Fantasy Football: Fallout from the Martavis Bryant Suspension

The football community as a whole got a pretty large surprise Saturday when it was announced that Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant was facing a year long suspension for violating the substance abuse policy. While we will breakdown what to expect from the Steelers offense, this issue is much different than just football. Bryant’s agent has stated that there are much larger issues than just marijuana, including depression. Most football fans(including me) had a reaction of disappointment and anger. Given the facts that came after the announcement, I for one hope Bryant gets any and all help he needs for any mental issues he may be dealing with.


QB Ben Roethlisberger– This will certainly knock him down a couple pegs for me, but I was very high on him coming into the season. He still has the best WR in the NFL in Antonio Brown and a good set of complimentary receiving threats. Roethlisberger will also continue to have a strong running game to lean on during weeks the passing game isn’t quite clicking. You can still count on Roethlisberger as a legitimate QB1 every week, the ceiling just won’t be quite as high as we thought.


WRs Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton and Sammie Coates– The best and most consistent WR in football just had any concerns about Bryant stealing some targets erased. Antonio Brown is the surefire number one WR for fantasy, with only a potential injury to derail another phenomenal season. I’ll repeat my prediction that if he and Roethlisberger play all 16 games, Brown will top 150 receptions and 2,000 yards.


Markus Wheaton is an excellent number three WR in an offense, but has yet to truly seize any opportunity to cement himself as a number two. He only posted a 9-228-1 line in the five games Bryant missed in 2015(although Roethlisberger only played in roughly half of those five). He could be an interesting WR3, but will almost certainly be over-drafted with some expecting him to be the number two in the Steeler offense.


Sammie Coates will be viewed as an exciting young player who could push Wheaton for the number two role. While that may happen at some point, remember Coates basically didn’t play at all last year.  He showed some flash in an extremely small sample size last year. You will surely hear in training camp how great he looks, but be cautious on draft day. Coates is a complete wildcard next season.


TE Ladarius Green– It was assumed Green was signed as a replacement for retired TE Heath Miller. While that is obviously true, it appears that the Steelers may have had an idea that they had to replace some size they were losing with Bryant. Green will be an appealing target in the red zone, and vaults into low end TE1 consideration. With Bryant, Green would have had a difficult time finding consistent targets. Without him, he may emerge as the number two option in the Pittsburgh passing attack.


RBs Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams– Head Coach Mike Tomlin has had a history of riding one running back. It could make sense to spread the wealth a bit more to try and keep Bell healthy and to help out the passing game who loses an electric playmaker in Bryant. Williams was an excellent replacement for Bell last season, nd deserves playing time this season. Bell is an excellent pass catcher and could see a large uptick in receptions. Both backs will be critical in picking up slack for the offense.


If you have Bryant in a dynasty league, it would be wise to hold tight until everything is official. He is a young and dynamic talent, and with the right help could still see his career revived. Other owners will most likely try to pounce and get you to buy low. Bryant can certainly be traded, just make sure you get enough value in return.


In summation, the Steelers will still be a very good offense in 2016. They still have more talent than most teams at multiple positions. Unfortunately, the heights this offense could have reached are likely cast aside. It will be very difficult to replace Martavis Bryant on the field, even with the talent Pittsburgh does have.


Follow me at @bucn4life

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