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John Brown Week 5 Injury Update: Should I start him in fantasy?
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 06: John Brown #15 of the Buffalo Bills runs out of the grasp of Malcolm Butler #21 of the Tennessee Titans during the first half at Nissan Stadium on October 06, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Fantasy Football

John Brown Week 5 Injury Update: Should I start him in fantasy?

Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown sees a Week 5 injury put his playing status suddenly in doubt. The seventh-year pro has not logged a full practice this week while reaggravating a calf injury suffered in Week 3. This injury held him out of the second half of that contest, and while he was able to play through the pain in Week 4, an issue during practice has fantasy football players nervous.

Update: John Brown is inactive for the Week 5 matchup against the Tennessee Titans

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What is John Brown’s injury status heading into Week 5?

John Brown could not complete the Bills Week 3 win against the Los Angeles Rams, sitting out the second half with a calf injury. However, the injury was not serious enough to hold him out of action in Week 4 when the Bills traveled to Las Vegas to play the Raiders. Brown handled a full workload playing 52 snaps, accounting for 85% of possible offensive plays. The game ended in a 30-23 Bills victory, and Brown was unscathed.

Related | Who do I start in fantasy football in Week 5? Who do I avoid?

Now practice reports from the Bills have fantasy managers questioning his availability for the Bills Week 5 game against the Tennessee Titans. Brown did not participate in Wednesday’s session, which was not entirely alarming as coaches will use that day to rest players working themselves through an injury.

Then on Thursday, news came that Brown had reaggravated his calf injury in that day’s practice. The Bills game has been postponed to Tuesday, and their Friday practice was canceled likely as a result. This cancellation meant that when injury reports were updated on Friday, the Bills had essentially carbon-copied their participation report from the day prior. So now, on paper Brown has been a limited participant two days in a row, and while things could be getting better, they could just as easily be trending worse.

Update: John Brown is inactive for the Week 5 matchup against the Tennessee Titans

Was John Brown hampered by injury in Week 4?

In Week 4, with the then 3-0 Bills set to take on the 2-1 Raiders, John Brown followed a similar practice regimen to this week. He missed Wednesday’s practice, returned in a limited capacity on Thursday, before ultimately being a full participant on Friday.

That type of ramp-up is exactly what fantasy managers love to see when dealing with an injured player. When Brown took the field, he may have still been feeling the injury, but it did not show up against a Raiders team that had only allowed one TD to wide receivers before the contest.

Related | Raheem Mostert Fantasy Injury Update: Should I be concerned in Week 5?

On Sunday, Brown managed only four receptions on five targets for 42 yards, all low marks for him this season through a complete game played. However, box score scouting does not fully explain the day he had. Nearing the end of the third quarter with the Bills in the redzone, quarterback Josh Allen hit Brown directly on the Raiders goalline. But, Brown was tackled and called down at the 1-yard line. Buffalo challenged the call, and every football fan’s favorite game ensued: What is a catch?

Brown clearly has the football over the plane, but the review became all about when he had full control and/or possession. Since the video could not distinguish the exact moment when Brown fully accepted the ball into his hands, heart, and soul, the ruling on the field was upheld, and fantasy players were robbed of 6.1 points and a general sense of a far better day from a production standpoint.

Since there was not sufficient evidence to overturn, it stands to reason that if the call on the field went the other way, we would be talking about Brown’s third double-digit PPR game.

John Brown’s Week 5 Fantasy Outlook

Update: John Brown is inactive for the Week 5 matchup against the Tennessee Titans

If the injury were not a concern, John Brown would have quite the beneficial fantasy matchup this week. The Titans are, on average, giving up the 12th most PPR points to opposing WRs. In Week 1, Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick had a tough time breaking out, and neither scored double-digit points.

Come Week 2, both DJ Chark (12.4) and Keelan Cole (17.8) fared well. Then Week 3 against the Vikings, Adam Thielen found paydirt on his way to 11.9 receiving fantasy points while rookie (and RAS darling) Justin Jefferson utilized his speed to break out for 175 yards on seven receptions and a score en route to 30.5 PPR points.

Brown’s speed and role put him on a similar footing to the days that Chark and Jefferson produced. Running across from Stefon Diggs could give this defense fits leading to big numbers for both men. Still, a midweek setback, combined with the game being postponed to Tuesday, and you would be playing with fire if you plan to start Brown in your lineup and he misses the contest.

If Brown and the Bills offense is your best option and you’re looking to get some points from them, having Gabriel Davis as a backup plan is necessary. In filling in for Brown against the Rams, Davis had four catches for 81 yards and had a 26-yard touchdown on a nifty leak concept against the Raiders. Furthermore, with a quick turnaround in Week 6 against Kansas City, Brown could miss two games if he cannot suit up on Tuesday.

Andrew Thomas Jordan is an editor and analyst for Pro Football Network covering fantasy football: dynasty, redraft, best ball, DFS, and more. You can follow him @The_ATJ on Twitter and hear him weekly as co-host of The Fantasy Force Podcast.

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