“It was just something I felt like I needed to do,” Bryant said. “Just to add a different aspect to my game of being physical, being bigger.”
Bryant said he is focusing on mastering the “Z” receiver spot that places him on the outside on the strong side of the field. However, Mann said in three-receiver sets Bryant and third-year receiver Markus Wheaton would be “interchangeable” between the “Z” and the slot.
Bryant figures to be a bigger part of the offense this season. He averaged 30 snaps per game in 2014.
“He's always been strong, but to be honest with you his conditioning is way better now,” Darrius Heyward-Bey said. “That's what we look at — and me being his big bro, I tell him, ‘You gotta work on your conditioning.' And he came back in way better condition than he was last year. “You can be fast — but you need to be fast 10 plays in a row, not just two.”
One of the concerns with Bryant is playing time, but it appears that he's distanced himself from Wheaton and is in line for starter's snaps opposite Antonio Brown. He averaged 2.8 catches for 56 yards and 0.82 TD in the final 11 games of the season (including a 5-61-1 outing against Baltimore in the playoffs). Thanks to the incredible touchdown rate, those are high-end WR2 numbers in standard formats and solid WR2 numbers in PPR. Increased playing time should offset any drop in TD rate. We like Bryant to break out in 2015.
Martavis Bryant already has the Steelers' attention after averaging 21.1 yards per catch as a rookie in 2014. But he's trying to place more eyes on him with a productive offseason that included 10 pounds of added weight and his workout to enhance his footwork.
"Running routes in the sand," Bryant said. "The beach, the sand pit, wherever."
Many receivers employ this routine, Bryant said, but he's used it extensively this offseason to improve mobility he said was lacking early in his playing days.
Bryant's imprint on organized team activities with athleticism and speed has been obvious, as has potential starting slot receiver Markus Wheaton. If Bryant can be a reliable No. 2 receiver, the offense falls into place because Wheaton can take the slot and backups Sammie Coates and Darrius Heyward-Bey provide depth.
Bryant averaged 2.8 catches for 56 yards and 0.82 TD in the final 11 games of the season (including a 5-61-1 outing against Baltimore in the playoffs). Thanks to the incredible touchdown rate, those are high-end WR2 numbers in standard formats and solid WR2 numbers in PPR. What's more, he didn't play 60% of the snaps until the postseason, so there's upside here from a playing time standpoint. If he earns a starting role this offseason -- and it looks like he will -- he’ll be a middle round pick in 2015 fantasy drafts.
Thursday, March 26, 2015, 11:38pm
Sunday, January 18, 2015, 5:13pm
Friday, November 7, 2014, 6:15pm
Steelers WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (hamstring, probable) was limited Friday after taking full reps earlier in the week and is probable for Week 10.
Friday, September 26, 2014, 6:33pm
Steelers WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (illness, probable) took full practice reps again Friday and is probable for Week 4.
Thursday, September 25, 2014, 6:48pm
Steelers WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (illness) returned to full practice reps Thursday after missing Wednesday.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 7:09pm
Steelers WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (illness) did not practice Wednesday.
Thursday, September 4, 2014, 6:23pm
Steelers WR Lance Moore (groin) missed practice again Thursday. If Moore can’t play, Justin Brown or Darrius Heyward-Bey may be forced into action.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014, 8:23pm
Brown put up some awe-inspiring numbers: 110 receptions and a franchise single-season best 1,499 receiving yards.
While the spotlight will shine on Brown, there will be plenty attention given his supporting cast. Roethlisberger has spent much of training camp and the preseason adapting to several new faces, including free agent signees Lance Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey, and rookie Martavis Bryant.
Roethlisberger, too, will have a new starter flanked opposite Brown. Markus Wheaton, a second-year receiver who was slowed by a broken finger during his rookie season, seems to have settled in with the offense.
There still needs to be some balance in the offense with the running game. But if the Steelers are going to air it out, the new WR members will be challenged to duplicate the 2013 efforts of Jerricho Cotchery and Emmanuel Sanders. They combined for 113 receptions, 1,342 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns. We expect Wheaton to put up solid numbers as the Steelers WR2, and could provide some depth to your fantasy team.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014, 1:58pm
A former seventh overall pick of the Raiders, he was on the Colts last year and actually won the WR2 job from T.Y. Hilton. Eventually, DHB fell on the depth chart and wasn't really heard from much of the second half. At best, he'll be behind Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton and Lance Moore.
Saturday, January 11, 2014, 7:52pm
Friday, January 10, 2014, 5:33pm
Tuesday, January 7, 2014, 2:18pm
Friday, January 3, 2014, 4:58pm
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