Go ahead Kenny Britt. Prove it!
Have you ever noticed how an ice cube floating in a glass of scotch looks a lot like a crystal ball? No? Me neither. My X’s and Y’s co-host John Evans, on the other hand, has often peered into a tumbler of malted goodness seeking fantasy guidance. It seems he’s done it again this offseason with a surprising take on Kenny Britt‘s 2014 stock. Cheers!
Over the last few weeks the rumors have swirled around wide receiver Kenny Britt. An array of appealing destinations were dangled before the eyes of his mostly bitter fantasy owners (oh Patriots, you shameless flirts). Judging from the reaction on Twitter, St. Louis is not a sexy landing spot for him. Having Sam Bradford throwing the ball will do that to you. Britt’s extended buy-low window, which has been at floor-level since midseason in 2013, may have closed, but the prevailing sentiment on this guy remains “stay away!”
While I wouldn’t call myself a Britt apologist, I don’t think the proper advice for fantasy owners is “pretend he doesn’t exist,” which is essentially the verdict of his vast legion of doubters. If you can get Britt for a bargain price and he’s a late-round flier in redraft season, I endorse a low-risk gamble. Titans cornerback Jason McCourty recently endorsed his former teammate, saying “he can be a No. 1 receiver in this game” and praised Britt for giving the Titans’ defensive backs everything they could handle in practice last season. He told Dan Duggan of NJ.com that “As defensive backs, we hated it because he gave you 110 percent every day…”
In his new home, Britt will be competing for targets with bonafide bust Brian Quick and a bevy of talented but undersized receivers. Britt has prototypical size (6’3, 220 pounds), a long frame and shows toughness after the catch. He’s a leaper who can high-point the ball and make contested catches, offering an appealing target in the red zone. Last year, tight ends Jared Cook and Lance Kendricks scored half of the Rams’ red zone passing TDs, despite seeing just 25% of the team’s targets (thanks to @FantasyDouche for the stat). That’s because the Rams have no big receivers other than Quick (career touchdowns: 4).
Look, you can pooh-pooh Sam Bradford all you want (and I don’t love him) but don’t forget Zac Stacy and the team’s draft bounty in 2014 (two first-round picks!). Turn one of those into a top lineman and this offense is going to get in the red zone. Kenny Britt is the kind of receiver who can convert those opportunities into touchdowns.
I understand your skepticism. The enigma that is Kenny Britt has baffled fantasy owners for some time. His dropoff was even more precipitous than that of Hakeem Nicks, even if Britt was never as consistently brilliant as Hakeem once was at the NFL level. Ironically, their football destinies have always been intertwined. Britt watched his hometown Giants take Nicks a single pick before the Titans took Britt.
Unlike Nicks, we don’t have two seasons of game tape where Britt looks like he’s definitely lost a step. Britt barely got on the field in 2013 (except when he was giving Titans DBs fits) but beyond some knee swelling in the summer, there were no new reports of injury and it appears he’s fully healthy for the first time since 2011.
Still just 25 years old, Britt has suffered a string of injuries that began with the double whammy of ACL/MCL tears in 2011 (something else we can thank Rahim Moore for). While the following year Britt was working with a woefully inconsistent rookie QB, Jake Locker, his consistently troublesome knee hobbled him for much of the 2012 season. Like many players not named Adrian Peterson, Britt didn’t look like the same player the firstseason after a major knee injury. That’s behind him now.
While it may be more concerning in some respects that Britt was benched for being a bonehead in 2013, there is definitely hope that physically he is close to the level he was at before his knee injury. He hasn’t been arrested in some time and in the aforementioned article, McCourty vouches for Britt’s newfound maturity.
Bottom line, Britt is on a one-year “prove it” deal and that doesn’t bespeak great confidence in him. At the same time, he’s going to be motivated to earn another contract. I think he’s a better bet than Hakeem Nicks and a solid sleeper. Don’t draft him in the 5th round of a seasonal league but don’t be the guy who scoffs when he goes in the 8th, either. He just might kick your ass.
PROJECTED 2014 STATS
G = 14
Receiving Yards = 944
YPG = 67.4
Receptions = 65
Total TDs = 8
Projected Redraft ADP: Pick 100
Projected Dynasty Startup ADP: Pick 70