The Pittsburgh Steelers offer Fantasy Football options every year. The change in offensive coordinators will negatively impact Antonio Brown’s production, alter Le’Veon Bell’s production and boost Ju Ju Smith Schuster’s production.
“Fantasy Football Player Combinations” in league play or “Stacks in Daily Fantasy Sports” are a great way to win. In league play, you need to forecast in August which combinations present the best opportunity for consistent points week in and week out. Obviously for DFS, stacks are adjusted accordingly per week.
Player combinations or stacks are a double-edged sword. Going for a Quarterback/Wide Receiver Combination is widely used in Fantasy Football. However, it can ruin a season if the combo fails. A good example would be the 2017 combo of Matt Ryan/Julio Jones. The idea that a quarterback throws touchdown passes to his wide receiver is common sense. There is a direct correlation to both positions scoring points simultaneously.
Here I had the opportunity to draft Julio Jones in a 3 Quarterback, big play bonus league. QBs were deep and I thought Julio was due for positive touchdown regression in 2017 (88 receptions, 1,444 yards, 3 touchdowns).
Based on in 2015 he had 8 touchdowns in comparison to his 2016 season (83 receptions, 1,409 yards/6 touchdowns). Welp, it wasn’t panning out. I traded my Ryan/Julio combo in November. A three player trade that brought me Le’Veon Bell. Again QBs are high value in this league. I needed a running back badly, had wr depth, Kirk Cousins and Dak Prescott.
The decision was simple for me since Matt Ryan was having a down year after a good season in 2016 (4,914 yards/38 tds/7 ints). Ryan threw for (4,095 yards/20 tds/12 ints) in 2017. Thats an 18 touchdown drop, an interception increase and 800 less total pass yards. I was honestly just trying to make it to the Championship which I did. In the green once again for this league but couldn’t repeat as Champion. Considering my opponent had a three headed monster in Kamara, Hunt, Melvin Gordon. His QB stack was Wentz/Ertz. A potent combination in itself early on. Second place was a monetary win!
With player combinations, you need to cover your bye weeks, handcuff where neccessary and know when to sit or trade your stack. One of the best QB/WR stacks is Big Ben/AB and will be again in 2018.
The always prolific Antonio Brown has produced year in and year out. In my book, he is the unquestioned #1 wide receiver in the NFL and Fantasy Football. Brown is entering his 9th season, has produced 100+ receptions and 154+ targets in 5 straight seasons.
Targets 163: 101 receptions, 1,533 yards and 9 touchdowns.
Targets 154: 106 receptions, 1,284 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Targets 193: 136 receptions, 1,834 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Targets 181: 129 receptions, 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Targets 167: 110 receptions, 1,499 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Targets 106: 66 receptions, 787 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Targets 124: 69 receptions, 1,108 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Targets 19: 16 receptions for 167 yards.
So is Antonio Brown a lock for 100 receptions, 1,200+ receiving and 10+ touchdowns in 2018? As long as Ben Roethlisberger is healthy, he has a shot. I would take the wager that Brown performs well in 2018. I would also double down saying that he will not produce a career year. A statline of 90+ receptions, 1,200+ yards and 8+ touchdowns is where I see him in 2018. Quite a high floor but not worth the #1 or #2 pick in PPR drafts.
The Steelers will use rookie James Washington, Ju Ju Smith Schuster, Jesse James, Vance McDonald and Le’Veon Bell. Brown is a lock for 137+ targets but will not see the guaranteed 154+ as in the past 5 seasons.
Ju Ju Smith Schuster had 58 receptions for 917 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2017. Ju Ju is one of the best receivers in the game and will eat into Brown’s ceiling. With new offensive coordinator Randy Fictner in town. Fantasy Football owners can expect a focus on the run game including playaction pass and RPO plays. RPO plays will bring value to tight end Jesse James, Vance McDonald and running back Le’Veon Bell (if he actually plays in 2018). Ben may not be in his prime nor mobile enough to run out of the RPOs. I don’t see his value rising in running the ball himself. Rather I see his value rising in efficiency, being able to spread the ball around more, a better wr receiving core than in previous years and a better moral due to his input being part of the offensive playcalling. A less complicated offense will mean another season with Le’Veon getting 320+ rushing attempts. The RPOs should give Ben more time to throw behind its 12th ranked offensive line according to Pro Football Focus (https://www.profootballfocus.com/news/pro-ranking-all-32-offensive-lines-from-the-2017-nfl-season).
Big Ben should have freedoms to make on the fly adjustments and run the no huddle offense. Meaning, Ben will often find other options when the defense is shadowing AB. The Steelers will utilize their playmakers and the Big Ben/Antonio Brown/Ju Ju combinations is alive and well in DFS.
For league play, I would taper expectations for AB as a viable top 5 overall draft pick and focus on training camp to see how Bell will be used. Oh wait, Bell is holding out. Taking an educated guess, Bell’s receptions should decline and Ju Ju Smith Schuster should see an increase in targets. The tight ends will take away from AB’s targets and James Washington will have a couple good performances in DFS. Washington may even produce two or more multiple touchdown games.
(Teams Going Off + Thoughts Flexed In) = Combination Lineups
May the Fantasy Force Be With You.
Follow Moon Man on Twitter @FFPmoonman
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