Jr.
Heading into 2019, his value is down. Green is currently 30 years old and entering his ninth season in the NFL. Green has played all 16 games four times in his career. In 2018, he contributed his lowest number of games in his career. Green played nine games for the Cincinnati Bengals last season. In those games, he compiled 46 catches for 694 yards and six touchdowns.
Green finished as the 37th wide receiver in fantasy football last season. In 2019, he will once again be the No. 1 receiver on the Bengals. This has been a team that has struggled to win. They have a quarterback in Andy Dalton who turns the ball over at a high rate.
At 6’4, Green remains one of the top red-zone threats in the league if he can stay healthy.
Green’s Fantasy History
Since 2012, Green has been a top 10 fantasy receiver four times, and a top-five receiver twice. During his career, Green has three seasons with double-digit touchdowns, and six seasons with over 1,000 yards. The trend when looking at Green’s fantasy background is his health.
In 2016, Green played just 10 games and he finished as the 33rd receiver. In 2014, Green missed three games. This caused him to finish as the 22nd fantasy receiver.
During his four seasons in the top 10, Green played all 16 games. At one time, Green was a surefire first round pick. He was in the same category as Jones and Calvin Johnson.
Year by year, his value has gone down, but this does not mean that he cannot be a strong fantasy option.
Green and the Bengals
The Bengals finished last in the AFC North last season with a 6-10 record. There has been a lot of drama in division regarding wide receivers.
For Green, this is a chance for him to have a massive rebound year. The Bengals ranked eighth in the NFL last season as they threw the ball 61.73% of the time. This is a product of being behind in a lot of games. In 2019, Cincinnati has mixed expectations.
The AFC North is a tough division. The Browns have improved drastically while the Steelers and Ravens are always successful. For the Bengals, it could be another season of playing from behind. In fantasy, it is always beneficial to take players based on their team, good or bad.
After the top tier players at each position, the team can be taken into account. For quarterbacks and wide receivers, teams that throw the ball a lot or play from behind frequently can be targeted more. In terms of running backs, a team that plays ahead will be running the ball more. If this is the case, Green will get a high number of targets.
He has the 26th easiest strength of schedule for wide receivers which means that he will be facing some favorable match ups.
ESPN has Green ranked as the 15th receiver in PPR formats heading into 2019. This ranking is low. Green deserves to be in the No. 10-13 range.
Some of the questionable receivers in front of him include Julian Edelman and Amari Cooper. While they are both top receivers on their respective teams, they are not the red zone threat that Green is. He is the type of receiver that can go up and get a jump ball over any defensive back.
In a 12 team league, Green can be targeted in the third round. This is the range for a receiver ranked where Green is. First round receivers are DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Thomas, Julio Jones, and possibly Odell Beckham Jr. The first round is usually reserved for running backs, but if the top ones are off the board, it would behoove you to take a top line wide receiver.
This season, Green is a high risk, high reward fantasy player. He has suffered two injuries over the last three seasons. His health is a concern, however, he has the ability to be a top 10 fantasy receiver if he plays all 16 games. When entering your draft room, keep an eye on Green.
If he is still there in the third round, do not be afraid to pull the trigger.