The first installment of this series was a rousing success – for one of us. Joe won the poll, with 60% of Twitter agreeing with his takes on Travis Etienne and Elijah Mitchell. One debate point for Joe! This time around we debate two players at wide receiver. Whose side are you on?
Joe’s Argument For Tee Higgins
Tee Higgins? That guy is a DOG! I have him as my WR10, right in line with the expert ADP on fantasy pros. He is 23 years old, 6’4”, and 215 pounds of alpha male. Last year he finished as the WR22 and will absolutely improve on his numbers. He missed 3 games last year, but is now fully healthy from his shoulder injury. Even with missing three games last year, Tee recorded 110 targets, 1,091 yards, and 6 touchdowns. If he remains healthy this year, there is no reason he can’t see 130 targets, 1,300 yards, and 8 touchdowns, which would put him firmly inside the top ten at the position.
Joe Burrow is finally fully healthy, and he will find Tee Higgins often throughout the season. In fact, Tee Higgins got more targets than Ja’Marr Chase in games they played together last year. As Chase takes another step forward this year, this will only lead to more open field for Tee Higgins to operate and dominate. It’s no debate Higgins is the 1B to Chase’s 1A, and this offense can easily sustain two top ten receivers with their pass-heavy scheme and much improved offensive line. In terms of points per game, Higgins was the WR11 last season. As long as he stays healthy, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t, Tee has a great chance to crush his ADP and become a value in fantasy drafts.
Vin’s Argument Against Tee Higgins
The Bengals had an amazing run to the Super Bowl that not even the biggest diehard Cincinnati fans saw coming. A big factor all season long and in the biggest game of the year was Tee Higgins. But I believe my colleague is overinflating where you should take the Bengals WR in drafts this summer. I didn’t think I would be alone in this sentiment, but it turns out I am – Higgins’ ADP is currently sitting at WR12, pretty much in line with Joe’s ranking of WR10.
The main reason I think Higgins won’t return value is the Bengals schedule. Last year, the Bengals played the second easiest schedule in the NFL. In 2022, they face the sixth hardest schedule, with a lot better pass defenses. I’m talking about the Bills, Patriots, Dolphins, Saints, Buccaneers, and all 3 of their division foes – who account for 6 games. Joe Burrow is great, but tougher games could be in store for the Bengals offense in 2022. One final note is consistency. There’s no debate that most wide receivers are wildly inconsistent – it’s just the nature of the game. But Higgins finished a week as a WR1 in scoring (anywhere between WR1 – WR12) just 3 times in 2021. He’s too inconsistent for me to rely on him as a top 12 guy in 2022.
Vin’s Argument for Marquise Brown
I don’t mind being in the minority on a take compared to the industry, but it feels good to see my thoughts are more in line with “Hollywood’s” current ADP of WR23. Joe currently has him at WR31, which is way too low. The Arizona Cardinals traded for Marquise “Hollywood” Brown on draft night. This trade reunited him with college teammate Kyler Murray and brought him closer to Los Angeles; thus making his Hollywood powers stronger and a better player. Debate over.
Kidding, of course. But reconnecting with an old college buddy is something Brown probably welcomed at this point in his life. Not like when you see someone at the bar you haven’t seen since Greek Week 2014 and they start talking to you about their kids, job, and dogs and stuff. Yuck. College was a good time for the Kyler-Brown connection. In two years together, Hollywood amassed over 2,400 receiving yards and 17 TD on just 132 receptions. That was against the Swiss Cheese defenses of the Big 12, but there is no doubt a relationship is there. Despite finishing the season as WR23, he put up five WR1 weeks in the first nine(!!) weeks of 2021. Hollywood was a backend WR2 last season as the alpha wide receiver with the Ravens, but he had to compete with target hog Mark Andrews. A similar situation awaits him in Arizona as Kyler showed a true affinity for throwing the ball Zach Ertz’s way over the back half of 2021.
But don’t get it twisted – Ertz is by no means on the same level as Andrews and does not command the same amount of love from Kyler. I haven’t even mentioned DeAndre Hopkins is suspended for the first 6 games of the season and Christina Kirk is no longer with the team. This leaves a massive target share up for grabs. Due to all of these reasons, I believe Hollywood will exceed WR31 value by far and even possibly finish within the top 20 at the position this season.
Joe’s Argument Against Marquise Brown
I am all out on Marquise “Hollywood” Brown this year. I have him ranked as my WR31 while the expert consensus has him as WR22. Brown will see some serious competition for targets this year from guys like A.J. Green, Zach Ertz, James Conner, Darrel Williams, Rondale Moore, and of course DeAndre Hopkins once he returns. I know what you’re thinking- Brown will dominate when Hopkins is out, but this will not be the case. No player in Arizona, not even Hopkins, saw more than a 20% target share last season. It is likely that Kyler Murray will continue to spread the ball around, crippling Brown’s production.
Sure, Brown is fast, but recently he has struggled to win after the catch, has dropped passes in major situations, and has ranked outside the top 40 in WR efficiency over the last two years. Brown has never finished as a top 20 receiver. In fact, he only averaged 3.9 fantasy points per game in the final 8 games of the
season last year. How can we draft someone confidently, knowing he scored under 4 points per game for half the season?
I will never forget the game last year where Brown dropped three sure touchdown passes in the FIRST HALF. In fact, Brown had nearly as many drops (3) as receptions (5) in 2021 on a total of 30 deep ball targets last season. What good is being fast if you can’t catch the deep ball? There is also a report out of camp that Brown is already dealing with hamstring issues in the preseason. Between target competition, low efficiency, Kyler’s willingness to spread it around, and his poor track record, I will have no shares of Hollywood this season.
So who won the debate? Let us know in the comments and on Twitter!