Gather ‘round kids, it’s story time. Let me tell you a story about a guy who loved to play fantasy football. This guy was in a very high-stakes league, with a lot of money involved. His league-mates were impatient, and loved to have their draft extremely early. So, at the end of July, they drafted. This guy was a very-well prepared fantasy player, and was very happy with his draft. His quarterback was Ben Roethlisberger. Many mocked this selection. He defended it adamantly, believing the Steelers to have the most dynamic offense in the league. The Steelers boast possibly the top back in the league, Le’Veon Bell, who is a dynamic runner who is also arguably the best receiving running back in the NFL. They have Antonio Brown, perhaps the best receiver in the league, who while undersized, is an extremely versatile receiver who can play against all types of coverage. He has the perfect compliment in Martavis Bryant. Bryant was a rookie a year ago, but is the ultimate deep threat, catching eight touchdowns as a rookie and averaging well over 20 yards a catch. This guy also had Bryant on his team, believing he got a steal to put in his flex spot. He sat and laughed as Kelvin Benjamin and Jordy Nelson both suffered season-long injuries. While he felt sorry for the players, he felt it was what his league-mates deserved for rushing the draft. Now karma has struck, and Martavis Bryant will miss the first four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
If you haven’t guessed by now, that guy is me, and I’m still a little sour about it. For a long time now, we knew Le’Veon Bell would not be on the field to start the season. His three game suspension has been reduced to two, however, and it looks like it shouldn’t by too big of a deal for anyone. Now Bryant is out for the same amount of time as Tom Brady, the first quarter of the season. Think about this: on opening night in New England, Le’Veon Bell, Tom Brady, and Martavis Bryant will all be on the sideline. The NFL might think they’re doing what’s best for them, but what they’re really doing is self-inflicting themselves with wounds that will probably drop viewership, and therefore cost them money.
The Bryant suspension is not definite at this point. He is appealing, and as we all know, appeals of NFL suspensions can take forever. Tom Brady appealed in the middle of May, had his appeal hearing at the end of June, and still
it wasn’t ruled on until the end of July. Oh yeah, and the “crime” he’s being punished for occurred in January.
In 2014, there were a multitude of rookie receivers that burst on to the scene. Amidst the rise of Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, and Sammy Watkins, among many others, Bryant kind of got lost in the shuffle. All he did was catch 26 passes for 549 yards, 8 touchdowns, and his deep threat helped open up even more for the already dynamic Antonio Brown. As it stands right now, Bryant will miss games against the Patriots, 49ers, Rams, and Ravens.