Fantasy football managers with Antonio Brown on their team felt confident going into Week 17. After all, the Buccaneers were playing the Jets and Brown was set for more targets than usual with Chris Godwin (torn ACL) out for the season. He looked like a safe pick who would provide lineups with a high floor during championship week.
Well, that didn’t quite pan out for fantasy owners. In fact, Brown’s mid-game meltdown cost many a chance at a title and instantly became a talking point over the next two days.
Brown played less than three quarters for the Buccaneers before he stormed off the field after a dispute with coach Bruce Arians. Brown ripped off his uniform, pads and undershirt on his way to the locker room and chucked his shirt and gloves into the stands. He jumped up and down in the end zone to pump up the Jets crowd before flashing a peace sign and leaving.
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That was the last that fantasy owners would see of Brown during the game. He never returned to the field and Arians announced that Brown was “no longer a Buc” after the team’s 28-24 win over the Jets.
Brown finished the day with three catches for 26 yards, a poor fantasy day by any metric. Making matters worse, the Buccaneers trailed late and had to throw a lot, so Brown would have had a chance to improve his totals. Instead, Cyril Grayson and Tyler Johnson combined for 10 catches, 133 yards and a touchdown in increased roles.
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Naturally, fantasy owners were miffed by Brown’s final effort. Plenty of fans took to Twitter to express their outrage about Brown’s performance and how it cost them a chance at a fantasy title.
The fact that I played Antonio Brown instead of Ja’marr Chase this week in my fantasy final, and that was the reason I lost, will haunt me till my dying day
— Novo (@SethNovotny) January 4, 2022
Played in my fantasy football championship yesterday. My opponent had jamarr chase who scored the most fantasy points by any player in a game all season. I had Antonio brown who took off his clothes and retired in the middle of the game. Death to 2022
— Austin (@ajleibo) January 3, 2022
So Jaylen Waddle has 1 point and now Antonio Brown has a mental breakdown and walks off the field shirtless…. This is how I lose my fantasy championship? Honestly it’s very fitting. pic.twitter.com/M5ENjzDMrO
— josh (@8INAROWx) January 2, 2022
Well, the jokes on me for starting Antonio Brown in the fantasy championship, he just took off his clothes and ran off the field in the middle of a Buccaneers offensive drive pic.twitter.com/xFtgMIBj6j
— Justin Fenton (@justin_fenton) January 2, 2022
Such is the life of a fantasy football owner. Every week, there are brutal start ’em, sit ’em decisions that managers have to make. Make the wrong choice — like the player who started Brown ahead of Ja’Marr Chase — and it can absolutely sink your team.
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If you were one of the unlucky players who started Brown, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s tough enough to predict fantasy football results on a weekly basis. It gets even harder when you see a player in a good matchup rip his clothes off and run away from his team in the third quarter. Nobody could have seen that coming.