Antonio Brown, WR Pittsburgh Steelers

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Big Ben: Markus Wheaton will start over Martavis Bryant

Sunday, August 2, 2015, 6:18pm

Sporting News - [Full Article]

When Ben Roethlisberger speaks, Pittsburgh listens. So when the two-time Super Bowl champion predicts a breakout star, it's worth paying attention.

Most of the Steelers talk heading into the 2015 season has been about Antonio Brown, LeVeon Bell and Martavis Bryant, but Roethlisberger believes a different player will steal the headlines offensively this season.

"I think Markus Wheaton is our breakout player of the year," Roethlisberger said on Sirius XM NFL Radio. "I want that. I want him to have that pressure. Because when we're in two wide receivers, he's our No. 2. And we're asking him to play outside. And we go three wide receivers, we ask him to move inside."

Wheaton, a third-year pro out of Oregon State, has recorded 59 receptions for 708 yards and two touchdowns in his first two seasons.

Fantasy Impact:

It was widely believed Bryant, not Wheaton, would line up opposite Brown to start the season in two-wide sets. But it appears Bryant will miss some time with an infection in his elbow. This could cause a bit of a rankings shakeup among the Steeler WRs and is definitely something to watch during camp and heading into the season. Bryant was our 18th ranked WR while Wheaton wasn't even getting drafted in 12-team leagues. Bryant also put up fringe WR2 numbers while only playing 60-percent of the snaps.

Scouting Report

Fantasy Upside
He’s not the biggest receiver in the league but Antonio Brown is certainly among the most productive. And he’s had at least 5 receptions for 50 or more yards in every game over the past two seasons. Even his bad games aren’t terrible. With the emergence of Martavis Bryant on the other side and LeVeon Bell’s continued improvement, it gets more difficult for opponents to double team Brown, not that doing so has been particularly effective.

Fantasy Downside
There’s not a lot to dislike about Brown’s game, but you do have to wonder if the emergence of other stars in the Pittsburgh offense might take some of his catches away. Maybe. But probably not.

Bottom Line
The one knock against Brown heading into last season was that he wasn’t an effective red zone player. He took care of that by scoring 13 touchdowns to go along with his 129 receptions and 1,698 yards. Perhaps he won’t reach those totals in 2015, but 80 to 90 percent of that is still pretty darn good. Brown should be one of the top five receivers selected in any fantasy format.

2015 Strength of Schedule - PIT
W1W2W3W4W5W6W7W8W9W10W11W12W13W14W15W16W17
18
@NE
26
SF
19
@STL
30
BAL
25
@SD
7
ARI
9
@KC
3
CIN
16
OAK
14
CLE
BYE1
@SEA
4
IND
3
@CIN
13
DEN
30
@BAL
14
@CLE

Schedule difficulty based on schedule-adjusted, positional defensive ranking. Top DEF = 1, bottom DEF = 32.

2014 Game Stats
WeekOppRecRecYdsRecTDTgtsYPCRuAttRuYdsRuTDFumYPRSnaps%
1CLE51161623.200000-71/71100%
2BAL79001212.86210005.0052/5988%
3CAR10902109.000000-64/7091%
4TB713121118.710000-73/7696%
5JAX58401216.800000-60/6888%
6CLE711801016.861-200-2.0076/7897%
7HOU99001310.000000-60/6592%
8IND1013321313.3015005.0082/8399%
9BAL1114411613.090000-66/6996%
10NYJ874099.250002-60/6494%
11TEN99111110.110000-73/73100%
12BYE------------
13NO89721212.120000-88/9098%
14CIN911701413.000000-71/7397%
15ATL1012301012.300000-55/5993%
16KC7721910.290000-53/5498%
17CIN712811318.290000-57/5997%
Totals12916981318113.16413023.251061/111195%

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