There were a ton of receivers changing teams this offseason, and as a result, their fantasy football value will be up in the air. One player that changed cities was WR Brandon LaFell, who signed with New England Patriots after years with the Carolina Panthers. LaFell now gets to catch balls from first-ballot Hall of Famer Tom Brady and the wideout can expect to see an uptick in his fantasy value as a result.
LaFell caught five touchdowns last season, which was shockingly one more than former Pro Bowler Steve Smith. He showed an innate ability to win battles in the air for the ball and the wideout has the size (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) to outmuscle opposing defensive backs near the line of scrimmage.
LaFell has the potential to secure a spot in the starting four in New England and anything could happen with Brady throwing the ball. If he earns the quarterback’s trust early on, he could become a popular WR3 by the end of the year.
Despite the attention this offseason, LaFaell had rather pedestrian numbers in 2013. He was third on the team in receiving yards (627) and was outshined by Ted Ginn in several weeks. LaFell isn’t the fastest wideout and tends to get off the line of scrimmage rather slowly.
Brady is one of the toughest players to work with in the league. He will demand absolute perfection from Lafaell in his route running and play recognition. If the former LSU standout can’t pick up the offense, then he won’t be on the field much and will fall into the category of worthless New England wideouts.
Even more concerning, New England has more than a handful of serviceable wideouts. Including LaFell, the team still has Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Josh Boyce, Kenbrell Thompkins, and Aaron Dobson on the roster. It could get very crowded this season in New England for LaFell.
Any wideout with Tom Brady as their quarterback has the potential to have fantasy value. If LaFell earns Brady trust this preseason, he could easily turn into the Edelman of 2013. If he doesn’t, though, LaFell could quickly find himself on the bench next to kicker Stephen Gostkowski. Draft him as a WR5 and cross your fingers he picks up the offense quickly.
Bye Week: 12
Projected Round: 15
Auction Value: $1