Brandon LaFell, Jonathan Stewart, and Four More Offseason Observations
Image via GBein83/Flickr
Image via GBein83/Flickr

Updating an earlier item, the Tony Moeaki buzz is building. What can we really expect from that player, in that offense? If you’re into pictures, try this one. He’s way out there to the right by Gronk. No, I don’t expect him to be Gronk. But better than Chandler? A fantasy streamer? You bet.1

Speaking of fringe tight ends who are worth monitoring, I give you…Brandon LaFell. The Patriots are supposedly trying him in the old Aaron Hernandez role2, which could make him a relevant fantasy player this year. LaFell is obviously not Hernandez3, but could he be worthwhile? Just for fun, compiled from Pro Football Reference, here are the red zone stats for LaFell since 2010, along with former Carolina teammates Greg Olsen and Steve Smith, and the non-Gronkowski Patriots receivers:

Player Tar Rec Pct Yds TD Rate YPT
Kenbrell Thompkins 10 5 50.0% 60 4 40.0% 6.0
Aaron Hernandez 49 28 57.1% 166 16 32.7% 3.4
Greg Olsen 43 21 48.8% 192 12 27.9% 4.5
Brandon LaFell 36 15 41.7% 121 8 22.2% 3.4
Aaron Dobson 9 4 44.4% 40 2 22.2% 4.4
Julian Edelman 34 20 58.8% 126 7 20.6% 3.7
Steve Smith 50 19 38.0% 167 9 18.0% 3.3
Danny Amendola 44 28 63.6% 164 7 15.9% 3.7
Josh Boyce 2 0 0.0% 0 0 0.0% 0.0

He’s actually been targeted quite frequently and his red zone touchdown rate is as good or better than any other Pats wide receiver. And although he’s not as big or athletic as Hernandez, he does have decent size. OK I really don’t think he’ll be a tight end. But the New England depth chart at tight end is pretty thin, so it’s worth monitoring to see if he can carve out a role.

The inexperienced young Panther wide receiver to pay attention to might not be who you think it is. After profiling Tavarres King recently, I came across this:

After all of the offseason talk about the Panthers wanting to give young wideouts Tavarres King and Marvin McNutt opportunities, Kealoha Pilares might have made the biggest impact among the holdovers at receiver. Pilares, who lost most of the past two seasons to injuries, showed good quickness on underneath routes and caught nearly everything thrown his way.

Who? Kealoha, that’s who. In case you’re unfamiliar, check out The Oracle’s 2013 paean to Pilares.

From the same articles comes some Jonathan Stewart love:

Running back Jonathan Stewart, plagued by ankle and knee injuries the past two years, showed great burst every time he touched the ball. A healthy Stewart will make a deep running back rotation even deeper.

I recently wrote about using the ADP Gap between a team’s first and second drafted running backs as a means of projecting their performance. Stewart is exactly the type of running back I personally like to target. With a current ADP of 184, Stewart is not only dirt cheap, but two rounds cheaper than DeAngelo Williams. It wouldn’t be surprising for either to put up low end RB1 numbers – or for both to be flex worthy.

Oh, so the Giants want Rueben Randle to play the slot, too? Add that to the list of reasons why I’m buying Randle. Here’s the RotoWorld money quote:

Randle is playing the role occupied by Jordy Nelson in Green Bay, from where new OC Ben McAdoo hails.

Just repeat that and laugh to yourself when you pick him up in the 9th round.

Lamar Miller is looking better and better. Scott Smith recently highlighted Miller, as did the slightly more well known Evan Silva. And now...

Citing a source who’s seen Knowshon Moreno’s knee, the National Football Post’s Jason Cole reports the issue is “bad.”

That blurb goes on to mention that Moreno may need surgery and might be undraftable this season. Since Scott Smith’s article a couple weeks ago, Miller’s ADP has risen from the twelfth round  to the middle of the 10th round. But he’s shaping up to be a bargain even at that price.
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  2. The football role  (back)
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