2014 Fantasy Football: A Second Read On WR Antonio Brown

By Sean Cordy
Antonio Brown
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

This advice may seem counter intuitive, but I really think fantasy football GMs should take a step back before drafting Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown.

Looking at his stats from last season, you can tell he’s a real threat in fantasy football. His campaign of 199 points was seventh best in the league among wide receivers, and only Josh Gordon scored more points in the latter half of the 2013 season. His average draft position among wideouts reflects that, as he’s typically the eighth off the board. But I’m actually surprised more people aren’t drafting him higher.

During his time in Pittsburgh, Brown has had to deal with Ben Roethlisberger also dispersing targets to Emmanuel Sanders and Jericho Cotchery, both of whom are with different teams now. That leads many to believe Brown’s targets will go up even more, and in turn, his receptions and fantasy output. But to increase either of those stats is a tall task, and I’m not entirely sure he can improve those figures.

Think about it this way. He’s the sole focus of the passing game now. Teams will now be locking down on him even more than before. He’ll be double-teamed more often, and in the AFC North, he’ll have six dangerous games that could really shut him down. Aside from Calvin Johnson, not many WRs can be the main focus of an offense and actually carry the load. Maybe Markus Wheaton and Lance Moore can be enough of a distraction, but they certainly aren’t the duo that Sanders and Cotchery comprised of.

As he is a two-time Pro Bowler, and has had fantasy success in the past, it’s hard to completely write him off. He’ll be a good option, no doubt. But beware that he may not be the selection people are pegging him as at the eighth wide receiver spot. If he drops from the second round, he’s a good pick. But I’m not entirely comfortable picking him in the second round like he is in average mock drafts because his new spotlight may be too much heat for him to handle.

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