News & Analysis

How to treat Raiders' Antonio Brown in fantasy football ahead of NFL Week 1

The saga continues for Antonio Brown, as news broke on Thursday that the Oakland Raiders plan to suspend Brown for an outburst that was reportedly leveled at team GM Mike Mayock. For fantasy football players who took the risk and drafted Brown, this obviously isn’t the news you want to be hearing as the NFL season opens.

Brown’s 2019 has been a string of red flags that began with his unceremonious departure from Pittsburgh, intensified with a case of frostbite on his feet, and seemingly boiled over with the star wide receiver threatening to retire if he wasn’t able to wear his preferred helmet. While some of this was documented on HBO’s Hard Knocks, Brown didn’t come across anywhere near as bad on camera as these incidents have painted him. 

However, this fourth red flag does not cast him in a favorable light and is cause for major concern if you own Brown on any of your fantasy teams. To be clear, he’s still an undeniable talent who can very much be a top-10 fantasy wide receiver when he’s on the field. But, as we’ve seen over the last two months, we just simply don’t know when that will be.

So what do you do if you’re a Brown owner? Unfortunately, there really isn’t much you can do other than wait this thing out. Trading Brown away isn’t the right move. Sure, you could look to get an upside WR3 for him, but selling low isn’t how you make a profit. And there’s simply no way you’re going to be able to recoup what you paid for Brown on draft day. While that isn’t likely the advice you’re looking to hear, it’s really the best course of action.

Likewise, those looking to possibly acquire Brown on the cheap may want to steer clear. It’s extremely tempting, but the challenge with Brown is not if, but when the next red flag pops up. Taking on that risk, even at a discount, could put you in the same predicament the current Brown owners are facing. Brown is one of the all-time greats for fantasy purposes, but he just isn’t worth the accompanying uncertainty right now.

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