After a down year by his standards in 2016, Brown set the NFL ablaze again last year, leading the league in yards by a wide margin, despite missing two and a half games. In a down year for wide receivers, he was an absolute monster, though his timing - his calf injury came... read more
After a down year by his standards in 2016, Brown set the NFL ablaze again last year, leading the league in yards by a wide margin, despite missing two and a half games. In a down year for wide receivers, he was an absolute monster, though his timing - his calf injury came during the fantasy playoffs - wasn't ideal. Brown averaged 9.4 YPT, fifth among the league's 27 100-target WR, and 15.2 YPC (7th). He had five games with 150-plus receiving yards, a league-leading 27 catches for 20 or more yards and tied for second with seven catches of 40-plus. At 5-10, 181, and running a poorly timed 4.56 40, Brown resembles an average man more than a freak NFL receiver. But looks can be deceiving. Brown plays more like a 4.4 runner, and his electrifying quickness makes him just about cornerback-proof. Consider what he did to Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye in the AFC divisional playoffs while coming back from the calf injury - seven catches on 11 targets for 132 yards and two TDs. Brown will turn 30 in July, reaching an age where most receivers are on their downsides, but small receivers typically age better than big ones, and given his long track record of good health and no signs whatsoever of decline, this shouldn't be a major concern. That Ben Roethlisberger - who also seemed at the top of his game during the playoff loss to Jacksonville - has committed to 2018 locks Brown in as the No. 1 WR on the board. Second-year man JuJu Smith-Schuster looks like a star in the making, but given the Steelers' narrow tree, his presence might add rather than detract from Brown's value. The one wild card is the departure of offensive coordinator Todd Haley, but given that he's being replaced by former quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner, a major scheme overhaul is unlikely.