Bryant was never under consideration of being cut by the Steelers despite his recently imposed year-long suspension, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. Bryant's multiple violations of the league's substance abuse policy triggered a minimum one-year suspension from the league, but the Steelers never considered releasing him, according to general manager Kevin Colbert. Instead, Pittsburgh will hope Bryant makes the necessary changes to his life to get reinstated next year, when he would have two years remaining on his contract with the team. With Bryant suspended, Steelers receivers Markus Wheaton and, more specifically, Sammie Coates, will be looked upon to take advantage of their increased opportunities this season.
Bryant has accepted his one-year suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy and will begin serving the suspension immediately, Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post reports. Bryant's suspension was initially reported over the weekend, but came with mention of Bryant's plan to appeal the ruling. Now, it appears the Steelers' talented yet troubled wideout has accepted his punishment, which will keep him out of the league for a calendar year. Bryant was suspended for the first four games of last season due to a similar violation, so the Steelers have experience playing without him, a reality that could benefit the fantasy stocks of Markus Wheaton and Sammie Coates this season.
Bryant is facing a year-long suspension due to violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, DKPittsburghSports.com's Dejan Koacevic reports. It's a crushing blow to Pittsburgh, as well as Bryant's career, but unfortunately less than surprising. Bryant served a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy to start the 2015 season, and character questions were the only reason the incredibly talented Bryant fell to the fourth round of the 2014 draft. If Bryant indeed misses the 2016 season it should result in another historic campaign for Antonio Brown while granting bigger usage opportunities for the likes of Ladarius Green, Markus Wheaton and Sammie Coates.
Bryant had a team high nine catches for 154 yards, and ran twice for 40 yards in the Steelers' loss to the Broncos on Sunday. With Antonio Brown (concussion) inactive, Pittsburgh leaned heavily on Bryant, who was targeted 15 times and totaled 194 yards from scrimmage. Bryant finished the regular season a distant second to Brown in terms of targets, yards and touchdowns, but still managed to haul in 50 of 92 targets for 765 yards and six touchdowns. He also ran for 37 yards on five carries. Bryant has now scored 16 touchdowns and caught 95 passes for 1,558 yards in 24 career games (regular and post season), but that means he has also missed 11 games over the past two years. If he can manage to play a full season in 2016, Bryant should easily exceed his production this season, making him a solid fantasy option in all formats.
Bryant caught 5-of-6 targets for 29 yards and a touchdown Saturday in the Steelers' win over the Bengals. Bryant also added 44 yards rushing on a spectacular end around, but his greatest highlight came on a 10-yard touchdown catch, pinning the ball on his leg then flipping over on his back as he fell out of the end zone while maintaining possession. Bryant could have an even bigger role in the Pittsburgh game plan against Denver in Week 19 with the status of Antonio Brown (concussion) uncertain.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|4||10/03||Kansas City Chiefs||20||23.44|
|5||10/09||New York Jets||18||22.75|
|7||10/23||New England Patriots||21||23.78|
|13||12/04||New York Giants||22||23.88|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||70||38||657||7||20||17.29||109|