Editor's Note: This article first appeared on CBS Fantasy and was written by Dave Richard.
Martavis Bryant was suspended for all of the 2016 season after multiple drug policy violations. He's been conditionally reinstated and is allowed to do just about everything but practice with the team and play in a game. But once he meets specific criteria regarding treatment, he'll be given a green light to play. At this point it's safe to assume he'll return in time for training camp and the preseason.
Normally we're nervous to trust players who come back from a year-long suspension, but this is different. Bryant told Sports Illustrated in January that he's aware this is his last chance to make it in football. He's given up marijuana, moved out of Los Angeles and into a quiet Las Vegas suburb (away from the strip) and cut down on outside influences. He spent the past year coaching receivers at a Las Vegas-area high school.
It's especially worth noting that Bryant has kept himself in shape and even put on some weight.
At 25 years old and working in an offense where he can put up some huge numbers (hold that thought!) without being the No. 1 option, Bryant has massive Fantasy potential. Remember, he's sharing the field with Antonio Brown among other receiving threats, so it's not like teams can tilt coverage toward the 6-foot-4 Bryant and feel good about their coverage. His size/speed combination creates a problem that every defensive coordinator will have sleepless nights thinking about.
Bryant has played in 21 games. He's scored 14 touchdowns. He has five games with over 100 yards and seven with at least 80. He's had at least seven targets in nine of his last 11 games. He plays with a quarterback who thrives when he plays at home and could use some help when he's on the road. And by the way, the Pittsburgh Steelers have a pretty good schedule in 2017.
As long as Bryant keeps his act together, and so long as he remains with the Steelers, he's going to be one of the very best boom-or-bust receivers in Fantasy Football. Landing 100 targets over the course of the season is definitely in play, and an eight- or nine-touchdown effort is a legitimate reality.
There will come a point in your Fantasy draft where you'll either want to or have to take a chance on a player because all of the "reliable" ones have been taken. Bryant's the perfect guy to take that chance on. Even though he's been out of football for a year, Bryant deserves consideration as a No. 3 wide receiver option worth a Round 7 pick (maybe even late Round 6 if you really like him). His value isn't quite as strong in PPR formats since he could only end up wrangling 55 or 60 catches or so, but that would make him still worth that Round 7 price tag.
Listen to the Scout Bears' Insider about who the Bears might take with the third pick & our Titans' Insider thinks Tennessee COULD TRADE the fifth pick in the 2017 NFL Draft!