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Steelers Antonio Brown is a Top-12 Receiver Against the Bengals

Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown’s targets have dropped off in recent weeks, but in PPR leagues he continues to be a great flex play. I see him pushing for top-12 receiver status in Week 13 against AFC North rival Cincinnati at Heinz Field.

Cincinnati’s Leon Hall is on injured reserve. Nate Clements didn’t practice on Friday with a bum hamstring. That’s the Bengals cornerback situation. Pass rushing defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who didn’t play in the Week 10 meeting, will be out again. More time and more opening for Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger to find receivers like Brown and No. 1 Mike Wallace.

Hall injured his Achilles with less than two minutes to go in the first half of the Week 10 meeting while covering Brown. Brown went on to finish with a 13.2-point day after catching five balls for 86 yards on six targets.

Brown has been a target magnet since Week 7’s nine-target day against Arizona. He has since had games of 15, 11, 6 and 6 targets. I would certainly rather see target days like he had three and four games ago, but he continues to produce with the lower targets.

His breakout was the Week 7 nine-target game that he turned into seven catches for 102 yards. He followed with a nine-catch, 67-yard, one-TD game on 15 targets. The 11-target game produced a five-catch, 109-yard day. The targets dropped off to six the last two weeks, but Brown has gone 5-for-86 and 4-for-81, leading the Steelers in receiving yards both times.

Cincinnati has the fifth-best rushing defense in the league at 92.7 yards per game with 10 touchdowns allowed. And the Steelers continue to let you know this isn’t your daddy’s Steelers — they are a passing team. They rank eighth in the NFL at 264.9 yards per game with 17 touchdowns, while the run game is ranked 18th at 109.6 yards per game.

So it is through the air where the Steelers will succeed and where the Bengals are currently vulnerable. Pittsburgh is third in points per game from fantasy receivers this season (6th the last five weeks), while Cincinnati is 16th against fantasy receivers and 31st the last five weeks.

Start Brown with confidence and expect a bounce back from Mike Wallace.

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter