Brandon LaFell's Updated 2013 Fantasy Outlook After Week 3

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistSeptember 22, 2013

Sep 22, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Brandon LaFell (11) catches a touchdown pass as New York Giants defensive back Terrell Thomas (24) defends in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Brandon LaFell might finally be ready to live up to his fantasy potential.

LaFell is putting together an extremely strong performance against the New York Giants in Week 3. Early in the third quarter he's already racked up three catches for 53 yards and two touchdowns. He didn't record a score in the first two weeks.

The 2013 third-round selection has always possessed the talent to become a valuable fantasy commodity. But he's struggled to prove it with Carolina relying heavily on the run and Steve Smith serving as the top target in the passing game.

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 22:   Terrell Thomas #24 of the New York Giants watches as  Brandon LaFell #11 of the Carolina Panthers catches a touchdown during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Now, with the Panthers starting to open things up a little more, he's shown he can be an asset in the red zone. His touchdown receptions came from 16 and 20 yards out, in an area where the smaller Smith isn't nearly as effective.

It's the type of game he needed to start building chemistry and confidence in his connection with Cam Newton. That doesn't mean he's going to become a must-start fantasy option on a weekly basis, but he should definitely be on the radar.   

For the Panthers to succeed, they need to give Newton as many chances as possible to make big plays. That was more apparent than ever during a pair of losses to open the season. So the fact LaFell is more involved after the team regrouped is a very positive sign.

He's worth a waiver-wire claim in leagues where he's available and will be a matchup play in the flex spot moving forward.