By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
Transaction: The Baltimore Ravens sign WR John Brown to a 1-year deal
2018 Fantasy Outlook: John Brown’s talent has been evident since his breakout 2015 season when he topped 1,000 yards on 65 receptions. Then came the healthy problems. Brown was diagnosed as having the sickle-cell trait, making it difficult to play in games where there are high altitudes. It also didn’t help he suffered a string of soft tissues injuries. Over the last two seasons combined, Brown hasn’t equaled what he did in 2015. As a result, it’s no surprise the Cardinals didn’t rush to re-sign Brown, even though they themselves are pretty thin at the position behind Larry Fitzgerald.
The Cardinals loss is the Ravens supposed gain. The Ravens had the fourth fewest receiving yards. They didn’t have anyone with more than 750 receiving yards. Their leading receiver the last two seasons, Mike Wallace, just signed a free agent deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. Their second leading receiver was tight end Benjamin Watson, who just signed a free agent deal to rejoin the New Orleans Saints. Their third leading receiver was the recently released Jeremy Maclin. Basically, John Brown is already the best receiver they have on the roster and he had only 299 receiving yards for the Cardinals last year.
If John Brown can stay healthy, he adds a dynamic punch to the Ravens offense, teaming with recently signed Michael Crabtree (more on him later) to give the Ravens a pair of receivers that can actually move the chains. Health is obviously the biggest factor, that and QB Joe Flacco’s ability to play to ability his contract says he has. But Brown can get down the field. During his 2015 breakout, he averaged 15.4 yards per reception. For his career, he’s at 14.5. Flacco has one of the strongest arms in all of football so the Ravens should have no problem stretching the field and opening up the middle of the field for Crabtree to work underneath. There’s upside with Brown, healthy permitting, but I’m not reaching for him. The Ravens are a running team. They get yards in small chunks. I value Crabtree way more as a result. A healthy Brown should approach 600 yards and 5 TDs on 45 catches. That tells me he’ll have a couple strong games throughout the year and that’s about it. It’s hard to trust players like Brown in inconsistent offenses like the Ravens’.