Carolina Panthers

Brandon LaFell: Panthers Receiver Is a Must-Add to Your Fantasy Team

Aug 11, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA Carolina Panthers wide receiver Brandon LaFell (11) comes out of the tunnel before the preseason game against the Houston Texans at Bank of America Stadium. The Texans defeated the Panthers 26-13. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE
Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2012

Did you know that after two weeks, only Cam Newton has more fantasy points for the Carolina Panthers than Brandon LaFell in standard-scoring leagues?

Did you also know that LaFell is only owned in 25.4 percent of ESPN leagues and 32 percent of Yahoo! leagues?

Here's what you should know: Go add him if he is available in your league. Put in a waiver claim now. He may not be the sexiest addition out there, but he should be a steady flex play for your team, especially in deeper leagues.

He's started 2012 off with a bang. As of Monday morning, LaFell is ninth in the NFL among receivers in fantasy points. He has more than his teammate, Steve Smith.

He hasn't benefited from a flash-in-the-pan game or one long touchdown reception to get him here, either—he has nine receptions for 155 yards and a touchdown this season on 13 targets. He's scored 12.5 and 11.5 points respectively. He's clearly one of Newton's two favorite options in the passing game (only Smith has more targets on the Panthers, with 15).

Now, I'm not saying you'll be getting Victor Cruz if you add him. Smith remains the most dangerous receiver in Carolina, and LaFell is a player from whom you should be hoping to get seven to 12 points per week.  

Still, as a WR3 or WR4, he gives you great depth in the event of injuries, will be a solid flex play depending on weekly matchups and will certainly come in handy during those tricky bye weeks.

I don't expect his production will wane. While the Panthers are at their best when they run the ball successfully, Newton has thrown the ball 53 times for 556 yards after two games this season. And it's clear the Panthers have been hoping he would develop into a threat in the passing game.

From Ron Green Jr. of the Charlotte Observer:

Among the Panthers’ training camp priorities was developing LaFell into the team’s No. 2 receiver, a dangerous alternative to Steve Smith, who still warrants double coverage. LaFell made progress in the second half of last year and has built on it.

“Ever since Moose (Muhsin Muhammad) retired and also with Ricky (Proehl) retiring, we’ve been looking for a guy to step in and step up. I think Brandon has done that,” [Steve] Smith said.

“He’s grown and he’s improving. He’s been doing a great job. He pushes me. I push him.” 

If you could use steady (if unspectacular) production from the wide receiver position, LaFell is your guy. If he is still available in your league, add him now. Name your team "LaFell on Black Days" (for the Soundgarden fans among us).

And be glad you have such a reliable player in your flex or waiting on your bench.

 

Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets are still in the Heisman race.

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