The Patriots got Antonio Brown, so invest in Sony Michel



We all think life is a highway (thanks a lot Tom Cochrane). We want to go fast and straight, and we like to believe that the future will cooperate. No one expects turns, we expect gentle sloping curves that bend into the sunset.


For this reason, the greatest advantages we can ask for in Fantasy Football and Gambling are when sharp turns are thrust upon us. The quicker we can learn to accept and adjust to these turns, and even make our own, the quicker we can get ahead of a pack that is still struggling with the idea of not going straight.


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The purpose of that long and pretentious analogy is that Antonio Brown has been a walking left turn for the past month. His unpredictability and atypical behavior have caused the crowd expecting a straight line NFL season to resort to binaries like: He will play, he won’t play; the Raiders will suspend him; they won’t suspend him. They were seeking out a gentle curve when all the yellow signs were blasting warnings for a 90 degree turn coming.


That 90 degree turn was Brown to the Patriots. It is a move that is simultaneously so logical and expected but also stupefying and down right jaw-dropping. People will rush to make an Antonio Brown - Randy Moss connection (again seeking the straightest line), but the truth is a lot murkier.


Both Moss and Brown are former Raiders who had off-field issues contribute to their availability, but their on-field situations are quite different. The year before being traded to the ‘07 patriots, Randy Moss had 553 yards and 3 TDs in 13 games; last year, Antonio Brown had 1297 yards and 15 touchdowns in 15 games. In fact, Brown is coming off of the most yards over a six year stretch EVER. In the history of the NFL.


Another straight line trying to be drawn is that Brown will benefit Josh Gordon the most by drawing away coverage. The group that wants everything to unfold logically and linearly sees one wide receiver be added to a team and goes directly to their counterpart. Certainly Gordon may benefit from reduced coverage, but he may also see decreased targets, altered game plans, and at the very least we now know he is the #2 in New England, not the #1.


So, if we force ourselves not to follow everyone down this straight path, we can turn and find real value ahead of the pack.


In this case, we should turn to Sony Michel.


I outlined the basics of this case on Twitter, but there are several reasons to expect Michel’s situation to improve:


1) The coverage that Brown, Gordon, and Edelman draw mean that the defense will be lining up with smaller personnel more consistently. Stacked boxes will be non-existent making Michel the likely beneficiary of defensive scheme changes.


For context, the 2007 Patriots as a team rushed for 1849 yards and 17 touchdowns, even as Moss scored 23 himself. Granted this team was one of the greatest offenses of all time, but this Patriots team will not be far behind, and Michel is THE back.


2) Given the explosive nature of the Patriots current offense, they will be playing from the lead more often than not. Add in a defense with the teeth to slow down any offense and a coach who schemed two scoreless halves from Patrick Mahomes last year, and Michel will be called upon often to ice games.


3) Finally, with Brown on the team, every offensive player will have less stress on them. That benefits the 42 year old QB and the 33 year old slot WR coming, but it also benefits the 24 year old running back with serious knee issues. With less touches, but more opportunities, Michel is in a position to maintain his scoring and rushing while also staying fresher and more capable over the course of the season.


So in summary, a team that will score more, play from in front more, and be able to protect its players more will benefit the running back. Despite it not being a straight line from Brown's signing, it is the line that will yield the most opportunity while everyone else barrels straight past.


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It can be hard to make a turn out of fear it could be a wrong turn, but what we must also consider is that by not turning we are also making a decision that could be wrong. Life’s decisions are not always fork-in-the-road slight right or slight left turns, but are sometimes the choice between going straight and turning


In this case, let’s take the road less traveled - just like Antonio Brown would.

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