Amon-Ra St. Brown helped win a lot of fantasy football leagues in 2021, but is a full-on breakout coming next year?
From Week 13-17, Amon-Ra St. Brown was WR2 in full and 0.5-point PPR fantasy scoring, trailing only Cooper Kupp. Any way you slice the closing stretch of the season, the Lions rookie wide receiver was a league-winning player.
Over the final six games of the season, St. Brown had 51 catches for 560 yards and five touchdowns. Tim Boyle started two of those games under center for the Lions.
Kupp proved to be the fantasy steal of the year, with an ADP just outside the top 50 overall and barely in the top-20 of wide receivers by the time the teeth of draft season was done.
So looking to the 2022 fantasy season, even this early, it’s natural to try to unearth the next Cooper Kupp. Matt Harmon of Yahoo! has made the attempt to find some candidates, with the following categories for a “Kupp outline”.
Cooper Kupp has always been good
Role and ecosystem matters
Seismic shifts change everything
Players get better
Amon-Ra St. Brown makes list of candidates to be 2022’s Cooper Kupp
Harmon has a couple clear candidates who could make the leap in 2022–Terry McLaurin and DJ Moore. Chris Godwin also made it (question marks with Godwin include a late-season torn ACL and where he ends up in free agency).
Rounding out the list…
Lastly, while he doesn’t fit into the “established veteran mold” and is unlikely to experience some sort of seismic shift while playing in Detroit’s ecosystem, it’s worth mentioning Amon-Ra St. Brown. I compared the 2021 rookie to Kupp coming into last year’s draft and once he finally earned an every-down role following a post-bye week promotion, he played a part quite similar to the Rams’ star. From an archetype perspective alone, this is the guy who could be next in line to Kupp.
In very early updated 2022 rankings over at Fantasy Pros, St. Brown is at WR39 in standard scoring and WR37 in full PPR (WR34 in 0.5 PPR). WR3 range feels like an underestimation, solely based on the expectation his late-season target share will fall. But if the Lions upgrade the depth chart around him, and have TJ Hockenson and D’Andre Swift healthy, the quality and overall volume of opportunities would go up.
A fully-fleshed breakout into the top tier of fantasy receivers may have to wait until Year 3 for St. Brown. But there’s an above-zero percent chance he does it in 2022, even if replicating Kupp’s 2021 campaign is patently unlikely for anyone.