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Dynasty Price Check: Antonio Brown

On June 12, 2020, seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown plead no contest to three different criminal charges. With no outstanding legal charges against the free-agent wide receiver, it may clear the way for teams to begin looking at signing him. So what kind of value does he hold in dynasty leagues?

*deep breath* 

Where do we even begin?

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It Was All So Simple Then...

The soon-to-be 32-year-old was the most valuable player at his position in the NFL over the past decade. Between 2013 and 2018, Brown put up mind-boggling numbers, averaging 114 catches for 1,514 yards and 11 touchdowns per year. He remained a perennial high first-round pick during that stretch.

Then 2019 happened. Brown was traded to the Raiders in 2019 and spent the preseason having a highly publicized temper tantrum over not being able to use his old helmet. Despite this, Brown was still being drafted in the second or third round of fantasy drafts. Everyone just assumed things would level out and Brown would be his productive self on the field. Obviously, they didn't.

Child: Grandpa, what was Antonio Brown's dynasty value in 2020?

Grandpa: *slams a shot of whiskey* It all started with that stupid helmet...

Here are just a few of the things that have happened with Antonio Brown over the past 10 months:

  • Fined $54,000 by Raiders GM Mike Mayock before verbally berating him at a practice two days later.
  • Requested his release from Oakland after losing his guaranteed money.
  • Released by Oakland and signed by New England.
  • Accused of three separate instances of sexual assault by former personal trainer Britney Taylor.
  • Accused by a second woman of sexual misconduct.
  • Played a game for the Patriots, recording four catches for 56 yards and a touchdown.
  • Allegedly sent intimidating texts one of his accusers.
  • Released by the Patriots after appearing in one game.
  • Britney Taylor drops lawsuit against Brown.
  • Files countersuit case against Taylor for defamation.
  • Worked out with the New Orleans Saints in late December.
  • Released what was essentially a diss track against the Saints regarding the workout.
  • Recorded a video of himself throwing penis-shaped gummies at law enforcement officers outside his house.
  • Removed from any association with his local PAL league.
  • Arrested on three criminal charges following an altercation with a delivery driver.
  • Pleaded no contest to all three charges and was sentenced to two years of work probation.

The fact that we're even talking about what's next for a 32-year-old with that laundry list of issues above is a testament to how good of a football player Antonio Brown is. He really is that good, and hasn't given us any indication on the field that he wouldn't be able to produce at a high level.

 

Comeback on the Horizon?

Brown still has a few big hurdles to cross through before being relevant in re-draft leagues. The first is that he needs to actually sign with a team. Is there a chance that teams shy away from signing Brown due to the cargo ships worth of baggage he's bringing with him? Of course, but if we've learned anything from the NFL in the past, it's that talent often trumps all. If teams have an assurance from the league that Antonio Brown isn't going to be suspended upon signing with a team, I'd bet on him finding a home for the 2020 season.

It's a big "if" though. The NFL has yet to formally suspend Brown for any of his actions in 2019. The Raiders handled their problems internally, while the Patriots chose to simply cut bait and run. There's a chance the league is planning on disciplining Brown once he returns to the fold. Or there's a chance that they don't; Brown has been more-or-less been exiled from the NFL for the past year. He's lost ungodly amounts of money from both the Raiders and Patriots due to his own actions. If Brown's head is in the right place when he signs with a team, there's a good chance the NFL doesn't take action.

At worst, I could only see him serving a short suspension, but obviously that's just speculation. The NFL could decide they no longer want him to be a part of the shield and threaten a lengthy suspension should he sign somewhere.

 

Fantasy Outlook

In re-draft leagues, he's worth at best a dart throw with your last pick in the draft. The upside is clear, but there's going to be better value available through the course of a draft. But in Dynasty? It's a bit more complicated.

Brown is currently RotoBaller's 119th-ranked receiver in dynasty, saddled between Collin Johnson, a 2020 fifth-round pick by Jacksonville, and Josh Gordon, a man who needs no introduction. Brown owners can't drop him at the moment. Unless a miracle floats onto the waiver wire, nobody available will provide even nearly the upside Brown does. But you also aren't going to get much of value for him.

If we're being honest, his real value is probably about a fourth-round pick at this point, and I'm not sure I'd give up a fourth-round pick to get him. If I'm a Brown owner, I'm holding unless somebody overpays for him.

That's what non-Brown owners need to consider. Is he worth over-paying for? For teams looking to contend, he might be. We all hold onto a lot of hopeless causes at the end of our rosters. Guys that are too notable to cut, but too volatile to put in your lineup. The Sammy Watkins type. That's the kind of guy you need to sell your league's Antonio Brown owner on if you want to buy-in on him.

Because let's be honest: nobody is going to sign Antonio Brown as an end-of-the-bench veteran mentor. He's not worth the headache. If somebody signs Antonio Brown at this point, he's going to play, and he's probably going to play well. He looked damn good in his one-game tease last year and finished second in PPR points-per-game in 2018. He has the potential to push a good fantasy team over the hump if he returns to the field in 2020.

If you have a team you think can contend with some depth on the bench, look for the Sammy Watkins-type players that you will never put in your lineup. That kind of guy may be of value to your league's Brown holder. Some other potential players of theoretical value: Tyrell Williams, Devin Funchess, Josh Reynolds, and *gulp* Corey Davis.

*deep breath*

In short, if you own Brown, hold onto your lottery ticket unless you receive an offer you simply can't refuse. His value will skyrocket if he signs, and it can't really get any lower right now. If you want Brown, try and sell your league's Brown owner on some gold-plated garbage. His value may never be lower. Now is the time to buy if you want a shot at the lottery.




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