Danny Amendola’s injury, which the team announced was to his knee, came late in the third quarter on running back James White's 6-yard touchdown run. He was coming off the left side of the line to block and didn’t make contact with anyone, but came up limping.
“When I saw him, it looked like he was in good spirits,” WR Brandon LaFell said. “I hope it’s nothing major. We’re going to need him soon.”
Amendola came on to return a punt after the Bills’ next drive went three-and-out, but came up hobbling again as he let the ball hit the ground and backed away from it.
He was seated on the bench for the remainder of the game after that, at one point talking with Bill Belichick during a timeout.
Aaron Dobson left in the second quarter with an ankle injury and didn’t return.
Losing Amendola for any stretch of time would be a tough blow for the Patriots, who are already without No. 1 man Edelman (left foot) for the foreseeable future, and running back Dion Lewis. Amendola essentially stepped into Edelman’s role Monday and delivered with nine receptions for 117 yards, and the numbers could have spiked further if not for an unusual inadvertent whistle in the third quarter. He was charted on the field for 45 of 50 offensive snaps (including penalties) before hobbling off. Keshawn Martin became a popular name last week as a possible Edelman recplacement, and with both Amendola and Dobson now banged up, he could be thrust into a bigger role out of necessity. He was inactive for Week 11 and hasn't caught a pass since Week 6, which was the last time he was active.
Monday, November 23, 2015, 1:12pm
Dobson is listed as questionable. No word as to how or when the injury surfaced, but it could further deplete New England’s receiving corps if he’s unable to play. Dobson is the team’s fourth wideout behind Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola and Keshawn Martin, though Martin is also questionable with a hamstring injury.
Friday, November 20, 2015, 6:29pm
Patriots WR Julian Edelman (foot) missed practice again Friday. He’s going to be out for a while. Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola and Keshawn Martin are the primary beneficiaries with Edelman out. Tom Brady mentioned Martin first when asked how the team would replace Edelman’s production.
Thursday, November 19, 2015, 5:53pm
Tom Brady, in his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “Dennis & Callahan, mentioned wide receiver Keshawn Martin as a potential fill-in but not Aaron Dobson. “Keshawn Martin is still obviously a good player for us and is hopefully coming back here soon,” Brady said. “And I’ve got a lot of confidence in Brandon LaFell. (Danny Amendola)’s role has been very different than Julian’s was for us. I just think they’re a little different type of players. And certainly Julian has been incredible for us. Incredible.”
Martin, if healthy, could even overtake Danny Amendola in certain two-receiver sets. Amendola does the majority of his work out of the slot, while Edelman splits his time lining up inside and in the “Z” role, which is out wide and off the line so he can go in motion.
Martin is the Patriots’ most athletic receiver, based on combine testing numbers. He ran a 4.45-second 40-yard dash with a 6.85-second 3-cone, 4.13-second short shuttle, 39.5-inch vertical leap and 10-foot, 2-inch broad jump. He fell out of favor with the Texans but appeared to catch on quickly before going down with the injury.
Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said no single receiver can replace what Edelman offered to the Patriots, but they likely will rely on Martin and Amendola most heavily. The trade used to acquire Martin is looking smart with Edelman likely out until the playoffs.
Martin has caught six-of-seven targets for 95 yards and a touchdown, but has been dealing with a hamstring injury for the past few games. He has been practicing on a limited basis but hasn't been active on game day. Owners in deeper leagues may want to consider Martin if Amendola is not available. We still believe Amendola sees a good chunk of Julian Edelman's targets, but Martin may surprise.
LaFell has missed the start of the season with a foot injury.
"The only thing I've been doing for the last couple months is just rehabbing and lifting weights. I'm tired of lifting weights. I'm tired of rehabbing," LaFell said Friday, per the Providence Journal. "I'm ready to get back to playing football."
The 28-year-old receiver caught 74 passes for 953 yards with seven touchdowns in his first season with New England in 2014. He will provide Tom Brady with a downfield target to add to the spread aerial attack of Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. LaFell is worth an add if he's still on your wire. He had a nice connection with Brady last year and the hope is that continues again this season. He's a bit risky for this week since he could be on a snap count or the team decides to limit him in some way.
Patriots beat writer Jeff Howe:
I don’t know for certain if Brandon LaFell is playing Sunday, but every sign points toward him being ready. I don’t know how much he’ll contribute, though. After all, he practiced this week for the first time since the Super Bowl, so from a conditioning standpoint alone, he’ll be on a seriously limited snap count. And remember last season when LaFell only caught four of his first 14 targets through three weeks. Obviously, he has a lot more experience in the system, but the slow start should be a concern for those reasons.
As Howe mentions, LaFell is likely to be very limited even if he does play, so owners shouldn't expect much this week. However, no one has really grabbed the WR2 role and LaFell played very well last season. He finished as the #22 WR in both standard and PPR formats, but didn’t catch a single pass in the first two games. He began to see starter-type snaps in Week 4, and was the #15 receiver in standard formats (#14 in PPR) over the final 13 games of the season. In fact, counting the postseason, LaFell racked up 87-1072-9 in his last 16 games. That would have been good enough for a #13 finish in both formats.
LaFell, seen wearing a walking boot this offseason, missed all of training camp and was placed on PUP before the season. He has been in the locker room frequently over the past few weeks and has traveled for games at Dallas and Indianapolis. It appears he'll be ready to come off PUP sooner rather than later.
Any players placed on PUP can begin practicing following the first six weeks of the regular season. This means LaFell, who emerged as a top target for Tom Brady a year ago, could begin practicing this week. He also could make his season debut next Sunday versus Darelle Revis and the 4-1 Jets.
LaFell proved to be a valuable free agent signing a year ago. If you remove his first three games in 2014 and replace them with his three playoff performances, LaFell's 16-game numbers were 83 receptions, 1,026 yards and nine touchdowns, the story said. The piece added Aaron Dobson is a possible candidate to get cut in order to make room for LaFell. LaFell is worth picking up if he's on your waiver wire.
Brandon LaFell was one of the first Patriots on the field for Sunday's game at AT&T Stadium. And this was only of note because Brandon LaFell was not playing in the Patriots' game Sunday at AT&T Stadium.
Any player who begins the season on PUP must sit out the first six weeks. When the player is eligible to begin practicing, teams then have a three-week window to either add the player to the active roster, put the player on injured reserve or release the player. The latter two don't seem to be options with LaFell, who finished the 2014 season on an absolute tear.
It took about a month for LaFell -- and, really, the whole Pats offense -- to find its stride a year ago, but once LaFell clicked with Tom Brady, he became a vital piece to the offense. If you remove his first three games in 2014 and replace them with his three playoff performances, LaFell's 16-game numbers were 83 receptions, 1,026 yards and nine touchdowns, the story said. It's unclear if LaFell will physically be ready to go in Week 7. If he begins practicing on Oct. 21 -- the first practice following the Week 6 game at Indianapolis -- the Pats have until Nov. 11 to activate him. LaFell may be worth grabbing at this point if you're looking for help at WR.
When New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady analyzed Sunday's 40-32 victory over the Buffalo Bills, he touched on the contributions of many. Among the group was a player who hasn't always been in that discussion.
"Aaron Dobson stepped up," he said.
Dobson, the 2013 second-round draft choice out of Marshall, turned in arguably the best game of his career in finishing with seven catches for 87 yards. The seven catches tied a career high (vs. Tampa, Sept. 22, 2013), while the 87 yards were his second highest total (130 vs. Pittsburgh, Nov. 3, 2013).
Developing a rapport with Brady has been a work in progress for the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Dobson.
As a rookie, he played in 12 games with nine starts, totaling 37 receptions for 519 yards and four touchdowns. But after undergoing surgery on his foot in the offseason leading into his second season, Dobson didn't build on that momentum in 2014. He finished last season with three catches for 38 yards, landing on injured reserve in early December (hamstring) as Brandon LaFell decisively took over his role as the top outside receiver.
With Brandon LaFell currently on the physically unable to perform list, Dobson has re-emerged, and has probably now emerged on the fantasy radar as well. Of the Patriots' 86 total offensive plays against the Bills, he was on for 70 of them, playing in the two-receiver set opposite Julian Edelman and staying on in the three-receiver package.
Brandon Bolden has previously filled the role of starting running back, but never consistently. He has registered only three career games of 10+ carries.
This past year, Bolden never carried more than five times in a game; in Week 16 against the Jets, when LeGarrette Blount was injured, Bolden carried five times, Jonas Gray carried six times and Shane Vereen carried six times.
We could see a similar distribution between Bolden, James White and Dion Lewis Thursday (although the overall number of attempts might be slightly higher, because the Jets dominated time of possession in that Week 16 game).
Pittsburgh ranked 6th in rush defense and 27th in pass defense a year ago, so the Pats -- also thin at wide receiver with Brandon LaFell on PUP and Reggie Wayne cut -- could feature lots of Rob Gronkowski and Scott Chandler. If Travaris Cadet is available, he could figure into the passing game, too. This may not be a 25-carry game on the ground.
The position that must sort it self out is the pass-catching, change-of-pace back. Whoever it is should have a fairly significant role in the offense. Right now, the first choice has to be Lewis, who displayed terrific change-of-direction and underrated power when given the opportunity in the preseason. Lewis can pass protect and has enough punch to run between the tackles.
The good news is once Blount returns Week 2, if healthy, the story said he should lead the team in attempts, yards and TDs for the season. In terms of pass catching, White has proved slippery in the open field, as well as Lewis. And Cadet hasn't proven anything as a member of the Patriots, which should be an indication of how much the team likes him. They kept him around despite not seeing him at all in the preseason due to a hamstring injury, the story went on to say. After what should be a committee approach Week 1, signs continue to point to Blount as the main back, but there remains three pass-catching options which could cause headaches for fantasy owners.
Patriots wide receiver Brandon LaFell is headed to the physically unable to perform list. Arguably the second-best wideout on the Patriots' roster, LaFell tweeted Saturday the date he's eligible to return. LaFell has been recovering from a foot injury that has kept him out all preseason. LaFell led the team in wide receiver snaps a year ago. Needless to say, 10/25 can't come soon enough for Brady and the Patriots. Then again, Tom Brady has been doing more with less than just about any quarterback in the NFL for more than a decade now.
LaFell has to miss his team’s first six games, which means he’s eligible to return in Week 8. Owners in leagues with an IR spot may want to stash LaFell for the second half of the season. He should be fully healthy by then, and the Patriots will need him. Counting the postseason, LaFell racked up 87-1072-9 in his last 16 games. That would have been good enough for a #13 finish in both formats. In the meantime, with Reggie Wayne being cut, Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson and the rest of the Patriots' receiving corps will have an opportunity to play big snaps opposite entrenched starter Julian Edelman.
Monday, August 31, 2015, 12:53pm
Brandon LaFell, who played more snaps than any New England Patriots wide receiver in 2014, remains out of practice and thus puts his availability for the season-opening game Sept. 10 against the Steelers in jeopardy.
LaFell, who was spotted with a boot on his left foot in the offseason, opened training camp on the physically unable to perform list. If he remains on the PUP list at the final roster cutdown Sept. 5, he wouldn't be eligible to play for the first six weeks of the season.
LaFell's status, coupled with a run of injuries at the position, contributed to the team signing veteran Reggie Wayne to a one-year contract last Tuesday.
ESPN's Mike Reiss projected that Brandon LaFell may end up on the PUP list to start the season.
The vibes around LaFell are bad. No one seems to have any solid information, other than he's out of his walking boot. The Patriots aren't going to give us a meaningful update, so for now we should assume that LaFell is going to miss a few games to start the season. It's a shame since he was shaping up as an excellent sleeper in the 8th/9th round after a stellar 2014 season.
Monday, August 24, 2015, 5:01pm
Patriots WR Brandon Gibson has been placed on injured reserve after he suffered a knee injury against the Saints on Saturday. Gibson would have been one of the receivers competing with Wayne for a spot behind Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell and Danny Amendola.
Gibson signed with the Patriots this offseason after catching 59 passes for the Dolphins over the last two seasons. He suffered a torn patellar tendon after catching 30 passes in his first seven games with Miami in 2013 and was released for cap reasons early in the offseason.
- Page 1