Antonio Brown isn't just good enough to be the top Fantasy receiver, he's good enough to be the No. 1 overall pick. In his past 41 games with the Steelers, Brown has posted 10-plus Fantasy points 30 times. His consistency along with the immense number of targets and catches make him an appealing choice. They don't come much safer in Fantasy Football. If there's a negative it's that his numbers really stunk without Ben Roethlisberger under center, and Big Ben is typically an injury risk for a couple of games per season. Other than that, he's a matchup-proof wideout capable of a great game every week. He's worth the No. 1 overall pick in PPR leagues and a top-five pick (if not No. 1 overall) in non-PPR formats.
Brown agreed Tuesday to restructure his contract, increasing his 2016 pay from $6.25 million to $10.25 million, NFL.com reports. The Steelers presumably converted $4 million of Brown's 2017 base salary into a signing bonus that will be paid either immediately or throughout the 2016 season. With 2017 standing as the final year of Brown's deal, Tuesday's move earned the Steelers some goodwill as they prepare to negotiate a massive extension with Brown next offseason. The 28-year-old is a mover than viable candidate to lead the NFL in receptions for a third straight year, especially with teammates Le'Veon Bell (suspension) and Ladarius Green (ankle) ruled out for the beginning of the season.
Brown is among the Steelers' key players not slated to play in Thursday's preseason finale against the Panthers. The same applies to fellow starting wideout Markus Wheaton, which sets the stage for the team's secondary options at the position to jostle for depth slotting in Thursday's contest.
Brown caught four passes for 87 yards and a touchdown on four targets in Friday's preseason game against the Saints. Brown and Ben Roethlisberger played for the first time all preseason, leading the Steelers to 14 points on their first two drives. The second series was capped off by a perfect deep ball from Roethlisberger to Brown, who then outraced the defense for a 57-yard touchdown. With Le'Veon Bell (suspension) out for the first three weeks and Ladarius Green (ankle) perhaps joining him, Brown could be even busier than usual during the early part of the season, playing on a Martavis Bryant-less Pittsburgh offense.
Brown will not play in Thursday's preseason game against the Eagles, Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. Brown, Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams will all be held out as a precautionary measure for the second straight week. Brown will probably make a brief appearance in Pittsburgh's third exhibition, but that may be the extent of his involvement this preseason. With Martavis Bryant (suspension) out for the year and both Le'Veon Bell (suspension) and Ladarius Green (ankle/concussion) uncertain for the early part of the season, Brown could be in line for massive September workload.
Brown, who is said to be hopeful that his contract situation will be addressed before the start of the season, will report to training camp Thursday, ESPN.com reports. Brown, who is coming off a fantasy-friendly 136-catch season in 2015, is scheduled to earn $6.25 million in base salary this coming season and $8.71 million in 2017. That's something of a bargain, compared to the salaries other top NFL wideouts haul in, but at this stage, there's nothing to suggest that he plans to engineer any sort of holdout. That's certainly good news for the Steelers, with fellow key wideout Martavis Bryant set to serve a one-year suspension and star running back Le'Veon Bell potentially facing a four-game suspension to start the coming campaign. In any case, a healthy Brown remains QB Ben Roethlisberger's top target and sits atop most fantasy wideout cheat sheets.
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|4||10/03||Kansas City Chiefs||16||22.00|
|5||10/09||New York Jets||31||35.00|
|7||10/23||New England Patriots||21||24.00|
|13||12/04||New York Giants||9||18.00|
|3 Year Avg||180||125||1677||10||79||13.42||230|