If you own Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers on your fantasy team, there is a strong chance that he is your no. 1 wide receiver. Brown is seventh among wide receivers in standard scoring leagues with 142 fantasy points this season, outscoring guys like Dez Bryant, Andre Johnson, Vincent Jackson and Victor Cruz.
Given Brown’s success this season, it would seem obvious that in the first week of fantasy playoffs for most leagues, he would be a guy considered a must-start. However, I think it may be wise to leave him on the bench.
There have been five games this season in which Brown scored double-digit fantasy points, and in those five games, he scored a combined 95 fantasy points. If you had Brown in your starting lineup for any of those games, you were certainly happy with him. The Steelers have played seven other games though. In those games, Brown averaged just 6.7 fantasy points, and he’s had three games this season with five fantasy points, including last week against the Baltimore Ravens.
This week, the Steelers take on the Miami Dolphins, who have been excellent against wide receivers this season. They have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers (not individual receivers, the entire group of receivers on the opposing team) this year at just 12.6. They have allowed just one touchdown to a wide receiver all season, and they have given up the sixth-fewest yards to receivers as well.
While the Dolphins’ defense is very strong against the pass, it’s also very weak against the run. The Dolphins have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, the eighth-most rushing touchdowns this season, and backs are gaining 4.3 yards per carry against them. The formula to beat the Dolphins is to pound the football on the ground and to minimize mistakes through the air.
Listen, Brown has been a fantasy star all season long. If you’re in the fantasy playoffs, chances are Brown was an instrumental part of getting you there. It can be tough to put a guy like him on the bench, and if you choose not too, I understand. Just be warned — not even fantasy stars put up great numbers every week, and a matchup against the Dolphins has all the ingredients for a dull game from Brown.