After a weird weekend – which ultimately ended with Antonio Brown losing a grievance against the NFL over the right to wear an outdated helmet – the embattled wide receiver returned to Raiders training camp on Tuesday.
It has not been the summer Raiders' brass had likely hoped for, as it has also been reported that Brown has been late to meetings and he's also dealing with a frostbite issue on his feet that was caused by cryogenic therapy. Considering Brown threatened retirement if the NFL wouldn't allow him to wear his old helmet, a Schutt Air Advantage adult large model, his return should bring a sigh of relief to Raiders camp.
The focus will now shift to Brown's preparation for the upcoming season, which was previously halted due to his troublesome feet. While he was seen doing some running drills as seen on HBO's first episode of "Hard Knocks," Brown still isn't practicing in pads (he could today) and likely won't suit up for any of the Raiders' remaining preseason games.
While the veteran surely doesn't need to play in any preseason games to prove his status as a No. 1 WR, a return to practice will be key when it comes to his fantasy football stock. For those eyeing Brown in the mid-to-late second round of drafts, it will be important to know that AB is healthy and ready to start Week 1.
Brown is currently WR9, according to his average draft position (ADP), and the 22nd pick overall. The fact that he'll be switching teams while dealing with all of this, along with a QB downgrade from Ben Roethlisberger to Derek Carr, Brown is a riskier early selection in drafts.
Brown is currently followed in ADP by four other WRs – Adam Thielen, Keenan Allen, TY Hilton and Amari Cooper – who all have their own warts when it comes to the upcoming season. It's clear AB has the most upside of this group, but guys like Thielen and Allen, in particular, seem like considerably safer options in 2019.
If Brown is able to get over his foot injury by Week 1, however, he may very well be worth the pick in round two. While the QB downgrade is significant, Brown possesses talent that transcends who is throwing him the ball, and Carr's ability to throw the deep pass could result in more first-year success between the pair than many in the fantasy industry are predicting.
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