Yahoo Sports fantasy experts Liz Loza and Andy Behrens debate what the fantasy value of Cincinnati Bengals WR AJ Green is after he missed the entire 2019 season with injuries.
LIZ LOZA: So I wanted to know about AJ Green. And that addition of "Rust Versus Rest" is coming on Thursday. And I will say that the doctor certainly believes that in AJ Green's case, the rust will be a major contributing factor and should not be thought of as rest, given his advanced age. So now I'm more out-- because before, I was like, well, players can rehab. He's had all this time to come back. But, like, it's a little bit murkier because if we all remember, he hurt his ankle day one of training camp last July-- so nearly a year ago.
But he also hadn't played-- had a low ankle sprain, not a high ankle sprain, and then had a clean-out surgery, probably some cartilage sheared off is the assumption couple of days later, and then has a rehabbed it and rehabbed it, but never felt right. But the question is, obviously, well, did he decide not to sacrifice his body in a kind of contract year for a team that was not going to go anywhere? Or did it really not feel right?
ANDY BEHRENS: Yeah. I think we have to take the player at his word there, because I don't know the exact timing of it. I do remember that AJ came back to practice, right, was it November, was it December, and then tapped out again? Which certainly wasn't a good sign. And it's also, you know, obviously, this is a slightly different position. They're both explosive athletes. But AJ is somebody who's much more reliant on explosiveness and athletic ability necessarily than your typical NFL quarterback would be. So it is-- I mean, it's a worry.
And I think the fact that the Bengals also drafted an AJ Green replicant in Tee Higgins is maybe a sign as well. I think it's totally worth a shot for the Bengals to see what they've got with AJ Green on the tag for a season, because he was one of the-- he's been one of the best receivers of the modern era, right? Like, he's never been necessarily that number one guy, but he's obviously, like, for years, he was a solid number three or four in the entire league.
So like, I think this is totally worth it. I think Higgins is good. I think Higgins is really, really good. I was surprised that he was a second round receiver-- same size as Green, some of the same-- you know, some of the same scouting flaws coming into the draft process, but just an incredible playmaker. But I-- yeah, I think that was maybe a little bit of a signal flare, a little bit of a warning flare that maybe they are not entirely confident in AJ Green as well.
LIZ LOZA: Yeah. I think that is where I am leaning. Also where he's being drafted, you don't need him to be a top 15, top 20 producer really. Like, you can take him and see what he gives you. I mean, there's always the question of he had been the best jump ball specialist in the league, so, like, for what it's worth-- and this is a spoiler alert-- the doctor-- I always ask the doctor, he won't always answer this one, but he felt comfortable enough when it came to AJ Green saying that he felt like AJ Green would play no more than 10 games this season.
ANDY BEHRENS: Ouch.
LIZ LOZA: Yeah.
ANDY BEHRENS: Yeah, I mean, that's-- obviously, that's a tough one to-- that's a tough one for anybody to pin down, regardless of their credentials.
LIZ LOZA: Might as well ask him.
ANDY BEHRENS: The one thing that gives me hope about AJ Green is that he's never not been good. Like, you know, his last season, 2018, he still averaged almost 80 receiving yards per game, right, and was on pace for a 1,200-yard season, which is just what he did forever prior to that. So, like, AJ Green has never not been a good player when on the field.
I feel like your upside with AJ Green is still a 1,200-yard season. Like, he's been that guy. He could be that guy again. On a per game basis, he's been that guy even in some of these injury prone seasons. So if that comes back, great. And at the point in a draft where you're really seriously considering AJ Green, you know, DJ Chark is gone, McLaurin is gone-- like, all these guys that I think of as, you know, potential breakout wide receiver-1's are probably gone. And then AJ Green for me jumps off the page.