The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have surprised some people by reportedly finalizing a one-year contract with free-agent receiver Antonio Brown on Saturday.
Brown has been suspended by the NFL due to multiple violations of the league’s personal conduct policy. He will be eligible to play after Week 8, and it seems the Buccaneers plan to have him on the field.
Now, if you’ve been paying attention, you’re aware that teams around the NFL like the Seattle Seahawks had kicked the tires on Brown earlier this week. Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady reportedly played a major role in the Buccaneers acquiring Brown’s services.
While opinions will differ as to if Brown deserves another shot, the fact is that Tampa Bay has given it to him.
And here’s where the conversation transitions to something perhaps much less important: fantasy football.
If Brown’s available in your league, and you can get past having a player like him on your fantasy team, you’d be wise to go grab him off waivers. He’s currently rostered in 77% of Yahoo! leagues, an increase of 73% in the past week.
The 32-year-old is, of course, a few years removed from his most impactful production. He played just one game with the New England Patriots during September 2019. He caught four passes (one touchdown) while seemingly developing an early connection with his then-and-now quarterback Brady.
The Bucs have plenty of pass-catching options, perhaps part of the reason the signing was surprising. But even with injury-recovering receivers like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate, Brown could walk on the field Day One and be the most lethal option on the Tampa offense.
Brown tallied 1,100-plus yards in seven of his nine NFL seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He recorded approximately 1,500 or more yards in four of those seven while hauling in a career-high 15 touchdowns in 15 games during 2018.
While his targets may not be as high as they once were with the Steelers (193 in 2015, 168 in 2018), in large part because of all Tampa’s offensive mouths to feed, it’s not all that crazy to think that Brown could come away with about 50 receptions if he plays the final eight or so games.
While we wouldn’t bet the house on Brown being around for the remainder of the season, he’s certainly still worth taking a fantasy football flier on.