Antonio Brown Remains Viable Fantasy Starter Despite Steelers' Woes

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent ISeptember 23, 2013

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 07:  Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs after making a catch against the Philadelphia Eagles during the game on October 7, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Antonio Brown's fantasy football value is soaring, despite the fact that the Pittsburgh Steelers are 0-3 to start the season.

The Steelers' offensive line can't protect Ben Roethlisberger and can't effectively shape running lanes—not that it matters, considering the team's pitiful corps of running backs. 

Big Ben has been sacked 10 times already this year, and that number would be at least doubled if he weren't such a difficult quarterback to take down. Making matters worse for Roethlisberger, the Steelers have rushed for 155 yards in three games. 

Interestingly enough, this inability to run the ball has been good for Brown's fantasy value.

The Steelers allowed Mike Wallace to hit the free-agency market after the 2012 season, signaling Brown would be the team's undisputed No. 1 receiver. To this point in the season, he's played like it, too. 

He was the lone bright spot on offense for the Steelers in Week 3 against the Chicago Bears, catching nine passes for 196 yards with two touchdowns.

Through three games, Brown has caught 20 passes for 324 yards and two touchdowns, putting him on pace to catch 107 passes for 1,728 yards with 10 touchdowns this season.

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 09:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 talks with Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game against the San Diego Chargers on December 9, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images
Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Ben Roethlisberger has targeted Brown 29 times in three games, and he'll continue looking for his top receiver early and often as the season progresses. 

Pittsburgh's defense hasn't held up its end of the bargain, either, allowing six touchdowns to opposing offenses early in the season. Combined with the exorbitant amount of turnovers committed by Pittsburgh's offense, we have a recipe for Brown to garner plenty of garbage-time stats. 

So, while the Steelers appear headed directly to the AFC North basement after three weeks (don't pass Go; don't collect $200), fantasy owners can be content in the knowledge that Brown will be a weekly lock to start. 

Next up for the Steelers is a trip to London to face the winless Vikings

This is a good matchup for Brown. The Vikings have allowed 316 passing yards per game on average and nine total touchdown passes.

Brian Hoyer passed for 321 yards with three touchdowns in Week 3.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Ben Roethlisberger will find Brown open often in this upcoming contest.


Projected Week 4 Stats

Eight catches for 110 yards and one touchdown.


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