Undrafted free agent Marlon Brown is making it difficult to keep him on your fantasy football bench.
And you shouldn’t.
After two games, Brown has stepped in nicely to give Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco a much-needed complement to speedy receiver Torrey Smith. Without Dennis Pitta—lost for the season—and Jacoby Jones—out for a few weeks—he’s becoming much more than a complementary player.
In Week 2, the 6’5” receiver posed matchup problems for the shorter Cleveland Browns defenders. He also found the end zone for the second week in a row, making a nice grab across the middle of the defense and then turning upfield for the touchdown.
Flacco didn’t seem to have any reservations about targeting his new weapon, as NFL Around the League pointed out:
Ravens are giving plenty of early looks to rookie receiver Marlon Brown.— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) September 15, 2013
Overall, Brown caught four of the six passes that came in his direction against the Browns, second on the team in targets behind Smith’s 13 looks. That matches the six times Flacco looked in his direction in Week 1.
He could have had a bigger day, too, but dropped a sure touchdown reception in the first quarter. Brown took the blame for the missed opportunity, per Matt Zenitz of the Carroll County Times:
Was impressed with Marlon Brown taking the blame for his dropped TD in the first half. "I should have caught it. ... It was dropped"— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) September 15, 2013
What has been an excellent start could have been even better if the rookie was able to hold onto that early touchdown chance.
But even after the drop, Flacco trusts his receiver enough to look in his direction in the red zone. After all, his size makes him an ideal weapon on that end of the field and the Ravens don’t have many other options at this point.
If you had any reservations about Brown’s role in the Ravens offense, those should be gone after his second straight solid performance.
Moving forward, Brown should continue to be a big part of what the Ravens are trying to do offensively. Once Jones returns from his sprained MCL—likely in a month, per Pro Football Talk—it’s conceivable Brown will continue to be an integral part of the offense. By then, he’ll have had the chance to prove himself to the Ravens coaching staff and earn the trust of Flacco even more.
Let’s be honest, Jones wasn’t exactly the most consistent performer at the wide receiver position. Houston was so confident in his ability they let him walk two years ago during free agency. He rewarded the Ravens with some big plays, but was never a fantasy star.
In the meantime, Brown is worthy of FLEX and WR3 consideration in most fantasy formats. He doesn’t appear to have PPR star potential, given Flacco’s fixation with Smith, but his size makes him an ideal red-zone target—one that Flacco is beginning to trust.
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