A.J. Green, dismissed and disrespected by fantasy drafters (and gurus), is ready to bounce back

Look, I get it: You’re out on A.J. Green

He burned you last year when he didn’t play a game. Or he burned you back in 2018 when he only played nine games. 

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At some point in recent fantasy history, Green disappointed you. And now he’s entering his age-32 season, tied to a rookie quarterback in a socially distanced offseason.

So you’ve moved on, scarred by the experience. Green can be someone else’s fantasy problem. 

But here’s the thing: Green was pretty damn good when last we saw him, during his half-season in 2018. He averaged 85.9 receiving yards per week over his first eight that year, scoring six touchdowns. The prior year, he produced 1,078 yards and eight scores, never missing a game and earning Pro Bowl recognition for the seventh time in his career. 

Without question, Green was still an upper-tier playmaker:

Today, after a season lost to injury, we’re waiting until 28 other wide receivers have been taken before selecting Green in an average Yahoo draft. His ADP is 78.7. Green is going only a few picks ahead of teammate Tyler Boyd (WR32). 

Gotta say, even when we account for Green’s apparent elevated injury risk, it sure seems like he should be drafted as something more than a low-end No. 3 fantasy receiver. He has four top-10 positional finishes on his fantasy resume and he ranks seventh all-time in receiving yards per game (80.2). Green has been inarguably one of the greatest receivers of his era, a player who can win with size or finesse.

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If you simply want to avoid any and all medical question marks in 2020 drafts, knowing we may see an unprecedented number of games missed to injury/illness … well, it’s understandable.

I’d just like to remind you of a few things.

Here’s why you shouldn’t give up on A.J. Green

1) Green is fully operational as of this writing, according to his coach, with no lingering issues. You can fret about the possibility of missed games, but the ankle trouble is behind him.

2) His new QB might very well be the best he’s ever worked with, a No. 1 overall pick coming off the greatest passing season in collegiate history. Joe Burrow has reportedly impressed his new coaching staff as much as anyone can without actual live reps; he and Green will be working together in early July. 

3) For those who care about such things, it appears Green will be playing on the franchise tag, which means the year ahead will set the table for his last significant contract. 

4) Again, when we last saw Green on the field, he was pretty awesome — a dominant player drawing a huge workload. Among the best in the game. 

So yeah, this is another case in which I’m definitely targeting the boring legend over several buzzier names commonly selected ahead of him. Before you tell me about the upside of various second-year players, I’ll remind you that Green has already gone 80-1,200-10 in three different seasons.

I’m the highest on Green among the Yahoo crew, and apparently the only ranker who thinks he can reclaim his status as our game’s preeminent A.J. (challenging Brown). If you’re willing to let me land Green outside the top 60 picks, I’m happy to roster him. I can understand a post-injury downgrade, but we’ve gone a few rounds too far.

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