Antonio Brown Landing Spot: A Bracket Answer

Antonio Brown Landing Spot: A Bracket Answer

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Where might Antonio Brown be traded? We’ll find the answer in the magic of the H2H bracket.


It’s nearly time for the NCAA Basketball Tournaments (Men+Women), and that means [spoiler alert!] EVERY SINGLE QUESTION asked, for the next month, will be answered with an obligatory bracket challenge: Best 80’s Movie?, Best Fast Food Fry?, and Where Will Antonio Brown End Up? So instead of avoiding it, let’s instead have fun and embrace it by adding to the bracket noise.

Background

After years of being a star wide receiver, for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Antonio Brown and the Pittsburgh Steelers decided they were going to go their separate ways. Fingers point at Antonio Brown for being hard to deal with, fingers point at Big Ben for whatever nonsense he does, fingers point at the Steelers coaches for creating the culture that leads to blah,blah,blah–*whatever*–all that drama doesn’t matter, we’re not watching a show on The Hallmark Channel, we’re interested in Fantasy Football.  We can analyze the fantasy impact another time once we know his final destination, but let’s see if we can narrow that down, because guessing right early could help gain value in both dynasty and redraft leagues for Antonio Brown owners (or potential owners).

Before we get to the bracket, let’s look at odds on landing spots for Antonio Brown. Here’s a tweet about odds at one sportsbook. This will help us set up our bracket. If you look closely, the odds seem tied to teams that have a lot of cap space. You’ll see that as a theme that’ll help us decide some of these matchups, as well.

Below are nine options for where I think Antonio Brown might land via trade–Are you ready to go FULL METAL BRACKET?!:

Play-in Round for the 8th Seed:

#8a)  Any Other AFC North Team

vs.

#8b) The New England Patriots:

Wow! What a matchup! If the Steelers trade to the #9 seed, an AFC North Team (Browns, Bengals, or Ravens–aka, any other team in their division) they have the chance that Antonio Brown will show them up, twice a year, with the real possibility of affecting their W/L record. Adding salt to the wound, you know Antonio Brown would be screaming “Scoreboard!,” from every social media outlet possible, after any victory over the Steelers. The Steelers’ real nightmare scenario: An Antonio Brown led AFC North goes to the playoffs, or beyond, and the Steelers do not (just as they missed in 2018).

On the flip-side, you have the #10 seed New England Patriots: who are running out of Tom Brady appendages to put Super Bowl rings on.  We all remember what happened the last time the Patriots got their hands on a future HOF WR (Millenials: In 2007, The Patriots traded for a player by the name of “Randy Moss.” Moss caught an NFL Record 23 TD passes! The Patriots went 18-0 and were only defeated in the Super Bowl because a guy on the opposing team caught a pass IN HIS HELMET–True Story).  History repeating is pretty appealing for the Patriots, they were pushing hard for an Odell Beckham Jr trade, before the 2018 season, and Moss was seen as being a “difficult player” before being traded to the Pats, as well.

Winner: #10 Patriots: The “damned if you do” vs. “damned if you don’t” scenario.  Seeing Antonio Brown and the Patriots win another Super Bowl, I think, is a preferred scenario over having one of the Steelers most hated rivals win with Brown.

Quarterfinals:

#1) Indianapolis Colts

vs.

#8) New England Patriots

According to spotrac.com, the Indianapolis Colts have the most cap space at around $106M. That cap space gives the Colts a lot of flexibility if they get AB, who will only be a $13M/yr (post-trade) hit. Vegas currently has the Colts as the odds on favorites to land AB.

The Patriots only have $14M in current cap space, and they usually don’t give up true market value, in draft trades. Besides, it sounds like part of the Steelers demands for the trade is that the Patriots won’t be Antonio Brown’s final destination.

Winner: Colts

#2) Oakland Raiders

vs.

#7) Buffalo Bills

The Bills are in this tournament because of their cap space at $81M, but after the Bills waived Kelvin Benjamin, mid-season, for all his drama (and lack of effort). It’s hard to imagine they’d bring in another player (although, naturally WAY more talented than Benjamin) that could stir-up locker room trouble, again.

Some things in life just seem to naturally go together: Peanut butter & jelly, Batman & Robin, and the Raiders & Antonio Brown. The Raiders would be the least surprising destination for Antonio Brown, as the Raiders have always had the reputation of welcoming brash, talented WR’s (Jerry Porter, Tim Brown, Randy Moss, Michael Crabtree, a genuine etc.). Add to that, the Raiders will soon be going to Vegas, and a player with Antonio Brown’s dynamic personality would be just the draw for the fans there. He also seems to be a “Gruden guy,” here’s Jon Gruden talking about Brown…draw your own conclusions.

Winner: Raiders

#3) San Francisco 49ers

vs.

#6) Denver Broncos

The 49ers seemed like THE Brown destination, in late December, after a brief Twitter exchange between George Kittle and Antonio Brown. A receiving corps that includes both Brown and Kittle, with Jimmy G and McKinnon both healthy, in a Shanahan offense, would be a wrecking ball to any team that came up against it.

The Broncos are in a “win now” situation (see the trade for Joe Flacco). The team suffered from dismal receiving performances from Sutton and Hamilton in the #1 and #2 spots after Emmanuel Sanders went down with an injury (Philip Lindsey also suffered as defenses could then cheat, and stack the box against him) and need a big-time WR to keep NFL defenses honest.

The Broncos deny that they are interested.  The reduced cap room ($36M) because of the Flacco trade and too many other needs on both offense and defense can lead us to imply that they are priced out of the Antonio Brown sweepstakes. *Fantasy Note: FA WR John Brown seems like a real possibility, especially since Flacco is already familiar with him–definitely a buy-low candidate if John Brown goes to Denver).

Winner: 49ers

#4) Washington Redskins

vs.

#5) Tennessee Titans

I originally had the Texans and Jets in these spots until Adam Schefter broke some pretty significant news about where Antonio brown might go. Schefter reports the Redskins, Titans, and Raiders have shown the only interest, so far. The Redskins only have $14M in cap space, which could be worked around. This would also be fantastic news for Derrius Guice owners, if it happened, as it would open up the field for Guice, as defenses would have to key on AB.

The Titans’ possibilities are intriguing: With $43M in cap space and Corey Davis starting to emerge, Davis could have a breakout season with Antonio Brown drawing double teams on the other side of the field. They also need Marcus Mariota, who is in a contract year, to get back to the 2016 version of himself (3400 yds & 26 TDs).  The Titans future (along with the future of their coaches and management) hinges on a good 2019 season.  They seem very motivated to get Antonio Brown.

Winner: Titans

Semifinals:

#1) Indianapolis Colts

vs

#5) Tennessee Titans

If this comes down to a battle of who’s going to give up the most draft capital, the Titans could win by giving up their 1st round pick (19th overall). But, that price seems high considering some brash remarks AB has made, recently. It sounds like Antonio Brown will quit if he doesn’t like where he’s traded to, and it also seems like he doesn’t like the three teams that are currently in the lead for him to be traded to.

Meanwhile, the Colts have: Tons of cap space, the #2 pick in the 2nd round (from the Jets), and after a 10-6 season, with a reemerging Andrew Luck, a genuine open window to get to the Super Bowl. Adding Antonio Brown to T.Y Hilton, in that offense, would make a powerful duo. Check out the tweet below, which links to an older ESPN article about the bond between T.Y. Hilton and Antonio Brown.  There’s some real history between these players, which could put the Colts in the driver’s seat to get Brown, especially if AB has some sway in the matter.

Winner: Colts

#2) The Oakland Raiders

vs

#3) The San Fransisco 49ers

There are a couple of things going against Antonio Brown going to the Raiders: 1) The Steelers are looking for an NFC Team to trade Antonio Brown to…probably so that they can only meet AB in the Super Bowl, and thus he doesn’t come back to haunt them in the AFC playoffs. 2) Once D.K. Metcalf ran a 4.33 40 time, at the NFL Combine, you can imagine Jon Gruden spreading out Metcalf’s Combine results on his bed, and just rolling around naked in them. Gruden loved Megatron/Calvin Johnson, and Metcalf looks like he could be a mirror image.

With three, first round picks, the Raiders could give one up for AB. But, they would have essentially traded Amari Cooper’s contract, which they couldn’t afford, for Antonio Brown’s contract which is the same. That doesn’t seem to jive. D.K. Metcalf, on the other hand,  would be on a rookie $ contract that would give the Raiders the star WR they are looking for, going into their Vegas move.

Winner: 49ers

Finals:

#1) Indianapolis Colts

vs

#3) San Fransisco 49ers

This matchup is a coin toss.  Both the Colts and 49ers would be great landing spots for Antonio Brown, and it looks like Antonio Brown would like to go to one of those spots, but it’s really up to the Steelers.  Right now neither team has reportedly been in talks with the Steelers to get Antonio Brown though.  I think the Colts would bring the best offer of a high, second round pick, and Jim Irsay (the Colts owner) is not one to shy away from dynamic personalities.

Winner:  Colts

From a fantasy aspect, you get two, potent offenses that would get Antonio Brown, and his fantasy owners, the stats that you’re used to seeing from a player of his caliber. If he goes to one of these two teams, he’d be a buy for dynasty teams, as people are frustrated with his antics and it has started to push his value down. You can get him on the cheap, right now.  Those negative perceptions and uncertainty are pushing down his ADP in redraft leagues as well, where he’s traditionally been a top 10-15 overall player. IMO, it’s a great time to buy-in on Antonio Brown if you’re looking to trade or draft now.

Final thought:

The difficulty of filling out an Antonio Brown landing spot bracket is that I’ll most likely be proven wrong, once the trade goes down. In fantasy football, just as in life, you gotta be bold and make the best call possible, with the info you have.  I think there’s a real opportunity in cashing in on Antonio Brown’s decreased perceived value–Buy low, sell high!

Follow me and hit me up on twitter @Flavorizethis. We can talk fantasy football: redraft, best ball, and dynasty leagues, as well as DFS fantasy football and DFS Golf.