The best general managers in the NFL zig when the league is zagging. So while the rest of fantasy owners will likely select running backs in the first round, you might be wise to take the best and most consistent receiver in football: Antonio Brown
Running backs can quickly fade into insignificance with the same alarming speed they rise to prominence (see: Doug Martin, DeMarco Murray). But Brown has a proven track record of being the best receiver for multiple years. He’s money in the bank, the closest thing to a sure-fire producer week-in and week-out.
Todd Gurley is an outstanding option, no doubt. Le’Veon Bell is a player with great consistency when healthy (even though he’s holding out and could present injury risk). The Cowboys are saying Ezekiel Elliott will catch more balls, but training camp promises mean as much as a divorced couple’s wedding vows. In just 14 games in 2017, Brown managed 1,533 yards, nine touchdowns and 310.3 PPR fantasy points, the most by a receiver and a total he will easily eclipse in 2018. Those totals scored more points than the second-best receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who played in 15 games.
Brown’s sheer consistency is astounding. He has over 1,200 yards and eight or more touchdowns in each of the last five years. He has had over 1,400 yards in four of the last five years, and has scored 10 or more touchdowns in three of the last five years. He’s unstoppable every year in way that Gurley, Elliott, Hopkins and Odell Beckham have not been in their careers.
The Pittsburgh Steelers had their fair share of dysfunction in 2017, but with some fire under Ben Roethlisberger (in the form of rookie quarterback Mason Rudolph), that offense may be even more prolific in 2018.
What’s more, Brown should be an even bigger part of the passing game with Martavis Bryant gone. Bryant had 60 receptions for 503 yards and three touchdowns. That work will get split between Brown, JuJu Schuster-Smith and Bell. But Brown figures to be the most obvious option.
Sure, Gurley, Bell and David Johnson are sexy picks. Their upside is enormous. Brown, however, is a different type of appealing — he’s the surest pick in the entire fantasy draft. His ceiling feels tremendously high. That makes him a great option for No. 1 overall.