Running backs might be as popular as ever and receivers might not score as many points as they used to, but elite talents like Antonio Brown simply cannot be ignored. Over his past four seasons, Brown has posted 10 or more Fantasy points in 70 percent of his games and finished as a top-three Fantasy receiver every year. No other receiver can say they've done that. Even as the Steelers' receiving corps gets deeper, Brown's ability to run perfect routes and break away from defenders while getting a steady diet of catches keeps him atop the rankings. Bank on him being the first receiver taken on Draft Day, as soon as No. 4 overall in PPR leagues and No. 5 overall in non-PPR formats.
Brown restructured his contract Wednesday to facilitate more cap space for the Steelers in 2018, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. Brown opted for the standard base-to-bonus restructure that teams use to push the cap charges for their top players into future years. The move frees up some room for the team to cover Le'Veon Bell's franchise tag, but it won't make negotiations on a long-term deal with the running back any easier. Even with the restructure, Brown still owns the top contract among NFL wideouts in terms of average annual value, a deserved reward after a 2017 campaign in which he caught 101 of 162 targets for a league-leading 1,533 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games. His late-season calf injury is a non-concern after Brown caught seven passes for 132 yards and two scores in the Steelers' lone playoff game before taking part in the Pro Bowl on Jan. 28. Injuries to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger are the only thing that has been able to slow Brown's production at any point during the past five seasons.
Brown totaled 132 yards and two touchdowns on seven receptions in Sunday's 45-42 AFC divisional-round loss to Jacksonville. Targeted 11 times, Brown showed no signs of the calf injury he suffered in Week 15, scoring Pittsburgh's first touchdown of the game. He added his second score on an incredible fourth-down catch as he fell backwards in the end zone. Given his outstanding performance this season, there's no reason to think that Brown won't continue to be among the league's elite wide receivers in 2018.
Brown (calf/illness) is listed as active for Sunday's divisional-round playoff game against the Jaguars, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. He'll give it a go, as expected, but Schefter also reports that Brown's calf -- which he injured on Dec. 17 -- is "not close to 100 percent" at this stage. Moreover, cold weather at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field on Sunday is another variable that could impact Brown, who is bouncing back from a partially torn left calf muscle. The wideout's mere presence on the field will give the Jaguars coaching staff something to think about, but it remains to be seen how effective the NFL's regular-season leader in receiving yardage (1,533 in 14 games) will be in his return to action after missing the Steelers' last two games. If Brown ends up limited at all Sunday, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Martavis Bryant would be in line for added looks, though Jacksonville's tough pass defense could lead to a heavy dose of running back Le'Veon Bell, in any case.
Brown (calf/illness), who is listed as questionable for Sunday's divisional-round matchup with the Jaguars, is expected to "give it a go" and play, though his partially torn left calf muscle is "not close to 100 percent," a source informed Adam Schefter of ESPN. Nearly one month removed from the injury he suffered Dec. 17 in a Week 15 loss to the Patriots, Brown was able to put in two full practices this week before sitting out Friday's session with an illness. The ailment isn't expected to present any issues Sunday, but the Steelers are still harboring some concerns about Brown's calf holding up in the cold weather at Heinz Field. The team will evaluate Brown during warmups, but unless the calf presents serious problems as he takes part in pregame drills, it's expected that the wideout will suit up and take on a normal workload. Despite missing Pittsburgh's final two regular-season tilts, Brown finished the 2017 campaign as the NFL's leading receiver with 1,533 yards.
Brown (calf/illness) is listed as questionable for Sunday's playoff game against the Jaguars after missing Friday's practice because he was under the weather. Just when it appeared that Brown was past the partially torn left calf muscle that he suffered on Dec. 17, after practicing fully both Wednesday and Thursday, an illness prevented the wideout from working Friday, with coach Mike Tomlin sending Brown home for the day, per Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com. Despite Brown's absence from the Steelers' last practice of the week, Tomlin expects his star pass-catcher to play this weekend, an outcome that will be confirmed, either way, upon the release of the team's inactives in advance of Sunday's 1:05 ET kickoff.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/16||Kansas City Chiefs||30||23.35|
|3||09/25||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||31||23.75|
|13||12/02||Los Angeles Chargers||7||17.00|
|15||12/16||New England Patriots||27||22.58|
|16||12/23||@New Orleans Saints||20||20.00|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||170||114||1550||10||73||13.60||216|