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Thursday, June 28, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL ISSUES: THE TROUBLE WITH PICKING ANTONIO BROWN IN ROUND 1

With early 2018 fantasy football drafts already underway, now is a good time to check in on some early themes and one that crops up yet again this season is the first round status of Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Antonio Brown.  On talent and numbers alone, Brown is absolutely worthy of top-five overall status in any fantasy football league and that goes for 2018 as well.  Now up to five straight seasons of 100-catch campaigns, Brown seems like a player you never have to worry about in terms of numbers and durability.  While we subscribe to that overall line of thinking, it get a bit complicated when you look at 2018 fantasy football drafts and how things are currently unfolding.  Specifically speaking, the top of the running back heap is as potent as ever but this group also doesn't go very deep given the high amount of committee's out there.  Thus, getting your hands on one of these backs really sets up up for massive running AND receiving numbers from the same player, while you only get the receiving end of things with Brown.  Now as far as those backs are concerned, you have the following "Super Five" of Le'Veon Bell, David Johnson, Todd Gurley, Kareem Hunt, and Ezekiel Elliott who very well could be the top five picks in most fantasy football drafts this summer.  Then close behind them you have LeSean McCoy, Melvin Gordon, Alvin Kamara, and even rookie Saquon Barkley.  That brings to 9 out of 12 first round slots that should go to both RUNNING and RECEIVING backs.  Meanwhile those who take Brown only get receiving numbers and then likely have to look at more limited or questionable second round backs such as the recovering Dalvin Cook, the OC questions marks in Atlanta dogging Devonta Freeman, and the non-receiving games of Jordan Howard and Leonard Fournette.  In addition, Brown's fortunes are almost completely tied to the health of Ben Roethlisberger who 7 total games the last three seasons.  One only has to think back a few seasons ago when Big Ben sat for 4 games in 2015 and saw Brown struggle to catch passes from Michael Vick to know how suddenly things can change for the worse when injuries strike.  So when you look at things through that prism, using a first-round pick on a running back is the way to go here and Brown should not be looked at unless you are picking 10th or later.  Agreed?  

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