Leading up to a huge Week 3 game in Los Angeles, Antonio Brown’s availability is now in question. He’s been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and we’ve seen numerous players have been inactive over the past two seasons for this reason. So, will Brown play in Week 3? We’ll have the latest updates below, as well as how fantasy rankings and start ’em, sit ’em decisions could be affected by a possible Brown absence.
We’ll continue to update this post with the latest news on Brown as more information rolls in For all the latest fantasy updates, follow us on Twitter @SN_Fantasy.
Is Antonio Brown playing in Week 3?
UPDATE: ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Brown tested positive. He can still play with two negative tests within 24 hours, but obviously after a positive test (assuming it’s not a false positive), the odds of Brown playing go down.
UPDATE 2: Bucs beat writer Greg Auman reported Friday that Brown is “expected to miss” Sunday’s game.
To be available for Week 3, Brown must have two negative tests 24 hours apart leading up to kickoff. As we are four days away from Sunday, there’s plenty of time, but we can’t speculate on whether he’ll be available just yet (though we’re optimistic). For now, pencil him into your lineups, but have a worthwhile backup ready to go. Chances are, we’ll know Brown’s status well before kickoff, so this shouldn’t come down to 3 p.m. ET on Sunday.
UPDATE 3: Brown has officially been ruled out for the game against the Rams, and did not travel to Los Angeles, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Bucs’ WR Antonio Brown did not make the trip to Los Angeles and is out for Sunday’s game vs. the Rams, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 25, 2021
What we can do is figure out how his absence would affect other players if he can’t play. Mike Evans is the most likely candidate to be shadowed by Jalen Ramsey, but we don’t know that for a fact. If Brown is out, the options come down to just Evans and Chris Godwin. Since Ramsey usually covers the big-bodied X-receivers, Evans is even more likely to be on “Ramsey Island” in Brown’s absence.
We’ve already ranked Evans as the lowest Bucs’ WR, and we’re even more confident in that if he has to deal with Ramsey all day. We also can’t completely rule out the chance Ramsey covers Rob Gronkowski a lot in this game, either. It’s a true wild card, but Gronk should see more targets in this case. Godwin will be used early and often in the slot, so he’s easily the No. 1 Bucs receiver, even more so with the uncertainly of Brown. Cameron Brate, Tyler Johnson, and Scotty Miller are all candidates to take on expanded roles, too, but none would be fantasy relevant outside of big DFS contests.
As always in fantasy, always have a backup plan, and if you missed the first round of waiver wire targets, check back again for the best Week 3 pickups.