I looked up from my laptop just in time to see #84 from the Steelers fielding a punt. “Number 84,” I thought, “isn’t that Antonio Brown?”
For some reason the Pittsburgh Steelers had their star receiver, the #1 projected fantasy football receiver for 2015, trying to catch and run back a 50-yard punt with super athletic special teams players barreling down on him with a full head of steam, trying to take his head off.
Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images
Incredibly it isn’t just Pittsburgh. Early in the week, the Broncos announced Emmanuel Sanders, their coveted WR2, would be taking on punt return duties as well.
I’ll never understand why NFL teams risk their entire season for the marginal benefit of inserting a slightly more sure-handed receiver to catch punts but they do.
As a fantasy football owner, it’s maddening because in their normal duties, wide receivers are usually low injury risks. However, when pass catchers have to deal with punts, their health is put in jeopardy.
In redraft leagues, it’s something to factor in before the season. In fact, you may want to trade for a safer player.
In daily leagues, punt returning shouldn’t sway you away from a player in an individual game but, certainly, it’s never fun to see your star player at the bottom of a pile.