SPORTalk, Anthony Newton
It has occurred to me that AB (Antonio Brown) is not the number one overall fantasy pick. On many sites and shows they have running backs Ezekiel Elliot, Todd Gurley, David Johnson, and Le’veon Bell. Don’t get me wrong I believe these are top 5 fantasy picks, but are they worthy of going before Brown.
David Johnson is coming off of a big injury in which he dislocated his wrist and missed the remainder of last season. In 2015 he had 173.8 fantasy points and in 2016 that number leaped up to 327.8. In 2015 he had a little less than 600 rushing yards, 500 receiving yards, and averaged around 4.6 yards a carry. In 2016 he more than doubled his rushing yards, receiving yards, carries per game, and touchdowns. In 2017 he was injured 11 rushing attempts. Anyone can see why he is so appealing, but will he be the same person after his injury. It is not a lower body injury which will be a lot more risky, but he has missed an entire season.
Zeke Elliot had that breakout rookie year and has never really looked back. His off the field issues however has plagued Elliot and kept him from having over 1000 yards last season. Zeke had 1,600+ rushing yards, 15 rushing touchdowns, 363 receiving yards, and a receiving touchdown in 2016. In 2017 he was suspended for 5 games because of off the field issues. In 2017 he rushed for less than 1000 yards, 7 rushing touchdowns, 269 receiving yards, and 2 receiving touchdowns. He has arguably the best offensive line in the NFL so that is reassuring, but can he keep his off the field issues in check?
Todd Gurley and Le’Veon Bell are the more consistent backs of this group because of their influence in their respective offenses. In 2015 Todd Gurley played 13 games and rushed for over 1,100 yards, 10 rushing touchdowns, and 188 receiving yards. In the last 2 seasons he has had over 2,000 yards rushing, 19 rushing touchdowns, over 1,000 yards receiving, and 6 receiving touchdowns. Le’Veon Bell has been in the league the longest and the most consistent. In 3 of the last 5 seasons Bell has had over 1,250 rushing yards, 600 receiving yards, and his rushing touchdowns has been consistent throughout his last 5 seasons. Le’Veon has still not shown up to camp yet so that is a little unsettling.
Since 2010, Antonio Brown has had only 2 seasons where he caught for less than 1000 yards, and only 3 seasons where he has caught for less than 1,250 yards. Since 2013 he has had over 100 receptions and in 2015 and 2016 he had 129+ receptions. He has been very consistent and is worthy of a number one pick. He stays healthy and will get his touches. He was injured at the end of last year, but he was out for only the last game of the season. Passing over Brown is a big mistake when talking about fantasy football. The last 5 seasons have proved he will get the ball and he will get the yards when he has the ball.
The appeals of these running backs are the fact that they can get yards in both the rushing and receiving game. That is why they are ranked higher than AB. Antonio Brown has a big impact on game, but there is less of a chance that he rushes the ball than these running backs chances of catching balls out of the backfield!