The New England Patriots have reportedly signed veteran wide receiver Austin Collie, adding depth to a young, inexperienced and seemingly injury-prone receiving corps. Field Yates of ESPN Boston reported the news.
It is important to consider your own circumstances before you join the unwashed masses of fantasy football owners rushing to the free-agent pile. Scooping up Collie for nothing could be a smart play, but only in certain situations.
First, Collie only warrants a pickup in 12- or 14-team leagues at least. Those owners who aren’t allowed to keep eight-plus players on their bench should also stay away from Collie, who has yet to prove anything for this Pats team and hasn’t had any relevant production since 2011.
More importantly, the 27-year-old has dealt with a rash of injuries throughout his professional career. During his four seasons in Indianapolis, he suffered three concussions and a ruptured patellar tendon that nearly ended his time in the NFL.
After undergoing such a brutal injury, there’s no telling if Collie will ever be the same physically. He was released ahead of the 2013 regular season by the San Francisco 49ers during final cuts, a surprise move considering how desperate that organization is for depth at the wide receiver position.
That alone should set off red flags for even the most desperate of fantasy owners. There’s a chance Collie hardly sees the field in New England, and he'll have a hard time earning targets and capitalizing on those targets for catches, yardage and scores.
However, Collie told Matthew Barrows of The Sacramento Bee that he was “100 percent” and “ready to go” back in early August. Perhaps Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, a mad genius that is always looking to get an edge over his opponents, has seen something that others have missed.
Sure, Collie is worth gambling on, but only if you are extremely weak at the receiver position and have a few worthless talents languishing on your bench. There’s absolutely no way Collie should be inserted into any starting lineups prior to New England’s Week 5 contest against the Cincinnati Bengals, though.
Keep a close eye on the wideout in that matchup (if he plays), as his number of snaps, targets and more could determine whether or not he’s worth picking up (or holding on to, depending on your league.)
Assuming he's fully healthy and being utilized to his strengths, the best-case scenario is that Collie could be an absolute machine inside the Patriots' fast-paced offense and he establishes a rapport with superstar quarterback Tom Brady. The worst-case scenario is that he looks a step slow and serves as nothing more than injury insurance behind the Pats' current weapons.
Collie is the definition of a boom-or-bust prospect who simply isn't worth the risk at this time. He'll be fighting for catches with impressive rookie Kenbrell Thompkins, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola once he returns and, oh yeah, a tight end named Rob Gronkowski, who is expected back in the next couple of weeks.