Most of the production New England Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson had as a rookie in 2013 came in an nine-game stretch from Week 2-Week 11, as he had 35 receptions for 492 yards and four touchdowns with at least three catches in seven of those nine games and at least 49 receiving yards six times over that stretch. But a foot issue caused him to miss three games toward the end of the regular season, he totaled just two receptions for 27 yards in Week 16 and 17 combined and wound up missing New England’s first playoff game after aggravating his foot injury in the regular season finale.
Dobson may be in line for a bigger role next season, with Julian Edelman headed for free agency and Danny Amendola proving to be something less than a Wes Welker replacement during this past season. Should fantasy football owners be optimistic about the 2013 second-round pick’s outlook for 2014?
Any Patriots’ wide receiver has to grasp the complexities of the team’s playbook to see the field a lot, and the fact Dobson struggled in that area early in his rookie season should not be considered a major red flag in terms of his football intelligence. Another offseason of work, particularly if he is anointed as a starter at some point, will only help Dobson become someone quarterback Tom Brady can rely on looking toward next season.
Dobson is already a viable red zone weapon due to his size (6’3″, 210 lbs.) and excellent catch radius, but it’s safe to say he needs some work as an all-around receiver. New England’s coaching staff is likely to make his development a top offseason priority, and his playing time is in line to increase next season after playing less than half of the Patriots’ offensive snaps (46.4 percent, per ESPN Boston.com) as a rookie.
Dobson’s value and draftability for next season will be determined by his progress through the offseason and how the Patriots’ wide receiver group takes shape over the course of free agency and May’s draft. In any case he is an under-the-radar hold (or addition, if he is available) for owners in deep dynasty leagues, with the potential to be roster-worthy in 12 and 14-team single-season leagues if things break right.
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.