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What to do with Antonio Brown?

Written by Andrew Heidemann

October 31, 2020

If you have the space on your roster pick him up! But I’m sure you’re now wondering, “Andy, what can I expect from Antonio Brown after his stint as a crazy insane man?” Well, I’ll tell you. I’m going to take you through his career step by step and then we will delve into the average fantasy wide receiver career length and production. I’ll wrap by telling you all how fucking good Tom Brady is. You’ll all hate it but I won’t and it’s my article so deal with it. (Scroll to the bottom for TL;DR)

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In 2010 the Pittsburg Steelers drafted Antonio Brown in the 6th round of the rookie draft. Other names you may know selected before AB? Demaryius Thomas, Dez Bryant, Golden Tate, Emmanuel Sanders and Eric Decker. Big names for sure but none of them are close to what Antonio Brown would become. Browns first season with the Steelers was about what you could expect from a 6th round wide out. He was thrown the ball just 27 times but made the best of what he got catching 21 of them. Small sample size but it would be his highest catch percentage of his career at 77.8%. In his year two with Pittsburg, Brown started making waves. No, not the dive filled drama kind of waves. He was making an impact on the field. He would be targeted a whopping 127 times. This would be his first season in the league with over 1000 yards receiving, a sneaky preview of what was soon to be the regular for the young man.

After seeing what Brown could do in his 2nd year the Steelers decided it was time to put more on his plate. He didn’t quite deliver though as he only caught 66 passes and came up with 787 yards. People quickly began to label brown a 1 year wonder. A guy who could fill your offense and be an excellent number 2 guy. This didn’t sit well with Brown but if it wasn’t for his teammates you would never know. At this point in his career Brown was a humble guy, letting his work do the talking. In 2013, the breakout began.

In the 2013 season through the 2018 season, Antonio Brown would explode:

  • 1026 targets
  • 686 receptions
  • 67% catch rate
  • 9145 yards
  • 67 touchdowns

This was just football dominance at its finest, plain and simple. Football dominance is great but it’s even better if you had him in fantasy. Throughout that time span, ABs fantasy finishes were; 2, 1, 1, 1, 2, 5. That’s a baller baby.

After the 2018 season though, Brown began acting out towards his teammates and coaches and demanded a trade. His wish was granted as the Steelers traded the launch codes to the Oakland Raiders. As excited as Brown seemed at the initial time of the transaction, it would soon become apparent that he did not want to play there. Antics from helmet complaints to freezing his own feet in a cryo rehab machine. As Oakland grew tired of ABs burden they cut him loose. He would never take a real snap in a Raiders uniform. At this point, Brown was a free agent. A super stars wildest dream. To no ones surprise, there was one team in particular that cam knocking; the New England Patriots.

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Everyone thought the NFL season was over. No way would anyone survive a Patriots team with Tom Brady AND Antonio Brown. The stats after Browns first game with New England would actually prove everyone right. He had 4 days to prepare with one of the leagues toughest and most complicated offenses. If he was successful then daddy Belichick would let him play, and play he did. With short prep he was still a monster force. 8 targets, 4 receptions, 56 yards and 1 TD. I’d like to write a happy ending here but unfortunately, during this time AB was accused of sexual misconduct, witness intimidation and to top it all off, he insulted the patriots GM publicly on twitter. He was shortly cut from the team. The 2019 season came to and end and eventually the NFL acted and dished out an 8 game suspension for Brown.

Okay, okay, now you’ve got the story. I know, it might have been boring but I promise you it will all be worth it! The 8 game suspension that Brown was given is about to come to a close and he was recently signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, lead by who else than Tom fucking Brady. Reunited and it feels so good. Well, feels so good if you’re a Brown owner. To have a stretch of dominance like AB had and to pair it with the greatest quarterback of all time is basically cheating. We’ve seen them partner up before and it made the game look all too easy.

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This was long. I know it was. I love Antonio Brown the football player, what can I say?

Here is the TL;DR:

  • Averages 171 targets, 114 receptions, 1535 yards and 12 TDs a year in his most dominant 6 year run
  • He is so cheap right now compared to his prime time value it’s crazy
  • He was a crazy man but has been quiet for several months and is ready to win a ring

So here’s the deal, I’m going to tell you what to do about him in your fantasy league. You’re going to sign him if he’s a free agent. You’re going to pay upwards of 50% FAAB to get him in your acquisition budget leagues. If someone else has him are you going to pout? No, you’re going to go out and trade for this man. He is a a football machine, paired with the greatest QB of all time on a high powered offense and he could be a league WINNER. Go out there and win baby.

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