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Should Antonio Brown Make the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame?



The NFL has given the stage to some of the world’s greatest athletes and performers. While some players have maximized their opportunities and eventually made the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the NFL’s process for inducting some of the greatest of all-time talents has created uncertainty for hopefuls.

And after former Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown tweeted his own Hall of Fame résumé, we’re diving into whether Brown should make the Hall of Fame.

Should Antonio Brown Make the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

Brown has the on-field résumé of an NFL Hall of Famer. A Super Bowl champion who made first-team All-Pro four times and the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team, Brown helped redefine how evaluators looked at dominant wide receivers. At only 5’10” and 185 pounds, Brown was as unguardable as any player to have ever played the position sans Jerry Rice.

Brown’s incredible stretch of play from 2013 through 2018 made up the vast majority of his production, though he also made the Pro Bowl in his second year in 2011. In the six-year span, he caught no fewer than 101 passes for 1,284 yards and eight touchdowns in any season. He led the NFL in receptions twice, in yards twice, and in touchdowns once. His 2015 season featured a career-high 136 catches for 1,834 yards.

After his fantastic career in Pittsburgh came to an end due to a contract dispute, Brown’s off-field issues destroyed his reputation and opportunities. He was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders but never played a down for them, and was released later that season after playing just one game for the New England Patriots.

MORE: Best Wide Receivers in the NFL 2023

Brown rejoined Tom Brady in Tampa Bay for two seasons but ended his own career by storming off the field during a game midway through the season.

Entering 2023, Brown’s all-time ranks are impressive. He sits 21st with 928 receptions, 24th in receiving yards with 12,291, 25th with 83 touchdowns, and is fourth all-time in yards per game with 84.2 across 12 seasons. The only receiver with a similar résumé who isn’t in the Hall of Fame and is eligible is Torry Holt.

Still, Brown’s on-field case isn’t quite bulletproof. His lack of longevity is a glaring hole compared to others who finished their careers with more yards. Across 25 games between 2018-2021, Brown totaled just 107 receptions for 1,251 yards and nine touchdowns. He cost himself the opportunity to continue producing at a high level in those last three seasons.

Even a modest projection of another 2,000 yards from 2019-2021 would have put Brown 11th all-time in yards behind Reggie Wayne. Of the top 25 leaders in receiving yards, Steve Smith, Wayne, Andre Johnson, Anquan Boldin, Henry Ellard, Holt, Irving Fryar, and Jimmy Smith are eligible but not yet in the Hall of Fame. To get in, Brown’s biggest case is that his peak earned him the nod over the lower peaks but better consistency than his peers.

antonio brown

Why Antonio Brown Won’t Make the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Brown’s statistical case is strong but not perfect. However, when Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis made the Hall of Fame despite only four productive seasons in his seven-year career, there became more of a gray area when it came to voting. Davis, like Brown, was transcendent during his peak, and that should be part of the voting process.

Brown may have to wait for others to get in, though. Larry Fitzgerald is a lock to get in eventually. Smith and Wayne have strong cases, and both Johnson and Holt may be borderline. Brown had a better peak than each of those players, but the same precedent that got Davis in hasn’t been made at wide receiver yet.

Then, there’s obviously Brown’s off-field issues. We saw Terrell Owens, an unquestionable top-three NFL wide receiver, fail to make the Hall of Fame until the third time he was on the ballot. Owens ranked eighth in receptions and third in receiving yards and touchdowns, but both the players and media on the voting committee punished him for being an outspoken personality.

Owens called out the voting process in 2021 when Calvin Johnson made it as a first-ballot inductee over Holt and Wayne, saying “there’s no justification” to who gets in and when they do. While Owens had to wait to enter the Hall of Fame, Brown’s list of transgressions will be much more troublesome for his own case than Owens’ outspoken personality.

From 2018-2022, Brown found himself benched with the Steelers, was traded to the Raiders before being released after fighting with then-general manager Mike Mayock, was sued for sexual assault and later released by the Patriots after threatening text messages were made public, suspended for eight games for a separate felony assault and battery charge, supplying the NFL with a fake vaccination card, then undressed mid-game and ran to the Buccaneers’ locker room in his final NFL contest.

MORE: Predicting the 2024 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class

Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin lauded Brown’s “unbelievable will [and] work ethic,” but the team opted against bringing him back at any point. New England head coach Bill Belichick was willing to give Brown a chance after falling out so quickly with the Steelers and Raiders, but his ominous comments after signing Brown that the team would have to “see how [it] goes” were justifiably cautious that it would ever work out.

Brown also fell out of favor with Tom Brady after Brady pushed for the Patriots and Buccaneers to sign him.

It’s hard to burn so many bridges in the NFL and continue to be rewarded. Owens couldn’t be denied his eventual entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but Brown’s case can be swept under the rug and forgotten much easier. His off-field antics have undoubtedly cost him millions of dollars and will likely be the reason he doesn’t make the Hall of Fame.

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Should You Start Christian Watson, Dontayvion Wicks, Jayden Reed, or Romeo Doubs in Fantasy Football in Week 13?




We’re diving into the outlooks for Christian Watson, Dontayvion Wicks, Jayden Reed, and Romeo Doubs in fantasy football for Week 13. Who is the better Green Bay Packers wide receiver to start this week?

Should You Start Christian Watson, Dontayvion Wicks, Jayden Reed, or Romeo Doubs This Week?

The Pro Football Network Start/Sit Optimizer says Reed is the player to start. His projected 8.7 points include 3.9 receptions, 53.9 yards, and 0.2 TDs. That doesn’t seem like a big stat line, but it outperforms the PFN Consensus Projection for Watson (8.2 points), Doubs (7.8 points), and Wicks (4.8 points).

However, when you isolate my rankings, I see Watson outperforming all of Reed, Doubs, and Wicks. Watson balled out on Thanksgiving and has a unique skill set. The matchup is tough all around for them. Watson’s size and elite speed, along with being the alpha, make him the top choice for me.

Fantasy Outlook for Watson This Week

This season has been a disappointment for Watson and his managers, but Thanksgiving offered a glimmer of hope. Watson finished with his highest point total of the season, with 17.9 half-PPR points. That was good enough to make him the WR10 on the week. Most of that damage was done in the first half, too.

MORE: Fantasy News Tracker

All year, Watson has been good by most metrics; he and Jordan Love just seemed to miss on his deep routes. All three primary receivers (Watson, Doubs, Reed) are targeted at similar rates, even with regard to first reads. The biggest difference? Watson’s average depth of target (aDOT) is 5-6 yards deeper than his teammates.

This means that Watson is the best bet for more yardage over any of his teammates. The Chiefs CBs are a tough matchup, though. Reed is the other top option and gets Trent McDuffie, the Chiefs top cover CB, in the slot. Watson and Doubs see L’Jarius Sneed or Jaylen Watson. Watson is the easiest one to pass against.

Fantasy Outlook for Wicks This Week

Wicks is the Packers’ fourth receiver on the depth chart. He had been trending up, but after missing last week with the concussion, and with Watson blowing up, Wicks is just a possible stash.

Wicks has been an efficient WR when seeing opportunities this season. Just don’t expect him to see a ton of them. When Watson has been healthy, Wicks has not played more than 44% of snaps in any game. He’s seen at least four targets in each of his last four games played, but that’s a tough bet to gamble on.

Fantasy Outlook for Reed This Week

Reed has been probably the Packers’ best, most consistent fantasy WR this season. Reed has been a top-36 fantasy WR in seven of his 11 games. While all of that is true, and he’s the safest bet most weeks, this isn’t most weeks.

MORE: Kyle Soppe’s Week 13 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet

It’s hard to throw on the Chiefs in the slot. McDuffie is the primary slot CB for the Chiefs, and he’s been elite this season. On the year, McDuffie has allowed just a single TD when in coverage. Teams look to avoid him most weeks — he’s seen four or fewer targets against in six of his 11 games on the year.

Reed has recently been involved in running the ball as well as receiving it. This likely keeps him viable for fantasy in Week 13, but his ceiling is still limited. He would be my favorite non-Watson option, but he, like all the Packers WRs, is risky this week.

Fantasy Outlook for Doubs This Week

Doubs has been a touchdown-dependent player for fantasy. Since Watson came back from injury, any of his relevant weeks came when he’s found the end zone. All of his top-15 finishes came without Watson playing, and he’s recorded a top-40 finish just four times with Watson in the seven games they’ve played together.

Doubs also hasn’t drawn targets with Watson and Reed there. Since Week 5, he’s seen over six targets just once. In that same span, he’s had more than four catches just once as well. He’s the third-best option of the four but will only be worthwhile to roster if he can find the end zone, and that’s just not a smart bet to make.

Looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Setting DFS lineups? Check out PFN’s Free Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer, Start/Sit Optimizer, and DFS Lineup Optimizer to help you make the right decision!

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What Are the Chances of Getting a Top-5 Pick?




On Wednesday, we explored possible postseason paths for the Cincinnati Bengals, who are 5-6 and sit one game out of the seventh and final AFC playoff spot.

Those playoff scenarios mostly involved winning out to go 11-6, although no 10-7 team has ever failed to make the playoffs since the NFL went to the 17-game schedule in 2021.

But what if things go completely the other way? What if the Bengals fail to win another game with Joe Burrow out for the year with a wrist injury and a defense that ranks among the league’s worst in many metrics and main statistics?

How high of a draft pick could the Bengals reasonably expect to get if they finish 5-12?

What Are the Chances the Bengals Get a Top-5 Pick?

It’s a weird dynamic for fans of the Bengals, many of whom probably can’t bring themselves to openly root against the team during the three hours they are playing. But for the other 165 hours in a week, they find themselves hoping for the highest draft pick possible to help bolster a roster that might be just a little too Burrow-reliant.

And Burrow is the key piece here. There’s a belief that the Bengals can be right back in the playoffs and Super Bowl conversation next year simply by inserting the variable of a healthy Burrow.

It’s not as though the team will be facing a two-to-three-year rebuild if it craters to 5-12. However, ending the season on a nine-game losing streak certainly could cloud the culture Zac Taylor has built and cause some doubt to creep into the locker room.

But those are hypothetical intangibles, and we’re here to talk about math.

Using the PFN’s NFL Playoff Predictor, I marked the Bengals for losses in each remaining game and then hit the simulate button to run results for the other 86 games remaining on the NFL schedule.

After running dozens of simulations where the Bengals lose out, their average draft spot was 5.8. The highest they picked was fourth, and the lowest was eighth. However, those numbers come with a caveat.


In every single simulation, the Bengals finished tied with at least one other team at 5-12.

The tiebreaker for the NFL Draft is strength of schedule (the combined winning percentage of all of your opponents). Among tied teams, the one with the lowest strength of schedule number picks first.

Based on 2022 results, the Bengals came into the season with one of the hardest schedules in the league, and just as that has helped lead to the 5-6 start, it could bite them again come draft time because their current strength of schedule number is .552.

MORE: Cincinnati Bengals Depth Chart

Only three teams have a tougher strength of schedule, and the Steelers (.561), Browns (.556), and Chiefs (.556) are not going to be involved in a tiebreaker procedure for a top-10 pick in the draft.

The teams most often showing up in the bottom six during the simulations have lower strength of schedules and, therefore, would beat the Bengals in any tiebreaker.

They include:

  • Patriots (.544)
  • Panthers (.537)
  • Cardinals (.533)
  • Bears (.456)
  • Giants (.474)
  • Commanders (.489)

Some people might look at those numbers and think that with six games and 35 percent of the schedule remaining, a lot can change.

But the key to remember is that with the way the NFL schedule is structured — with each team in a division having only three unique games out of 17 — almost every time a Cincinnati opponent loses, the Bengals’ strength of schedule is theoretically lowered. However, that loss is most likely coming against another team the Bengals have played, thereby raising that team’s strength of schedule and creating a wash.

The Bengals are 7.5-point underdogs at Jacksonville on Monday. Early projections for Week 14 have the Colts favored by 2 at Paycor Stadium.

The Bengals might be a slight favorite against the Vikings in Week 15, but they’ll be underdogs at the Steelers in Week 16, at the Chiefs in Week 17, and possibly at home against the Browns in Week 18.

Teams with a shot of finishing with five wins or less, their current record, and remaining schedule:

  • Panthers (1-10): at Buccaneers (4-7), at Saints (5-6), Falcons (5-6), Packers (5-6), at Jaguars, Buccaneers (4-7)
  • Cardinals (2-10): at Steelers (7-4), Bye, 49ers (8-3), at Bears (4-8), at Eagles (10-1), Seahawks (6-5)
  • Patriots (2-9): Chargers (4-7), at Steelers (7-4), Chiefs (8-3), at Broncos (6-5), at Bills (6-6), Jets (4-7)
  • Buccaneers (4-7): Panthers (1-10), at Falcons (5-6), at Packers (5-6), Jaguars (8-3), Saints (5-6), at Panthers (1-10)
  • Titans (4-7): Colts (6-5), at Dolphins (8-3), Texans (6-5), Seahawks (6-5), at Texans (6-5), Jaguars (8-3)
  • Jets (4-7): Falcons (5-6), Texans (6-5), at Dolphins (8-3), Commanders (4-8), at Browns (7-4), at Patriots (2-9)
  • Chargers (4-7): at Patriots (2-9), Broncos (6-5), at Raiders (5-7), Bills (6-6), at Broncos (6-5), Chiefs (8-3)
  • Bears (4-8): Bye, Lions (8-3), at Browns (7-4), Cardinals (2-10), Falcons (5-6), at Packers (5-6),
  • Commanders (4-8): Dolphins (8-3), Bye, at Rams (5-6), at Jets (4-7), 49ers (8-3), Cowboys (8-3)
  • Giants (4-8): Bye, Packers (5-6), at Saints (5-6), at Eagles (10-1), Rams (5-6), Eagles (10-1)

While Bengals fans might struggle to cheer against the team, they certainly can have guilt-free rooting interests in the other games across the league. Here is a look at Week 13 games involved in the derby for a top-five pick and which team Bengals fans should be pulling for to increase their odds of a better draft pick should the Cincinnati season completely implode.

  • Chargers at Patriots: Patriots
  • Cardinals at Steelers: Cardinals
  • Falcons at Jets: Jets
  • Dolphins at Commanders: Commanders
  • Colts at Titans: Titans
  • Panthers at Buccaneers: Buccaneers

Want to predict the rest of the 2023 season with our FREE NFL Playoff Predictor? Looking for the most up-to-date NFL standings? What about a breakdown of team depth charts or the NFL schedule? Pro Football Network has you covered with that and more! 

Listen to the PFN Bengals Podcast

Listen to the PFN Bengals Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Bengals Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Bengals Podcast on our NFL YouTube channel.

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Are Princeton Fant and Noah Fant Related? A Look at the Cousins Playing on Thursday Night Football




Princeton Fant and Noah Fant are set for a reunion of sorts on Thursday Night Football when the Dallas Cowboys square off against the Seattle Seahawks. The cousins will be on opposite teams for the contest.

Are Princeton Fant and Noah Fant Related?

Princeton was elevated from the Cowboys’ practice squad to their active roster on Thursday, the franchise announced, making it possible for him to play against his cousin Noah, who plays for the Seahawks. Both play the tight end position, though they are a bit apart in age, with Noah now 26 years old and Princeton currently 24.

MORE: Dallas Cowboys Depth Chart | Seattle Seahawks Depth Chart

Princeton has yet to make an appearance in an NFL game after signing with Dallas as an undrafted free agent in the offseason. He played a hybrid role during his six-year college career at Tennessee, initially playing as a running back in 2018 after a redshirt year in 2017, then moving to tight end ahead of the 2019 season.

Princeton played in all 13 of the Volunteers’ games in 2022, his final collegiate season, catching 22 passes for 241 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran the ball six times for 17 yards and five touchdowns as an effective short-yardage running back option and even threw a 66-yard touchdown pass to current Giants rookie Jalin Hyatt on a trick play during a game that season.

Those exploits earned him a spot on Dallas’ practice squad, where he has been throughout the year before Thursday’s elevation to the active roster and a potential opportunity to make his NFL debut.

Princeton’s cousin Noah will be suiting up on the opposite side of the field for the Seahawks as usual.

Noah has been a solid contributor to Seattle’s passing game this season, catching 19 passes for 261 yards through 11 appearances, all starts. He also started 16 of 17 games for the franchise a year ago, racking up 50 catches for 486 yards and four touchdowns.

Noah spent three years at the University of Iowa from 2016-18 before declaring for the 2019 NFL Draft and being selected 20th overall by the Denver Broncos. He spent the first three years of his professional career in Denver, emerging as a serviceable player at tight end before being traded to Seattle as part of the Broncos’ deal for quarterback Russell Wilson.

Noah has since provided a reliable third option in the passing game behind standout wide receivers Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf.

Now, the two cousins’ teams are set to square off at the NFL level and reunite them on the football field. Whether Princeton makes his professional debut on the night remains to be seen, but it should certainly be a special moment for the cousins regardless of playing time.

Want to predict the rest of the 2023 season with our FREE NFL Playoff Predictor? Looking for the most up-to-date NFL standings? What about a breakdown of team depth charts or the NFL schedule? Pro Football Network has you covered with that and more! 

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