Fantasy football analysts acting like Lions WR Amon-Ra St. Brown is some kind of a revelation this year

Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown has been very good this year, and some fantasy football analysts are acting like it's something new.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Down the stretch of the 2021 season, Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown defined what fantasy football analysts like to call a "league winner." From Week 13-17, he was WR2 in 0.5 and full-point PPR, and WR3 in standard scoring.

In 2022, St. Brown was a top-10 fantasy wide receiver across the board, despite missing one game, being limited the following game and been taken out of the game after that very early (10 snaps) after taking a hit to the head.

So far this year (entering Week 12), St. Brown is again a top-10 (actually top-eight) fantasy wide receiver across the board, despite missing one game. He has scored or topped 100 yards (both twice) in all nine games he has played. The touchdown correction that was easy to foresee last summer has come, with five touchdowns so far. He had five scores as a rookie, and six last season.

St. Brown was a second-round pick in many (if not all) fantasy drafts this year, with a naturally slightly higher ADP in PPR formats.

Fantasy Football analysts acting like Amon-Ra St. Brown has been a revelation this year

Just this week, actually since last Sunday night before Week 11 was complete, two fantasy football writers have offered ideas that point to St. Brown as some kind of surprise stud this year.

First there's Jorge Martin of Yahoo!, with an article titled "Amon-Ra St. Brown delivers fantasy greatness again and again (and again)."

"When does a hot streak go to the next level and just become pure greatness? Four games, five?
What about nine games?
Yes, this is an appreciation for the every-week greatness that has been Amon-Ra St. Brown. In nine games this season — he missed one due to injury — St. Brown has gone for 100 receiving yards and/or caught a touchdown in every week. Talk about consistency. Going into the Sunday evening game in Week 11, he was the WR9 after posting eight catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. Those who selected him in the second round of fantasy drafts last summer know this kind of production very well. He has very much rewarded that draft capital."

Thomas Valentine of Pro Football Focus included St. Brown among his "5 players who have elevated to elite status in 2023."

Is this cheating? Amon-Ra St. Brown was excellent in 2022, catching 106 passes for 1,161 receiving yards and six touchdowns en route to a WR7 finish in PPR while averaging 16.7 fantasy points per game. Based on that, it’s hard to say that St. Brown wasn’t an elite performer heading into 2023.

However, hear me out here. There was reasonable doubt around St. Brown. His role as a slot-only receiver made a continued push for elite usage difficult to predict, especially as the Lions looked poised to become a more run-first offense after signing David Montgomery in free agency and drafting Jahmyr Gibbs in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Gibbs' role in the offense, as well as the hopeful growth of Jameson Williams as an outside threat, meant that St. Brown could realistically lose out on targets, and even the targets he received wouldn’t be all that explosive. Wrong again. St. Brown has elevated himself to be one of the most consistent receivers in the league. He’s pristine, he’s quarterback-proof, and he’s on track to potentially be a top-three fantasy receiver in 2023. 

Based on what he had done previously, and the aforementioned touchdown correction that felt certain, who didn't expect St. Brown to be a consistent weekly fantasy producer this year? While St. Brown hesitantly embraces fantasy football and social media giving managers a path to message him about it, he had a message in mid-August about his consistency and thus his appeal in fantasy.

And even with Montgomery and Gibbs in the Lions' backfield, and the idea Jameson Williams would emerge, target volume/target share for St. Brown was a minimal concern.

It's fair to say St. Brown is in line to reach new heights in production this year, including needing 102 yards against the Packers on Thursday to already reach 1,000 yards. But to act (or write) as if what he has done so far is some sort of fantasy football revelation is a huge reach.


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