Don’t Sleep on Mr. Big Chest: The case to draft Antonio Brown

By Matthew Walters

What do Adrian Peterson, Josh Reynolds, Gerald Everett, and Steven Sims all have in common? These are the four players who sandwich Antonio Brown in Average Draft Position (ADP)  heading into the 2020 season.

Antonio Brown is currently at an ADP of 210, according to My Fantasy League’s ADP report. How crazy is it that one of the top wide receivers from the past 7 years in football is currently being drafted one spot ahead of Josh Reynolds. There is no reason not to like Josh Reynolds as a person, but there is no world in which he is on par with Antonio Brown. The same can be said for Gerald Everett, Steven Sims, and even Adrian Peterson at this point in his career.

Excluding the 2019 season, in which Antonio Brown put up 14.1 fantasy points with half points per reception (PPR) scoring in his lone game of the year, he has not had below 254 half PPR fantasy points since 2013. Using Antonio Brown’s lowest score from the past 7 years would have made him the wide receiver 2 last year.  That is right, not a WR2, but THE WR2. The only wide receiver that would have outscored the 254 half PPR points was Michael Thomas. Antonio Brown would have been ahead of Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, and Deandre Hopkins. 

Now, this is not to say that there is not a good reason Antonio Brown is going so late in drafts. He is not even on a team right now. We have no idea where he will end up, or will he be signed by any team going into next year. There have been rumblings throughout the offseason of possible landing spots, but those have just been rumors. Brown also pleaded no contest to his burglary and battery charges. He has been ordered to serve 2 years of probation and complete 100 hours of community service. This most likely means that even if he is signed, he will have to serve a suspension. 

He will also be 32 at the start of the season. This is typically an age that we see receivers start to putter off into the distance as they finish their career. The good news is Brown does not have an extensive injury history. There is no basis to believe that his body is breaking down or that he is prone to injury. He has only missed 7 games during his 10-year career due to injury. 

Antonio Brown is absolutely worth the risk of drafting him in the last couple of rounds of a best-ball league or late in a startup dynasty draft even if he never plays football again. What other player drafted in the 14+ round range that has the potential to be a 250 point fantasy scorer? The answer is none, at the very least, none who have shown the ability to do it. 

At the end of the day, drafting Antonio Brown is a personal choice. Choosing to stay away from him due to his off the field issues and since he may never suit up again is entirely understandable. However, if the goal is to win the fantasy championship, then there is only one person going late in drafts with the known upside to earn you a championship. 

That player is Antonio Brown.

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