Brandon LaFell stays in Cincinnati; fantasy value low
The Bengals re-signed their highest-scoring fantasy wideout from 2016, despite hoping he doesn’t again lead the team in fantasy scoring. Brandon LaFell inked a two-year, $10 million contract and has the inside track on Cincinnati’s No. 2 wide receiver job behind A.J. Green in 2017.
LaFell caught 64 passes for 862 yards and six touchdowns during his first season as a Bengal. Much of that production, however, came after Green tore his hamstring. LaFell was the 22nd-highest-scoring fantasy wideout after Week 10, posting 8.6 points per game. Prior to that, he averaged 6.9 with Green on the field.
Despite his end-of-season statistics having been inflated by Green’s absence, the 30-year-old LaFell’s performance was a pleasant surprise. Coming off a disaster of a 2015 in New England, he piled up his second-most catches, yards and touchdowns of his seven-year career. LaFell also posted the sixth-best drop rate out of 51 qualifying wideouts, securing 64 of 66 catchable targets – something that has been a perpetual knock on his game.
Barring another injury to the Bengals’ wide receiver corps, it’s unlikely LaFell will again garner the 101 targets he saw in 2016. If tight end Tyler Eifert can stay healthy, it will make LaFell duplicating his six touchdowns a worse bet as well. While there is a chance he can match his fantasy WR4 production from 2016, too many things will need to go right for LaFell — and wrong for the Bengals — to bank on it. As it stands now, he is little more than a bye-week fill-in or a late-round dart-throw in best-ball leagues.