Week Seventeen Analysis:
Antonio Brown is the only player with more than 100 receptions and 1,400 yards, and he'll cap an epic season at home against the Browns. Joe Haden aggravated his hip injury last week and is questionable to play, but even with him in the lineup, Cleveland has been awful against the pass over the last five weeks. They've allowed 10 touchdowns to receivers during that span one of which went to Brown in Week 12.
Week Sixteen Analysis:
With nine total touchdowns, Antonio Brown has become a hands-down, slam-dunk starter every week, especially in any kind of PPR format. Brown is one of two players with at least five catches in every game this year, and he also ranks third in receptions and receiving yards. Pittsburgh pays a visit to the frozen tundra in Green Bay, but I wouldn't worry about the forecast for snow after Brown recently shredded the vaunted Dolphins secondary for more than 100 yards and a touchdown in similar conditions. Green Bay has allowed 185 yards and a touchdown per game to receivers over the last five weeks.
Week Fifteen Analysis:
Antonio Brown finally lost his title as the league-leader in receptions, but he's now topped 82 yards and/or scored at least one touchdown in eight of the last 10 games. The Steelers host the Bengals this week, and Brown scored a touchdown the last time Cincinnati was in town. He's also averaged six catches and 83 yards in their last three meetings. Even without their top cornerback Leon Hall, the Bengals rank fourth in pass coverage by Pro Football Focus, but they've allowed four touchdowns to wide receivers in their last two games. History suggests Brown is a pretty safe play, so employ him as you would.
Week Fourteen Analysis:
Antonio Brown remains the league leader in receptions and is one of six players with a minimum of 1,100 receiving yards on the season. He's heavily utilized, averaging more than ten targets per game, but he'll find his route running a little rocky this week against the very stingy pass defense of the Dolphins. Brown should draw primary coverage from cornerback Brent Grimes, who is asked to shadow elite receivers on occasion, and yes, Brown now falls into that category. Grimes is no joke. He ranks second in pass coverage according to Pro Football Focus, and is the unquestioned leader of a secondary that's allowed one wide receiver touchdown all season … one!
Week Thirteen Analysis:
Okay Antonio Brown, you have everyone's undivided attention. After shedding the Iron Haden, he is one of three receivers to tally 400 yards and four touchdowns over the last four weeks. He also leads the league with 80 receptions, which puts him on pace for 116 this season. That would break Pittsburgh's team record and make him just the second receiver in their history to eclipse 100 catches (Hines Ward – 2002). The Steelers are in Baltimore this week, a team Brown caught six balls for 50 yards against last month, which isn't awful in PPR formats. Baltimore is a good pass defense, allowing just five wide receiver touchdowns since the opener. It's not an ideal matchup, but he can't be benched at this point.
Week Twelve Analysis:
Considering he's always had Mike Wallace as a running mate, this could be Antonio Brown's first true experience with the Iron Haden, and that's never enjoyable for anyone. Haden absolutely shut down A.J. Green last week and intercepted two passes … one for a pick six. Ben Roethlisberger might have no choice but to avoid Brown with Haden sure to blanket him all day. Brown has thrived this season, especially in PPR formats, and he's hard to sit considering he's fifth in yards and leads the league in receptions, but his owners need to be very wary of this week's matchup.
Week Eleven Analysis:
Antonio Brown has done at least one of the following in six of his last seven games: 1) score a touchdown, 2) top 100 yards, and/or 3) catch 9+ balls. Brown can also get you points on special teams, and he nearly took a punt return to the house last week against the Bills … twice. He also leads the league in receptions and next faces the Lions, who have surrendered 200 yards and two touchdowns per game to receivers over the last five weeks. Detroit has been dominant against the run as of late, so you can expect Brown to be heavily in the mix on Sunday.
Week Ten Analysis:
Antonio Brown leads the league in receptions and is one of three receivers averaging more than 11 targets per game. And he has either scored or topped 80 yards in five of his last six games. Brown is a PPR dynamo and it's gravy any time he scores a touchdown. Pittsburgh hosts Buffalo on Sunday, who are one of two teams allowing more than 200 yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game to opposing receivers. The Steelers defense is shaky as well to say the least, and it appears passing plays will remain prominent in their offense as they continue to struggle keeping the opposition off the scoreboard.
Week Nine Analysis:
Despite already having a bye week, Brown leads the NFL in receptions, and he's averaged nine catches over his last five games and dipped below 82 yards just once during that span. He next faces the Patriots, who have sorely missed cornerback Aqib Talib in the last three games, surrendering a touchdown per game to receivers. And these are guys like Brandon Gibson, Jeremy Kerley, and Kenny Stills. Brown scored in his lone career game against New England, and if Talib were to sit again, his potential to produce jumps up.
Week Eight Analysis:
Antonio Brown was blanketed by Baltimore last week, but he managed to catch six of seven targets and should be able to find space against a softer Oakland secondary. The Raiders are one of three teams allowing an average of more than 15 receptions per game to receivers. And in their last five games, they have surrendered over 190 yards and nearly a touchdown per game to the position. Despite having a bye, Brown has the fourth-most red zone targets among receivers in the last four weeks, and there's no reason to expect a decline of attention from Big Ben.
Week Seven Analysis:
Antonio Brown is paying major dividends in PPR formats, as he has now caught at least nine balls in three straight games and hasn't dipped below 85 yards. In his last three matchups with the Ravens, Brown has been targeted 10, 11, and 9 times, so you know he'll be active again. He can expect to see plenty of Baltimore's best cornerback on Sunday, Lardarius Webb. But he struggled last week, allowing the most yards in coverage among corners, according to Pro Football Focus, including a nuking by Jordy Nelson last week. The Ravens have yielded nearly 190 yards per game to opposing receivers in the last three weeks.
Week Six Analysis:
Antonio Brown started to rev things up before last week's bye with 21 catches, 284 yards, and two touchdowns over his last two games. He'll hope to pick up where he left off this week against the Jets, who are allowing more than 13 receptions and 180 yards per game to opposing receivers. Brown caught seven balls for 79 yards against New York last year, and this season, Pro Football Focus has the Jets ranked fourth-worst in pass coverage. Brown has seen 13 targets in each of the last two games, and he should continue to get lots of looks from Ben Roethlisberger, who is averaging over 40 pass attempts per contest.
Week Four Analysis:
Antonio Brown had four catches of 20-plus yards on Sunday night, something that hasn't been done by a wide receiver in the last 32 weeks of regular season play. He is also currently tied for the league lead in that same category with seven, and he next faces the Vikings who were just burned by Brian Hoyer and the Browns. Minnesota lost starting cornerback Chris Cook to a groin injury last week, and if he can't play, Josh Robinson would most likely cover Brown. According to Pro Football Focus, Robinson has had 23 balls thrown his way and all but one has gone for a completion. That's remarkable incompetence. Strong safety Jamarca Sanford could also sit with an injured hamstring, meaning Brown could put up big points across the pond.
Week One Analysis:
I'm not much of an Antonio Brown-backer. But he is Pittsburgh's top receiving option as their new split. And the Steelers are facing a team that gave up 21 touchdowns to receivers last year and 31 passing touchdowns - the second-highest in the league. Tennessee did bring in safeties George Wilson and Bernard Pollard. But not much has changed at corner, where talent is still thin outside Coty Sensabaugh. Brown isn't your stereotypical No. 1, but he has gained Ben Roethlisberger's full trust. And he closed last season on a tear with a touchdown in each of the final four weeks, including a 60-yarder against the Bengals in Week 16. Antonio has looked solid in preseason too, finishing tenth in yards per catch this preseason amongst receivers with at least 90 snaps and six receptions. Also keep in mind that Pittsburgh is short on weapons with Le'Veon Bell and Heath Miller doubtful to play.
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Last season in Pittsburgh, Antonio Brown had nearly the same amount of targets, receptions and yards as Mike Wallace. While Wallace has taken his talents to South Beach, Brown remains as the top wideout in Ben Roethlisberger's offense. It's probably a good thing that Brown started to show more and more life as the 2012 season wore on, as he scored a touchdown in each of the final four games. The knock on Brown was that he could accumulate decent reception and yardage numbers, but could never score, as he had only scored three times in first 34 career games. With an improved running game with rookie Le'Veon Bell in the backfield, some of the pressure should be taken off Big Ben, Brown and the passing game as well, opening up Brown for a possible career season.