Batten Down the Hatches: The Dynasty Impact of Antonio Brown with the Bucs

Ken Kelly

For the better part of the 2010’s, Antonio Brown was one of the most dominant forces in all of fantasy football. With seven seasons of at least 1,100 yards, six straight with at least 100 receptions and a grand total of 75 career touchdowns, his production was nearly unmatched and brought countless dynasty championships to those who rostered him.

Then everything changed.

The Steelers cut bait on Brown after one too many disputes and questionable (to say the least) off-the-field behavior, sending him to the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders, where he never played a game as his transgressions and “me first” attitude continued. He spent a short stint (11 days) with the New England Patriots before sexual assault allegations surfaced and the Patriots cut him last year as a result.

At this point, you all know the story. Brown hasn’t played in an NFL game in more than a year and is still serving an eight-game suspension. However, he obviously did enough to make an impression with Tom Brady as the Bucs signed Brown to a one-year deal, clearly on the recommendation of TB12. So, it’s happened. Antonio Brown is finally back in the league and get his second, third, fourth chance now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

This move has long-ranging dynasty impact, so let’s take a look at the players affected.

Antonio Brown, WR TB

There’s now no doubt the Bucs are all in this season. After adding Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski in the off-season, the addition of Brown simply gives Brady the best set of weapons he’s ever had, and that’s saying something. After all, Chris Godwin and Mike Evans are both top-tier talents and Gronkowski seems to be rounding into form. Throw in Leonard Fournette and a resurgent Ronald Jones and this offense is scary.

It’s our role to share dynasty impact and not pass judgment on someone’s character, so that’s what we’ll do here. I’ll say this, though. Brown has done little over the past two years to instill any confidence his off-the-field behavior will be that of a mature adult and he’s still under investigation on additional charges that could result in another suspension. Take that as you will.

As far as the player goes, Brown is an elite asset, though he’s now 32 years old. Over the span of his career, he’s posted an amazing 841 catches, 11,263 yards, and 75 touchdowns. In Tampa, he’ll play in three-wide sets with Godwin and Evans, creating an absolute nightmare for opponents. However, the simple truth is there are too many mouths to feed in this offense and while this makes Tampa Bay better in reality, it creates quite the quagmire in fantasy circles.

I would expect Brown to serve as a WR2 most weeks, with some highs and lows mixed in. The Bucs defense is elite and isn’t going to put them in too many games where Brady needs to throw 50 times a game. Brown is clearly going to have some big games coming, but he’s also set for some inevitable duds, especially with the game scripts Tampa could see coming their way. He’s simply not going to be option one, two and three in this offense.

The bigger question now is Brown’s future. If you’re a dynasty owner and have Brown on your roster, there are two things you can do. First, you can ride this out, hope he performs well and proves he’s grown up. This would set himself up for a new contract next season and dynasty owners would hope he lands in a more desirable fantasy situation. Second, you can deal him now while you can get some sort of value for him. He had next to none before he signed in Tampa and I have my doubts this ends well. If he fails this time, it’s over. As you can see from the chart below, it’s been quite the fall from grace.


Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, WRs TB

My expectation would be Godwin, Evans and Brown all vulture off each other in any given week. Brown may have the most catches, Godwin the most yards and Evans the most touchdowns from this point forward, but that’s anyone’s guess. However, knowing which one could have a big game in a given week is going to be next to impossible. Trying to have consistent fantasy performances from Evans, Brown, Godwin, Gronkowski, and Jones is next to impossible (thought I could argue this move actually helps Jones as nobody is going to stack the box against Tampa unless they’re tanking for Trevor).

If there’s a silver lining here, it’s the fact Evans and Godwin will likely see their ADP drop to the lowest it has in quite some time, opening up a pretty solid “buy now” window in the coming weeks.


Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson, WR TB

Miller had started to fall off the map the past two weeks and Johnson was starting to emerge a little. Unfortunately, the wheels have now fallen off the proverbial cart for both of these players and their dynasty value is on life support.


Tom Brady, QB TB

I haven’t talked to Tom this week, but I’m betting he likes this skill position group a little better than the one he would have had in New England this season. Time to prove you’re the GOAT, Tom. If you can keep Brown on the straight and narrow, it might be your best achievement yet.

ken kelly