Sorry you have to root for him if he’s on your fantasy team
After a wild few days, Antonio Brown ultimately landed in New England (of course). The story behind the madness goes something like this:
A Quick Recap
The 7-time Pro Bowl receiver was traded to the Raiders in March after the Steelers had had enough of his antics. He was formerly known as the hardest working player in the NFL. Now he’s known for his ability to cause problems. With Pittsburgh, he was the epicenter of many locker room issues and often skipped or was tardy to team functions. The Raiders were hoping that would change when they acquired him, but they were wrong.
In July, he was placed on the IR because of a non-football (and completely avoidable) frostbite injury. In early August, he gave the Raiders an ultimatum: you either let me play with my old helmet, or I’m not playing ever again. He even complained to the NFL, but he eventually gave it up. This past week, the team fined him over $50,000 for his absences in team practices and training camp. Brown responded by sharing that on Instagram, and then followed up with an altercation with the Raiders GM at practice the next day.
On Friday, the Raiders fined Brown an additional $215,000 for his behavior, which effectively voided his $29M in guaranteed money. That led to him requesting a release. On Saturday morning, the Raiders granted him his wish, and shortly after he was signed to a one-year deal by the Patriots for up to $15M.
Do you remember the Raiders offense from last year? Derek Carr threw for 4000 yards but failed to get 20 touchdowns. TE Jared Cook and RB Jalen Richard led the team with 68 receptions apiece, and Doug Martin led the team in rushing yards. Obviously I expect Josh Jacobs to be a huge improvement over Doug Martin, but the offense as a whole might look similar to last year’s offense. I expect a lot of short passes to be thrown to TE Darren Waller and the Jacobs/Richard duo. Tyrell Williams is the only established WR remaining on the roster. He’s a talented receiver, but not nearly good enough to be a number one option.
Overall, this Oakland offense is going to struggle mightily, especially to start the year. I don’t think this really hurts the franchise as a whole. Were the Raiders really pushing for the playoffs? I don’t think so. They will go into this season in rebuild mode, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Considering the number of draft picks they’ve been accumulating over the past year, they have no shortage of young talent to develop this year.
If you aren’t a Patriots fan, you’re hoping Brown is such a disease to the organization that Belichick has to visit his proctologist. Chances are AB will get ahold of himself and the Patriots will steamroll the AFC once again this season. With Brown and Edelman along with James White, the Pats pass attack is as scary as ever. An active Josh Gordon is just gravy.
Regarding fantasy value, I expect all pass catchers to take target share hits because of the signing, but there should also be more touchdowns for everyone on the roster. I believe Gordon and White will take the biggest hits among pass catchers. Brown’s signing should help RB Sony Michel’s production throughout the season. Winning more games should reflect more carries and more touchdowns for Michel.