If you’ve been playing fantasy football for any length of time, you know that Antonio Brown is one of the best receivers to own.
He has not caught less than 100 passes since 2012, has averaged 11 touchdowns per year in that span and reached 1,834 receiving yards in 2015.
Those are stupid good numbers.
Ben Roethsliberger and Antonio Brown have been a match made in fantasy heaven for several years now and it appeared that they were ready to continue their dominance moving forward…
However, recent news has come out that Brown may be on his way out in Pittsburgh.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 6, 2019
There’s much more to this story that we aren’t even aware of at this point that has caused the relationship between the Steelers and Brown to sour, but it is looking likely that he will be wearing a different team’s colors at the start of the 2019 season.
Steelers Are Open To Trading Antonio Brown
Acknowledging the rumors, Steelers owner Art Rooney came out and said the following about Brown, per Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“We’ll look at all the options. We’re not going to release him, that’s not on the table. But I will say all other options are on the table.”
While the Steelers would be in a huge financial hole this upcoming season ($21 million in dead cap), it appears that that’s not going to be a deterrent for moving Brown, who many believe to be a cancer in that locker room.
Here's the full story on team prez Art Rooney II leaving little doubt it will be hard to bring back Antonio Brown for the 2019 season: https://t.co/JIj8IKz6l3
— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) January 10, 2019
If Brown is indeed available on the trade market, which it’s looking like he is, then there isn’t a team in need of his services.
At 31 years old, he’s still an elite wide-receiver with great hands and incredible route-running ability. He’s shown little to no decline in his skills over the past year as he finished with 104 receptions, 1297 yards and 15 touchdowns. He would be an instant contributor to any team.
It’s just a matter of determining which team would want Brown…who has a reputation for being a diva receiver and destructive when he’s not the center of attention.
A team that desperately needs wide-receiver help, has the cap space and would allow Brown to be that center of attention is the San Francisco 49ers.
And as recent news indicates…Brown wants to play there.
Brown Has His Sights Set On Joining The 49ers
The criteria seems to fit for Brown and what he desires in a place to play, plus the 49ers have a massive need for a top-end talent like Brown.
“He wants to come here really bad.”
— 95.7 The Game (@957thegame) January 14, 2019
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan and AB together would be a lethal combination for fantasy purposes. Jimmy Garappolo, assuming he comes back from his injury fully healthy, will be able to get him the ball in space and allow AB to make things happen.
The last time that Shanahan had a talent at wide-receiver like AB was in 2015. He was the Offensive Coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons when he had a player there by the name of Julio Jones…
That season, Julio reeled in 136 receptions, 1871 yards and 8 touchdowns. Which was good enough to have him finish as the #2 overall fantasy wide-receiver…behind only Antonio Brown.
If there’s any coach who could utilize Brown’s abilities and strengths, it’s Kyle Shanahan. There would be absolutely no drop-off in fantasy production from one team to the next.
Juju Smith-Schuster Becomes A Top 5 Fantasy WR
If Antonio Brown is indeed dealt from the Steelers, Juju Smith-Schuster becomes the instant beneficiary.
Even with AB on the team this year, and putting up the video-game-like numbers he did, Juju finished with 111 catches for 1426 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Love this route from JuJu Smith-Schuster.
1. Threaten inside release to get CB to open hips
2. Burst outside
3. Adjust to the ball backshoulder
4. Catch at its highest point
5. Body control, both feet in, finish
Dude is a star. pic.twitter.com/bxWsqKqzml
— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) December 12, 2018
If James Washington can step up in his sophomore season and take away some of the focus from Juju, there’s no reason to expect the production to decrease next season. It may in fact increase, which causes Juju to be in the conversation of one of the top picks in your drafts next season.
There’s a lot of potential for movement this off-season in the NFL. Stay tuned in for more breakdowns and news as players move around…