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Philly Brown, Kelvin Benjamin’s New Wingman

phillybrown

After the last Sunday night’s game, most folks wondered if Philly Brown was really Philly Brown’s name. Philly is a nickname, his real name is Corey and Coach Jim Tressel gave him that name. He was from Philadelphia and there was another Corey Brown on his college team, so Tressel creatively called him Philly. It stuck.

But fantasy footballers were talking about him because he came out of nowhere on national television and caught seven balls for 66 yards and had more targets than Greg Olsen. He is fifth on the depth chart and hadn’t created any buzz in the preseason, so it was a big surprise to see him start, even with Jerricho Cotchery out due to injury.

So what do the Carolina Panthers coaching staff see in him that millions of people don’t?

He is a small receiver of the type that RotoViz usually doesn’t like. But that is when you are coming from the perspective of seeking WR1 upside. With Brown we are just looking to see if he will continue to be fantasy relevant at this point. He isn’t the fastest or the quickest, nor the biggest WR, but there are very usable small WRs in the NFL. Look at him compared to probably the two best small WRs in the NFL, Randall Cobb and Percy Harvin.

Name Breakout Age Height Weight 40 Time 3 Cone 20yd Shuttle 60yd Shuttle Vertical Broad
Brown 20 71 180 4.51 7.16 4.22 11.94 33 116
Harvin 19 71 192 4.39 n/a n/a n/a 37 121
Cobb 20 70 191 4.46 7.08 4.34 11.56 33 115

Does he weigh less? Yes. I have seen him listed as high as 188 though and NFL player weights do fluctuate. Is he a little slower? Yes. Although, his unofficial time at the combine was 4.37, which would make his prospects completely different. But you have to say he is comparable to Cobb even so, with Harvin probably being more athletic. Harvin is also looked at as one of the most talented players in all the NFL. If Brown is somewhat comparable to one of the league’s most talented players, then he probably has some talent too, right? For players like Cobb and Brown who should or do play the slot, it’s more about short area burst, agility, and most importantly route running, than straight line speed and Brown isn’t too bad in those areas. Wes Welker is the obvious poster child for that kind of player.

He compares closer to both Harvin and Cobb in college production than athleticism. He came into college as a running back and changed over to WR, so he had to learn, which definitely takes time. Harvin and Cobb also were not your typical WRs either. Harvin was part RB, part WR, and Cobb played quarterback his first year in college. If you look at their college heatmaps though, Brown stands up to all of them in terms of market share.

heatmap

Cobb had a ridiculous 122 targets his last season, but you can see that “Philly” still matched him in MSYARDS and MSTDs. Harvin is a little harder to compare, because he also had a ton of rushing yards and TDs, but Brown definitely compares to him in receiving numbers. Harvin and Brown also were both in option offenses, which definitely affects the receivers, especially when the QB is Tim Tebow. The one big surprise I took away from this is that as a small receiver, Brown had a very impressive 52 percent RZTDR..

I think it can be said that Philly Brown compares to Cobb more physically, but that his college production was on par with both of these players.1

We know Brown’s comparison range and this past Sunday night he played 84 percent of the snaps on offense. That was only a few less than Kelvin Benjamin and a lot more than Jason Avant. That is a lot of upside for a guy without any stiff competition for wide receiver targets, outside of Benjamin. Carolina is sorely lacking speed at WR, which makes him a perfect fit, as he’s probably the fastest guy on the team. He  probably won’t ever be a red zone monster, especially with Benjamin on the team, but he could be great in PPR leagues. Is it crazy to think he might catch four-to-five balls a game, which could be 60-80 catches in a year? He could become Moss’s Welker or Jordy’s Cobb. Mr. Benjamin’s little sidekick!

  1. Harvin really can’t totally be compared to anyone in football, in terms of what he is asked to do on the field. He is a real jack-of-all-trades and plays all over the field. He is the ceiling for all smaller WRs.  (back)

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