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Marquise Brown: 2020 Fantasy Football Sleeper


Many football fans know of the epic 2019 season the Baltimore Ravens had. Though it resulted in a bitter divisional-round exit at the hands of the Tennessee Titans, the Ravens return a young and highly-talented roster in 2020. After boasting a historic rushing attack last year, many have their eyes on Lamar Jackson and the stable of running backs.

Nevertheless, Baltimore does have a couple of prolific pass-catchers. One flying under the radar is wide receiver Marquise Brown, the cousin of Antonio Brown and a 2019 first-round pick. Brown is a speedster who has recorded a 4.33 40-yard dash despite not being able to attend the 2019 draft combine. He went rather unnoticed in fantasy last season as a rookie because much of the attention was shining bright on Lamar Jackson.

Now entering his second year, “Hollywood” is an enticing candidate to be a fantasy sleeper due to the Ravens being known as a run-first team. However, no team can rush on every play of the game, so that’s where Brown’s value increases on this relatively unknown Baltimore receiving corp. Let’s break down his stats and outlook:

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2019 Recap

It didn’t take long for Marquise Brown to acclimate to the NFL. In the Week 1 throttling of the Dolphins, the speedster smoked the Miami secondary all day, notching four receptions for 147 yards and two touchdowns on only FIVE TARGETS. He averaged an incredible 36.8 yards per catch. Owners could easily decipher that the WR could turn on the wheels when he needed to and blaze past hapless defenders.

Due to the Ravens being a run-first team, Brown never put up those numbers again during the season, but his potential remains. In 14 games last season, he grabbed 46 receptions, 71/440 targets (16.1%), 584 yards, 12.7 yards per catch, and seven touchdowns. The receiver also had 7.8 yards before the catch per reception, 4.9 yards after the catch per reception, and a 2.8 dropped passes per target percentage.

Brown ranked 45th among fantasy receivers. The wideout finished second on the pass-catching group in receptions, targets, yards, and touchdowns, all after TE Mark Andrews. Among the Ravens WRs, Brown easily came in first in receptions, targets, yards, and touchdowns. He remains the WR1 on this team despite Baltimore not throwing the ball much (182 total WR targets in 2019, lowest in NFL) If Brown was given more opportunities, he could have shined last season.

 

2020 Outlook

The Oklahoma product has been conditioning rigorously this offseason and a hopeful breakout season could emerge if Baltimore gets him the ball more. In terms of targets and receiving production, the only real threat to Brown is TE Mark Andrews. Despite Andrews’ massive red zone presence and 2019 breakout, Lamar Jackson cannot only throw to the same receiver. This is where Brown steps in.

The Hollywood, Florida native remains atop the WRs depth chart. With one year of NFL experience under his belt and a stronger rapport with QB Lamar Jackson, all the pieces are in place for Brown to have a stellar campaign. The Week 1 blowout against Miami was just a glimpse of the WR’s potential if he gets on fire.

The other receivers on the Ravens’ depth chart are Willie Snead IV, Miles Boykin, Devin Duvernay, and Chris Moore. They are generally unknown or not explosive wideouts.

Snead finished second after Brown in the stat sheet last season, albeit an unimpressive finish overall for the former Saint. Snead compiled 31 receptions, 46/440 targets (10.5%), 339 yards, 10.9 yards per catch, and five touchdowns in 16 games. These numbers are a somewhat decent drop off from Brown’s numbers (46 receptions, 71/440 targets (16.1%), 584 yards, 12.7 yards per catch, and seven touchdowns).

Miles Boykin was also a rookie last season, but he had an underwhelming campaign that ended in 13 receptions, 22/440 targets (5%), 198 yards, 15.2 yards per catch, and three touchdowns in 16 games. Chris Moore was virtually non-existent on the field last year, only mustering three receptions, five targets, and 21 yards in 14 games.

The Ravens did draft Devin Duvernay out of Texas this year. He will slide into the WR4 spot on the depth chart heading into the 2020 season. The rookie has a lot of potential, as he nearly compiled 1,400 receiving yards in his senior season last year.

Despite the potential being there, it is important to note the 22-year-old is still a rookie who is further down the receivers' depth chart on a team that does not pass all that often. Therefore, he should pose no immediate threat to Hollywood Brown. The fact that the rest of the Baltimore wide receiving corp is rather unproven bodes well for Brown and more passes being thrown his way.

Helping Hollywood’s case in addition is the fact that TE Hayden Hurst and WR Seth Roberts are no longer on the team. Hurst finished third among Ravens receivers last season and Roberts finished sixth. Combined, they had 51 receptions, 74/440 targets (16.8%), 620 yards, and four touchdowns.

Consider Brown a WR2 in redraft with massive upside. He can stretch the field, is the clear-cut WR1, and brings plenty of potential with his skills and large role on this receiving corp. His emergence is contingent on Baltimore passing the ball more, but Brown is a sneaky candidate to have big weeks if he gets the right opportunities against weak defenses.



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