We all know the pain of holding onto that stud player too long as their production evaporates and your once highly-priced asset is essentially worthless. There are also plenty of cases of players being sold expecting that decline only to go on defying the odds. This series will examine what you should do as players approach these decision points. This week, our player is…
Marquise Brown, WR ARI
Few players have had the range of production, valuation, and opinion as Brown. Since being drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the 2019 draft, his production and valuation have been all over the place. He has since been traded to the Arizona Cardinals. With the Kyler Murray injury and a potential DeAndre Hopkins trade or release, there are more questions about his production and long-term value.
With all this considered, what should you do with him in dynasty?
It doesn’t look particularly appealing if you look at Brown’s raw season-long numbers. He has finished inside the top 24 only once. However, this is primarily because he has missed time in the other three seasons.
In his rookie year, he led all Ravens receivers in targets, receptions, yards, and touchdowns and finished as the overall WR46 despite missing two games to injury. Because of the nature of his play, Brown has always been a little boom-bust. He has traditionally been used as a deep threat with an aDOT over 11.5 yards each season in the NFL. Because of this, there have been some barren stretches of play throughout his career. However, he has also had some great spells, including being the overall WR6 through the first five weeks of the season this last year.
Situation and Usage
The usage has been remarkably similar despite having played with two different teams throughout his four-year career. In both Arizona and Baltimore, he has lined up out wide roughly two-thirds of the time, with the other third of snaps playing from the slot. His aDot has been between 11.7 and 14.0, with the targets per route run between 19.6% and 22.2%. This remarkable consistency highlights how the two franchises have seen him but also identifies that he is limited and best suited to a role as the number two pass catcher on an offense. His style of play will not pair well as a genuine target hog, where he commands 25-30% of targets.
The situation in Arizona is massively in flux at the moment. With a new head coach, general manager, and the franchise quarterback likely to miss much of the 2023 season, it isn’t easy to ascertain any specific expectation as to what the team will look like in the short or medium term. I expect that Murray will miss the majority, if not all, of 2023, and the team will roll out some combination of Colt McCoy, Jeff Driskel, and David Blough.
They will also move DeAndre Hopkins, whether via a trade or release, before the start of the season. This will mean that Brown will be the stand-alone leader in target volume for the first time in his career. So while the situation is likely the worst of his career by a significant margin, it could be balanced out by a significantly increased volume.
Projecting anything beyond the 2023 season will be a challenge, given the changes within the Cardinals and also the fact he will be a free agent at the end of the season.
Injuries and Contract
After the trade from the Ravens, there was an expectation that the Cardinals would pay Brown after his rookie contract. In theory, it worked perfectly as they could have extended Brown at the same time that Hopkins would have come off the books. He could still be extended, but the possibility of hitting the open market at the end of the season has increased significantly in the last 12 months. However, with the Murray injury and a new regime that didn’t choose to acquire him, there is more uncertainty around his long-term future in Arizona.
As I mentioned earlier, injuries have been an issue since he stepped on the field in the NFL. He has missed eight out of 66 career games. They have never been massive career-defining injuries, but he has suffered several soft tissue injuries, including hamstring, thigh, and groin strains. Given his diminutive stature and reliance on speed, soft tissue injuries will always be a slight concern. However, they can be managed so he doesn’t miss significant time moving forward.
ADP and Trade Value
He is currently the WR32 in April ADP, and the trade analyzer has him worth a random future first or the equivalent of the 1.08 in the 2023 draft. Recent trades are below, and most of them are multi-player deals, so it’s tricky to place a definite value on him, but the one straight-up trade for a pick includes the 1.09, so a similar value to the trade analyzer.
Marquise Brown feels like a risky asset to acquire right now. He is priced relatively highly and could easily produce. However, given the uncertainty of his quarterback situation, the looming contract question, and his up-and-down nature, it is tough to feel confident about him as a reliable asset.
Even if he produces well this year, it is hard to see his value increasing significantly as a 27-year-old free agent. If you like to be aggressive and lean towards variance in your dynasty rosters, you could be rewarded heavily if he steps into a more significant role and produces. However, I would instead invest my resources in a more stable and reliable asset.
I lean towards selling and selling quite quickly before people realize he will have a horrific quarterback situation this season. If Hopkins is traded or released before the NFL Draft, it will open the prime sell window to get off Brown as an asset. I would happily accept any mid to late 1st round pick this year. But the smart move is to look longer term and acquire a 2024 first-round pick plus a minor asset that could help fill the void but also give you an asset that is growing in value moving forward.
- Dynasty Decision: Kadarius Toney - May 31, 2023
- Dynasty Fantasy Football: Seven Player Contract Situations to Monitor - May 25, 2023
- Dynasty Decision: Kirk Cousins - May 24, 2023