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Spotlight: Kenny Britt

posted by Mike Brown on Aug 14th


Mike Brown's thoughts

To say that Kenny Britt is enigmatic is one of the bigger understatements of the 2011 season. Sometimes, a player is labeled as such unfairly. Sometimes, he's called mercurial. In the case of Britt, he appears to be just plain trouble. Six arrests since 2009 lend credence to the notion that he just doesn't know how to behave himself and that this isn't an isolated incident or two. A reckless driving charge can be chalked up to immaturity. But six arrests is more than enough to sense a pattern developing.

The reason we start off with Britt's off field issues is because they are going to start directly impacting his on-field stats, likely as soon as this season. After getting into this much trouble, one has to wonder when Commissioner Roger Goodell is going to step in and say that enough is enough. Britt is likely looking at a suspension of some sort, so no matter what you think of his talent, you should adjust your projections for him accordingly.

But about that talent...

Britt has shown his first two seasons that he is capable of some outrageous statistics when he's actually on the field. He had an excellent rookie season, with 701 receiving yards despite a ho-hum Tennessee passing game and despite Britt having five games of either zero or one catch. Included in his ledger were two 100-yard games (both of which were seven catch performances) and a stretch in the middle of the season where he caught touchdowns in three straight games. In 2010, he was even better. Despite only contributing to ten games, he matched the reception total from his rookie year and scored a whopping nine touchdowns. If you look at the games he started and finished, there were only two instances where he failed to record at least eight fantasy points, picking up either a touchdown or 100 yards in nearly every game he was in.

But one week after his breakout performance, he had to leave with a hamstring injury on his first target of the game. He had entered the season on a sour note with conditioning problems, and those resurfaced with the hamstring issue. He also left the Week 17 game with a groin injury. Britt seemed like he wasn't taking the game seriously enough, yet remained in the eyes of fantasy owners because he still had enough ability to produce as a top-flight player when he was in there. Fast forward to the current preseason, and those conditioning issues are still present. The team didn't know what Britt was doing to stay in shape early in the offseason, and lately he has been spending a lot of time in the trainer's room having his hamstring taken care of. He has been missing valuable reps with the new offense and quarterback, and so far it seems to be a repeat of 2010.

Positives

  • Britt is extremely talented, evidenced by last year when he came into camp out of shape but still managed to put up excellent stats when in the lineup. The former first round pick certainly has the ability to succeed as a premiere NFL receiver.
  • He was a touchdown and deep threat machine a year ago, despite not really having a ton of talent around him taking pressure off. The Titans didn't add a ton of weapons or anything, but it shows that Britt may be the rare talent who is able to perform regardless of the situation around him.
  • Because of his semi-regular issues off the field, he provides a bona fide number one receiver at a steep discount. While the Vincent Jacksons and DeSean Jacksons of the world get taken several rounds earlier, Britt is being selected as the 26th receiver off the board on average. Yet he could produce just as much as them when he's out there.

Negatives

  • It goes without saying that Britt has had more than his share of off-field problems. Multiple arrests, questionable work ethic, and attitude problems have made a lot of people wonder whether Britt is mature enough to succeed at this level. He could be facing a suspension as soon as this season for his multiple off-the-field issues.
  • The Tennessee quarterback situation wasn't great a year ago and Britt still performed, but it's looking dicey once again. Instead of Kerry Collins throwing him passes, it'll be Matt Hasselbeck. It's a slight upgrade, but it's kind of like going from Bea Arthur to Joan Rivers.
  • An inordinately large percentage of Britt's production came in one game. In Week 7 against the Eagles, he caught seven passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns. I would never suggest throwing a game out, but it should be noted that in his other eleven games (including the injury games), Britt caught just 35 passes for 550 yards and six scores.

Final thoughts

One of the "positives" about Britt is that he is always either in trouble or injured, and therefore provides a nice discount. That's pretty much all you need to know about my opinion of him. If the off-field issues were things like an isolated bar fight or yelling at his coach, you could at least say he's a fiery competitor or a typical prima donna receiver. But when the issues start to trend like they have, you've got to be worried. Britt has been arrested a half-dozen times in a little over two years, and shows no signs of slowing down. In addition to all of the legal trouble, he's spending a good deal of time in the trainer's room with injuries. Considering his conditioning has never been a strong suit, it just throws up yet another red flag on an already-checkered history. Can Britt break out for a 1,000 yard, 10-touchdown campaign? Based on talent, certainly. But will he be on the field enough to accumulate those totals? Probably not. He's likely facing a suspension after so many arrests, and his injury history suggests he'll likely miss some time there as well. Put it all together and you've got an underachiever who appears to believe he is above the law. And for what, ten games? Maybe twelve if you're lucky? He's definitely worth a shot if he falls exceptionally late in your draft, because he's got the talent to be a top receiver. But he likely won't fall exceptionally late. Because of that talent, you'll have to pull the trigger earlier than normal for a guy with so many red flags. Reason being, a lot of other owners out there will also be drooling at the opportunity to draft a WR1 in the middle rounds of your draft -- so you need to jump the gun well ahead of usual. The problem is, Britt could have trouble living up to his draft slot no matter where he's taken. If you struggle to land a quality wideout in the first few rounds of your draft, Britt may be your guy. But if you surround your team with solid options, it might be best to leave this headache for someone else.


Quotations from the message board thread

To view the entire Player Spotlight thread (there's a ton of fantastic commentary in there), click here.

LHUCKS said:

Kenny Britt is THE value play at WR this year, not just one of the value plays, THE value play.

In his last healthy game he had 225 yards and three TDs...that's one game. He scored a TD in each of his last 6 healthy games.

Let me repeat that...his last healthy game he had 225 yards and three TDs. He scored a TD in each of his last 6 healthy games.

His YPC is a sick 17.6.

He accomplished all of that with garbage at QB.

With Hasselbeck at the helm I foresee a breakout year for this kid.

wiscstlatlmia said:

I love where you can get Britt at this time. His ADP is very low for the type of talent he is. Missing the first few weeks isn't a big deal because you do not have to even draft him as your WR1 or WR2. So he can sit on your bench for a few weeks, then when he comes back you can prepare for WR1 numbers for the rest of the way. He has a competent QB this year and if you saw any of him last year, you know what type of numbers he can put up any given week.

Iwannabeacowboybaby! said:

Kenny Britt is a very talented WR on the field but his antics off the field are what scares owners when drafting. There's a cloud of uncertainty that hangs around Kenny Britt since he could be suspended by the commissioner, he'll have a new QB throwing him the ball who tends to have back issues, and there's the old addage that a leopard doesn't change his spots. He could very well add to his problems any given day, nobody would be surprised if we saw another Kenny Britt story about how he got in trouble before the season started.

He has proven to be a talented WR and fantasy force in given situations for the Titans. Britt is a guy to tag and keep a close eye on his situation. The closer the season gets, if nothing has happened to Britt then he'll be worthy of taking a shot on him later in your drafts.


Kenny Britt projections

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