Fantasy Reaction: Brandon Lloyd to New England

Which Brandon Lloyd will show up in New England?

On face value, the move to New England would seem to greatly increase the fantasy value of Brandon Lloyd. After all, he will now be catching the accurate passes of Tom Brady. His fans will point to the numbers he put up in 2010 with Kyle Orton under center and extrapolate to how Tom Brady will reinvigorate his career. Caution should be advised, however, if you are considering drafting Lloyd for your free fantasy football team. The exact same words were said about Chad Ochocinco last September.

As good as Brady is, he doesn’t always make wideouts into superstars. We can’t forget the untriumphant return of Deion Branch. The fact is, Brady has other priorities. For years now, he has concentrated his passes on slot receivers and tight ends. Though there will be plenty of targets to go around in New England, I can’t see Lloyd being better than a third option for the Pats, and fourth would be more likely still. Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker are the first two dogs to be fed at that table, and the versatile Aaron Hernandez likely catches more passes in 2012 than Lloyd does.

When drafting a free fantasy football team, a number one option, even on a bad team, is preferable to someone further down the depth chart. Though it seems counterintuitive, Lloyd drops a tier with the move to New England. In the 2012 fantasy football rankings, Lloyd started out as a low-end number three receiver. Catching balls from Sam Bradford, he would likely do enough all year to stay in your starting rotation, but without a real chance to breakout. In New England he is more of a risk/reward pick that shouldn’t be gambled on until you have your starters. He could end up clicking with Tom Brady and repeating his 2010 success, or he could get lost in the shuffle.

Don’t forget, that 2010 season was very much an aberration for Lloyd. In a 9-year career, he has broken 700 yards only three times, each when he was the undisputed number one target on his team. Though Lloyd has played well for two years consecutively now, he has not put up numbers in situations like the one he has currently found himself in.

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