Brandon LaFell a WR3 after signing with Bengals
Former New England Patriots’ wide receiver Brandon LaFell has signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport.
LaFell was a major disappointment for the Patriots in 2015, and he finished the season as our 119th-ranked wideout, earning a 47.0 overall grade (out of 100). He played in 11 games, catching 37 passes for 515 yards and no touchdowns.
From a fantasy perspective, LaFell was an afterthought in 2015. He was a top-30 wideout just once (in Week 9), and he was never a top-20 option. There was no point in owning him down the stretch.
With that said, LaFell was more than serviceable — both on the real football field and in fantasy — in 2014, when he caught 74 balls for 953 yards and seven touchdowns. He posted nine games as a WR3 or better that season, including four games as a WR1.
LaFell is primed for a bounce-back season with the Bengals. He fills a void in Cincinnati’s receiving corps, as the team lost Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu to free agency. As of now, LaFell is in line to be second on the team’s depth chart behind stud A.J. Green, but he will have to compete for targets — particularly valuable red zone targets — with tight end Tyler Eifert. Cincinnati might also spend a high draft pick on a wide receiver, so this remains a fluid situation.
With its key players still in place, Cincinnati will have a potent offense once again in 2016, and LaFell could be a benefactor. Remember, the Bengals produced two wideouts (Green and Jones) who were at least WR3 material last season in PPR leagues, and it’s reasonable to think LaFell could put up similar statistics to Jones. Jones finished 2015 with 65 catches for 816 yards and four touchdowns. LaFell’s 2014 season was better.
While LaFell is not going to be a WR1 or WR2 in fantasy, he’s worth a look as a tail-end WR3 — assuming he is able to secure the No. 2 wideout spot for the Bengals. Additionally, given his down season in 2015, LaFell should come cheap in fantasy drafts.