As if there wasn't enough to think about after the rash of injuries on display during Week 2, fantasy managers have been busy hitting the waiver wire rushing to patch up their lineups. You are now probably familiar with players like Myles Gaskin, Keelan Cole, and Dalton Schultz by now after your research this past week. But someone possibly being overlooked at this point in the season isn't even on an NFL roster currently.
The now infamous, Antonio Brown, is currently serving an 8 game suspension that may be extended at the discretion of Roger Goodell pending any new evidence against the future hall of fame receiver. But because of the rapid rate that we are seeing players go down this year, there are Super Bowl contenders that are seeing their opportunity slipping away after only two weeks of play.
Although there is no guarantee that Brown will be signed by a team this year, it may be worth the risk for some of the following teams to explore. If you're a fantasy manager that has lost someone like Courtland Sutton for the season, or that has stock in a player such as Julio Jones whose hamstring injury may keep him out of the lineup periodically throughout the season, Brown's status will be of interest to you starting around Week 6.
One of the more obvious places for Brown to go would be Denver as they have lost their star receiver, Sutton, for the season. However, it's unlikely that John Elway and Vic Fangio would sign off on bringing a personality like Brown in considering they shouldn't be competing for a playoff spot this season.
Including IR & PUP players, #49ers enter Week 3 without..... QB Jimmy Garropolo RB Raheem Mostert RB Tevin Coleman… https://t.co/T7Am7jeJr8— NFL Update (@NFL Update)1601056079.0
New Orleans is an organization that has had ties to AB in the past and Michael Thomas' status is in doubt, but due to a bit of a nasty fallout from that initial contact the two sides had, this is also a very unlikely union.
An immediate thought brings you to San Francisco as they have been among the hardest hit by the injury bug, dating back to training camps over the summer. While losing Nick Bosa for the season to a torn ACL will greatly affect their defense, the good news for the 49ers are that they are expecting both Deebo Samuel and George Kittle to return around Week 4. This would make AB an afterthought for a team still focused on running the ball.
Here are the three landing spots for Antonio Brown that I think are most likely to happen.
As Aaron Rodgers has started off the season with an efficient 604 passing yards and 6 touchdowns to 0 interceptions, we have been reminded of how good this guy has been with little talent around him. If not for running back Aaron Jones, the Packers may not have gotten off to their hot start as Davante Adams was slowed by a hamstring injury in Week 2.
Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling haven't quite risen to the occasion when given the chance to establish themselves as a second receiving option in this offense. Instead, Jones looks to be the second best reviving option for the Packers.
Detroit Lions v Green Bay Packers Getty Images
The Green Bay front office and coaching staff had taken criticism in the offseason by not adding any significant weapons for Rodgers after reaching the NFC Championship game last year. Rather, they opted to draft a quarterback and running back with their first two picks.
Adding Brown to put opposite a healthy Davante Adams would wreak havoc on opposing defenses. It would allow Aaron Jones and the play action passing game to be even more deadly, and would provide Aaron Rodgers a reliable second option. Rodgers window to win another Super Bowl is not closed, but it is getting to be a smaller opening every year. This move could be made if Green Bay feels it puts them over the top this year.
Poor Deshaun Watson and the Texans had to come into this season without Pro Bowl receiver DeAndre Hopkins after he was traded to the Arizona Cardinals for David Johnson. On top of that they began the 2020 campaign against two Super Bowl contenders in Kansas City and Baltimore, both resulting in losses, and in Week 3 face the rejuvenated Pittsburgh Steelers.
Brandin Cooks appears to have established himself as Watson's new primary target and Jordan Akins has supplanted Darren Fells as their top option at tight end. But for a team that seemed so close to competing for the AFC Championship last season, the cupboard feels a little bare for Deshaun.
Texans have shown ‘The most interest’ in AB The Houston Texans have reportedly been the “most active” team in purs… https://t.co/lKqzkgCBKB— NFL News (@NFL News)1601043979.0
Adding someone like Brown will depend on whether they can get some wins before the halfway point in the season. As with anyone who would consider Brown this season, they will need to be competing for a playoff spot, but also needing the extra help at receiver that AB would provide to get them there. If Houston can position themselves to still be competing for the AFC South they would fit that description.
The Eagles are in a similar spot as Houston, starting out 0-2 on the season falling short of preseason expectations. But nobody could've predicted just how bad Philadelphia would look these first two weeks. Carson Wentz has been pressured early and often behind a beat up offensive line that has included injuries to Lane Johnson, Jason Peters, and Jason Kelce already.
The receiving group was supposed to be trending up with the healthy returns of Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson to combine with speedy rookie Jalen Reagor. All three head into Week 3 on the injury report, and Reagor headed to the IR unlikely to return before Week 10.
Wentz has been one of the better quarterbacks in the league since being drafted in 2016. This season has not been kind to Wentz though, and through two weeks he is one of the worst QBs in the league according to QBR (quarterback rating) ranking 32nd in the NFL.
"Through two weeks of this season, who has been the worst quarterback in the NFL? A pretty compelling case could be… https://t.co/vcg3t5upq7— Get Up (@Get Up)1600960020.0
Philadelphia was certainly a favorite in the NFC to compete heading into 2020, and will not give up on winning just because of injuries. If this abomination of a season continues though, people's jobs may be at risk, including Doug Pederson's. Coaches that have their backs against the wall will often step outside of their decision making comfort zone, and for Pederson that may include reaching out to AB for help.
By getting a receiver with Brown's speed and route running ability would relieve a lot of pressure off of Carson Wentz by providing him someone that will reliably be open and will come down with the ball in tight coverage. He could be the difference in legitimizing the Eagles passing attack and help to carry them to the playoffs in the second half of this season.
We know Brown can come into a new organization and perform well on short notice after his one game performance with the Patriots last year that included a touchdown. While a lot has happened since then involving Brown, the talent he possesses is still elite. I predict he will be playing on an NFL roster before this season is over and if you're a savvy fantasy manager you will be monitoring this situation.
In 2020, quarterback is a very deep position that provides value in the later rounds of drafts and is spearheaded by the duo of Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes.
Jackson had an MVP season in 2019 tossing 36 touchdowns to pair with 1,206 rushing yards and 7 rushing touchdowns making him the highest scoring fantasy quarterback by nearly 73 points to the second leading point getter, Dak Prescott. Regression is expected from Jackson this season, as Baltimore has hinted at trying to reduce their franchise quarterback's exposure to taking hits by limiting his rushing outside of the pocket, but I find it hard to believe that it will be to the extent that many experts are projecting.
I think what will be more likely is for the 36 passing touchdowns to come down closer to the 28 to 30 range with some increased passing yardage and the rushing total to be about the same. Mahomes just inked a new deal that will make him one of the highest paid athletes in history, and it still somehow feels like he is being underpaid. The Chiefs are tailor made for a quarterback of his skill set, and they have speed everywhere. Mahomes dealt with some injuries in 2019, but if he's able to play a full slate this year, it's very possible that he finishes as QB1.