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The Antonio Brown Effect in New England


Life gives us many questions to ponder. What is the meaning of life? If time heals all wounds, how do you explain belly buttons? And the age-old question from the Spitballs podcast, would you rather have to give up ride-share services the rest of your life or food-delivery services? But for our purposes here and for the importance, which is fantasy football, our question is who does Antonio Brown truly affect most in the Patriots offense?

Some think it will be Josh Gordon's value that suffers most. Others think everyone in the passing game. Some may even think it takes away from the run game they were trying to build. But the answer may not be so simple - it could be all of the above. This, of course, assumes he is on the field the rest of the season. For our sanity, we will not go over all the scenarios of different amounts of games played. We will simply assume he will be there for the remainder of this season. Just as we do not want to project for injury, we also do not want to project for suspension. Besides, do we ever know what is going to happen with NFL discipline?

Now that all those details are out of the way, let us now try to figure out the situation in New England to see if they might finally win another Super Bowl this season. More importantly, will their skill players help fantasy owners win a championship or will AB sink their hopes just as he did the Raiders?

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Mr. Big Chest On the Scene

Let us start by getting the obvious out of the way first. Antonio Brown, for as long as he is there, is exactly what we thought he was. A WR1 on a weekly basis. The jersey doesn’t matter as much as the talent does. And he has talent in spades.

Now, if the first game of his tenure is any sign, Brown will take a lot of work from both Edelman and Gordon in this offense. Sure, he is talented enough to do this. But it is certainly not what the Patriots want in order to have success. This is why it will not happen.

The Patriots were favored by 19 points in this game. They were playing a team who was completely outmatched and also has completely given up on the season. This was a great game to get him acclimated, which is exactly what happened in this one.

Josh Gordon only had two receptions for 19 yards and Julian Edelman finished with four for 51. Moving forward, both of these numbers should move upwards. Brown will have his six or seven catches for 100 yards and will also probably have a touchdown in most weeks. But especially Edelman is not going anywhere. The comparison people are making is when Randy Moss came to the team in 2007. Even in that season, Brady still used his best friend Wes Welker enough to feed him 112 receptions for 1,175 yards. The same thing will happen in 2019 with his new best friend. Julian Edelman is the piece which holds together the offensive scheme. Maybe not the player, but the position. This means his role is as solid as Tom Brady’s Hall of Fame enshrinement five years after he retires. So, maybe in 2035 or so.

 

The One to Worry About

The player who might see his value affected the most is Josh Gordon. We know the team loves him. They have seen him through the past year of his struggles and re-signed him not knowing if or when he would be back on the field. This shows loyalty, which is something Bill Belichick doesn’t have for many. He will continue to get work but it will be minimized with the addition of Brown.

If Brown grows up, he might even be a good influence. At least when it comes to showing Gordon how to practice and play on Sunday. If he can do this, the Patriots will have another stud number one receiver next season after Brown inevitably moves on. But for this season? It might be more of a learning experience and less production. Which is terrible for those who took a chance on him in the fourth or fifth round of your fantasy drafts.

For all intents and purposes, Gordon and Brown fill the same position in the offense. Sure, Gordon has more size. But Antonio Brown is still the best, or close to the best receiver in the NFL today, He can do far more than Gordon in the offense and provides more for Tom Brady to work within the offense. His touchdown potential makes him a perfect fit in the hole left by the retirement of Rob Gronkowski, making him even more lethal.

As stated, Josh Gordon does have the size at 6’3 and 220 pounds and he can be a big body in the red zone. So, he will be on the field in scoring situations. This could make him have some value as a WR3 or a very high-end flex play. But his days of being a mid-level WR2 or a low-end WR1 in this offense are behind him. Again, this is assuming Antonio Brown is there all season. As for Julian Edelman? He is still a solid WR2 and as long as he has Brady throwing him the ball, this should not change much.

As far as Phillip Dorsett, N'Keal Harry, Jakobi Meyers or any other receiver on the team, you would simply be hoping for a touchdown or looking at a desperation bye-week flier once you get to the fourth or fifth receiver on any team, even the mighty Patriots.

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