Freedman: Antonio Brown Props, Picks and Projections for 2019
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Antonio Brown
- Matthew Freedman makes his picks for Antonio Brown's 2019 props, complete with his own projections for the Oakland Raiders wide receiver.
The Antonio Brown saga is finally over.
Before he was traded to the Oakland Raiders, Brown suggested that he would rather retire than play for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2019. But barring the unforeseeable — which is always possible with Brown — he will play this upcoming season.
It’s even possible that his former teammate running back Le’Veon Bell could join him in Oakland. The Raiders have the salary cap space to sign Bell, and they’ve displayed a willingness to pay up for veterans.
So what can we expect from Brown in his first season with the Raiders? Below are my analysis and picks for his 2019 performance props.
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Antonio Brown’s Total Receptions: Over/Under 95.5
- Over 95.5: -115
- Under 95.5: -115
Since 2013, Brown has never had fewer than 154 targets in a season. But as it happens, no wide receiver for Raiders head coach Jon Gruden has ever had more than 153.
While we should expect Brown to be heavily targeted, it’s still fair to assume that he’ll get fewer than the average of 11.15 targets per game he’s seen with the Steelers since 2013 since Pittsburgh tends to be a fast-paced, pass-heavy team.
Let’s say that Brown gets 10 targets per game. Considering that the Steelers led the league with 689 pass attempts last season and that the Raiders were tied for 16th with 556, 10 targets per game seems generous yet reasonable.
Very few players had at least 10 targets per game in 2018.
- Davante Adams: 11.27
- Antonio Brown: 11.2
- Julio Jones: 10.63
- JuJu Smith-Schuster: 10.38
- Odell Beckham Jr.: 10.33
- DeAndre Hopkins: 10.19
With 10 targets, Brown will still be in elite company.
Let’s also assume that Brown will play 15 games.
While he’s missed at least one game per year over the past three, he’s never missed more than three games in a season. It’s a little dicey to project a 31-year-old wide receiver with close to a full season of health, but Brown has never been an injury-prone player and he works hard to keep his body in peak physical condition.
Still, that would mean we’re projecting Brown for 150 targets.
For his career, Brown has a 65.7% catch rate. But he had what was probably the worst season of his career in 2018, and he’s had a reduced catch rate of just 61.9% since 2017.
And as much as Brown disliked catching passes from Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, it’s not as if Derek Carr has distinguished himself much with the Raiders.
But Carr did have a career-high 68.5% completion rate in 2018. Sure, it was accompanied by an embarrassing 7.14 average depth of target (aDOT) — one of the lowest marks in the league — but he was able to gift his primary wide receivers and tight ends with passes they could catch.
- Jared Cook: 67.0% on 100 targets
- Jordy Nelson: 72.4% on 87 targets
- Seth Roberts: 68.3% on 63 targets
Let’s assume that with Carr’s newfound accuracy and shorter routes, Brown’s catch rate rebounds to his career mark of 65.7%.
That would give Brown a reception total of 98.6 — too close to the over/under to find any value in this prop.