by Nick Ercolano
March 10, 2019
The Antonio Brown Pittsburgh era is officially in the novels, he's being shipped over in some cargo, cross-country, so flying okay whatever to the Oakland Raiders for a 3rd and a 5th round pick. Yes, you heard that correctly. Antonio Brown has been traded to the Oakland Raiders. The NFL makes absolutely no sense. Martavis Bryant got a 3rd round pick when he was clearly out of his prime, A.J. McCarron got a 5th round pick. But put those picks together and you get Antonio Brown?
I know, I know, there's also money involved, but everyone is getting paid bruh. Had Martavis had one big year off that trade, you know he's getting money. Anyways, yeah, so AB is getting a completely restructured contract as well. Over the next 3 years, his income goes from $38.9M up to $50M with the Raiders, but what's bigger is his guaranteed money goes from a donut ($0) to $30M. Shoutout to Greg
It sucks for Pittsburgh. They got pretty farked here. They'll have to pay $21M. They had no choice here.
Well, he wasn't going anywhere, arguably outside of SF where his fantasy outlook was going up. And Oakland fits that category. But they were in desperate need of a playmaker and Jared Cook was the only thing resembling an athlete running routes for the Raiders in 2018. Will the volume be there for AB, yeah it likely will, but the efficiency is going to dip.
Last year, Pittsburgh led the NFL in pass attempts/game (43.1), Oakland was 16th at 34.8, throwing on 61% of their plays compared to 67.4% for Pittsburgh. The Steelers threw the ball a league-high 689 times. That is 133 times more than Oakland did. It's just a downgrade. Brown will flirt with WR1 numbers, probably finishing somewhere around 85-1200-7. We've seen WR1s have success in Jon Gruden's offenses, but we had Amari Cooper here as the out-right WR1 for Derek Carr and we never saw elite type of production. Brown is better than Cooper obviously, but the point remains.
Not terrible but he won't sniff the 15 TDs he posted last year and he's just not the elite option anymore, imo. He'll probably drop to around WR8-10 for me in season-long.
I will say two things when it comes to juju to start. People are going to FAR overblow the fact that now he's the WR1 and the attention of the defense is going to crush him. Fam, he's literally 22-years-old and coming off of a 111-catch, 1,426-yard season. I think he's good enough to produce against any defense. That argument works against a guy like Chris Hogan. Shoutout me for wanting to draft him last year. Who was 27, had never played against top CBs and only played well over one half of a season. We have a big sample size for JuJu as a monster NFL wide receiver already.
So, for starters the narrative about the defense taking him out of a game is going to be overblown because he's not the only thing they have to worry about on this offense, and he's actually very good. How good is he? Well I'm broken him down really in-depth in my WR rankings video which I'll link up here and in the description.
Washington was a guy that got a lot of buzz coming out of Oklahoma State as the Steelers 2nd round draft pick last year. Miserable rookie year. A lot of people are going to get excited about Washington this year, but I am not. Not even close. If he has a breakout coming in the NFL, I'd almost guarantee it's in 2020 or even 2021, not 2019. And here's why:
His rookie year, he totaled 16 receptions for 217 yards and one touchdown. I went back, using the Rotoviz Screener tool which is a fantastic tool I'll link below to anyone interested, and looked at every rookie WR that has come into the NFL since the year 2000. Of them, 465 had 220 or fewer receiving yards in their rookie season, like Washington. So, I wanted to see, how many of them broke out in their sophomore campaigns? I pegged the breakout meter at 800 receiving yards, because listen, if a guy on your fantasy team posts fewer than 800 yards on the season, what's the point. So, of those 465 WRs, since 2000 that posted fewer than 220 receiving yards in their rookie year, only 8 of them surpassed 800 yards in the following season. That's a 1.7% hit rate. [Ironically, one of them was Antonio Brown] And you might want to say, well he only played in 12 games, so to use overall yards is bad practice, bad for business. Sure, let's go by YPG. He averaged 18.1 YPG in 2018. Let that sink in for a minute fam. 18 receiving yards. Did y'all enjoy those 1.8 FPs last year? OK, so of those 465 WRs that averaged 18.1 YPG or less in the rookie season, only 3 of them broke out in their sophomore year.. that's a 0.6% hit rate. So, based on historical data, James Washington's chances of going over 800 receiving yards are 0.6%. - In the words of my good friend Randy Jackson, that's gonna be a no for me, dawg.
Dynasty sure, but I still think his value is at minimum a year away from starting to actually increase to the point where you'll get good value from him.
I like Vance a WHOLE lot. My guy is a WHOLE snack. I broke him down in depth as well in my TE rankings video earlier this off-season, which I'll link up there and in the description as well
Not many people realize this, but Vance McDonald finished as the TE10 last year in fantasy football, despite missing a game. So, a legit TE1. He caught 50-of-73 targets for 610 yards and a touchdown. His problem has always been staying healthy. Those 15 games in 2018 were a career-high and this was Vance's 6th NFL season. And he wasn't hurt, they just didn't use him in Week 1. He was extremely mediocre for long stretches last year, and he literally had one game (Week 2: 4-112-1) that crazy ass stiff arm he had that accounted for 18% of his FPs on the year, but there is going to be a lot of opportunity up for grabs in PIT. AB has officially requested the trade out of PIT so he's gone. And for whatever reason, the Steelers insisted on playing McDonald with Jesse James on a near 50/50 snap split in 2018. James is a FA this year.
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