Marlon Brown, say hello to the starting lineup of an extremely competent offense.
The defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens had the season opener from hell on Thursday, giving up a record seven touchdown passes to Peyton Manning and losing a couple of key players to injury in the process.
One of those players, Jacoby Jones, is reportedly set to miss four to six weeks with an MCL sprain, per NFL's Around the League Twitter account:
Jacoby Jones has MCL sprain, will reportedly miss 4-6 weeks http://t.co/XC7rRZzj8R— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) September 7, 2013
While things currently seem cataclysmic in Baltimore, this opens up a massive opportunity for the rookie out of Georgia to not only give the Ravens production on the field, but also to help you in the virtual game.
In the fantasy world, Brown is someone you should be targeting in every league.
The undrafted free agent had an electrifying preseason, pulling down 10 catches for 169 yards and two scores—including four for 59 and a touchdown in the "dress rehearsal" Week 3—to establish himself as Baltimore's clear No. 3 on the outside.
When Jones went out on Thursday, Brown continued that success, grabbing four of his six targets for a healthy 65 yards and a touchdown. Moreover, on the two incompletions, Flacco took deep shots to the rookie, suggesting an already healthy trust between the two.
I was all aboard the Brown sleeper train before the season started (proof), and Jones' injury only kicks it into the next gear.
It doesn't always take a lot to make a fantasy sleeper. A healthy number of snaps in a good offense is all it takes, and Brown is headed for exactly that, as Bleacher Report's Will Carroll pointed out:
If Jacoby Jones is out for any period of time, Marlon Brown looks like he picks up a lot of the targets.— Will Carroll (@injuryexpert) September 6, 2013
How many catches do you think Marlon Brown will record over the next four weeks?
Brandon Stokley (10 targets on Thursday) is more of a slot option, tight end Ed Dickson had just one catch (and a slew of drops) on five targets and Dallas Clark (seven catches on 12 targets) also showed a case of the dropsies.
While sometimes these guys will surpass Brown in looks, none of them offer anything close to the same upside, and none of them represent any type of danger to Brown's playing time and production.
Flacco isn't going to throw 62 times per game, and Brown is still an undrafted free agent who will experience some inconsistency, so you're going to have to temper your expectations.
But Brown, who is 6'5" with athleticism, is now the clear starter opposite Smith in an offense where the quarterback can air it out with the best of them.
He's an impressive talent who will get plenty of chances to produce, and that deserves a roster spot, even if it's just on your bench for now.