A.J. Green, one of the stars of the NFL is entering father time. He is now 31 years old, currently sidelined with another injury, this time ankle. So, it begs the question, how much does AJ Green have left in the tank?
I’m very fond of A.J. Green, I have regularly taken him 2nd round of redrafts and have frequently been a very happy owner until he inevitably gets injured again (Green has missed 13 games over the past 3 seasons).
In my 12 team home dynasty league (shout out to David St), I acquired A.J. Green in the off-season. For what I thought to be a steal, 2020 late first, 2020 late 3rd and Adam Humphries for A.J. Green, 2021 early to mid 2nd and a 2022 early to mid 2nd.
Obviously, the presumption of whether they are early or late picks is based on 2018 standings and perceived team strength. I am a huge advocate of trading late firsts if you’re a contender for peoples 2nd’s + player. But any way, enough about strategy, will save that for another time, we are talking about A.J. Green.
80 Days until #NFL100
— NFL (@NFL) June 17, 2019
The man can play football.
Even in his rookie season, Green has been simply colossal when fit. Putting up huge numbers whenever he is on the field. Simply put, A.J. Green has been a stud.
Green despite his stud status and being the Bengals main target has never had a 100-reception season. He has however put up six 1,000 yard seasons. Impressively, he averages 7.8 touchdowns a season, this would also be much higher if he hasn’t been injury prone recently.
Injuries limited Green to a career low 9 games last season, we’re not going to see him play a full season in 2019 either. Green underwent ankle surgery in July, most plaudits are tipping a round 3-4 return date for Green, missing several games.
His value has taken a hit with this latest injury, in redraft and dynasty leagues.
Let’s look further into his injury history.
2011 – Hyperextended knee, games missed 1
2012 – Full season
2013 – Full season
2014 – Toe injury, games missed 3
– Concussion, games missed 1 (wild card round play-off loss)
2015 – Full season
2016 – Hamstring tear, games missed 6
2017 – Full season
2018 – Toe injury, games missed 3
– Toe injury aggravated, games missed 4
Notes, 2014 Green suffered ‘something like turf toe’ in the season opener. He managed to play through it, but played just 6 snaps the following week. In total Green has missed 10 games in his career due to this ‘lingering’ toe injury, and basically missed the entirety of another.
Green has a 50% rate of playing a full 16 game season (soon to be 44%). I presumed Green would have missed more games in 2017 and 2015 if anyone asked me at the top of my head before I researched for this article. So, I was pleasantly surprised to see he has played two full seasons in the last 4 years.
As a Green owner, I am worried about his toe injury which has been present effectively for 5 years now (missing games in 2014, 2019).
AJ Green non-contact foot injury pic.twitter.com/gGrl7QwYDt
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) December 2, 2018
Will this toe injury continue to linger and affect Green?
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 4, 2018
— David J. Chao (@ProFootballDoc) August 31, 2019
Around round 4 is Greens expected return
Greens rookie season where he missed one game saw him finish as WR15 in PPR fantasy leagues.
In Greens sophomore season, he finished as the WR3, averaging 19.7 points per game.
2013 saw another lofty finish for Green, ending up as the WR4, averaging 19.4 PPG. In his first three seasons A.J. Green was nothing short of a fantasy stud, back to back seasons averaging over 19 PPG!
2014 where Green missed 4 games, he finished as WR23. On a per game basis this jumped to WR14, with 15.9 PPG.
2015 Green had another bumper season, finishing as WR8, averaging 17.3 PPG.
As stated previously, 2016 was an injury plagued year for Green. Despite this, he still managed to finish in the top 30 at WR27. When fit he managed to average a stellar 18.6 PPG. Green was on track fora whopping 1,542 yard season. If he played a full season he would have been on pace to finish as the 5th highest scoring WR!
2017 saw Green have his worst fantasy finish after playing a full season. He still finished in the top 10, scraping in as the WR10. Green PPG was down though on previous seasons, averaging 14.9 PPG.
2018 saw Green have his most injury riddled season of his future Hall of Fame career. He finished a lowly ranked 37 in the WR rankings. He still put up numbers when fit though as his 16.6 PPG attests to. This would have led him to finish as the WR16 if he remained fit.
— NFL (@NFL) July 31, 2018
We’ve seen what he can do under 30, now what can he do 31 +
When Green has played a full season he has finished no worse than WR10, this is crazy consistency. The downside is however, that has only been 4 seasons.
If Green is on the field for your roster we are going to see a consistent WR putting up stable numbers for the Bengals and your fantasy side. Green alongside with Julio Jones has been the most consistent fantasy WR this decade.
I believe Green has one more season left as putting up top 12 WR numbers when on the field. Yes, he will miss the opening to the season but when he plays you will be getting a low end WR1, high end WR2.
Due to his injury in the preseason his ADP has slipped to 58, placing him as the WR24.
This is crazy, as previously mentioned when fully fit for a season, he hasn’t finished below WR10!
I know who I would be preferring in my line up each week and it’s the man whose last name is a color.
When you get AJ Green in the 8th round pic.twitter.com/Oss5Jptjnf
— Kevin (@Godz1lla94) September 2, 2019
8th round is crazy, If Green is available after the 4th take the man!
For the 2020 season however, I am not so optimistic. I believe the inevitable ‘cliff’ will come at Green. Age catches up to everybody eventually (unless your names Tom Brady). Age, combined with the injuries will be Greens undoing. Green will be 32 then and I believe his days as a WR1/WR2 will officially be over.
He should still be a threat in the end zone due to his size and catch radius but the receptions and yards will fall significantly.
As previously mentioned I am all in Green this season for this season, he does have something left in the tank. I will thoroughly be enjoying owning the 6 ft 4 red zone freak.
So, in summation, Greens stocks in 2019 I like, Greens stocks in 2020 I dislike.
Don’t avoid Green in redraft leagues this year due to his injury or last season. Green puts up numbers when he is fit. Additionally, if the price is right, target him in dynasty if you are competing and a piece off winning.