Watching the Patriots offense during the first few open practices, Chris Hogan has been one of the central figures. He’s catching everything being delivered his way by either Tom Brady or Jimmy Garoppolo, and he’s constantly getting open.
That 7-Eleven nickname is on the money. He does always seem to be open.
What Bill Belichick got was a perfect fit for his offense. Hogan works very well in the Patriots horizontal style of play. At 27, he’s a few years younger than the 30-year-old Edelman and Amendola, and with the duo sitting out organized team activities and minicamp, Hogan has been running those similar routes, the quick hitters that are staples to Brady and the offense. There’s little doubt, at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, Hogan could move into Brandon LaFell’s old “X” receiver role as well.
Hogan has more size (6'1") than it seems, but his skill set isn't much different from that of Julian Edelman or Danny Amendola. It sounds as if he'll take over the outside role in the offense, which means he could potentially have a 2014 Brandon LaFell-type season. LaFell was the #22 receiver in standard formats two seasons ago. He'll need to see more snaps than Amendola if he's going to be fantasy relevant in 2016.
In two seasons with the Patriots, LaFell caught 111 passes and scored seven touchdowns. However, his role diminished greatly in 2015 and he was released March 2.
LaFell had a career year with the Patriots in 2014, his first season with the club, totaling 74 receptions for 953 yards and seven touchdowns. He started 13 of 16 games during the regular season and then all three playoff contests, adding 13 catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns in the playoffs.
An injury to his left foot, however, affected his offseason, and he opened 2015 on the physically unable to perform list. LaFell never seemed to find his groove upon his return, finishing this past season with 37 catches for 515 yards and no touchdowns.
Last season, LaFell was never able to recapture the magic from the year before, when he finished as the #22 fantasy receiver in standard formats. The Bengals lost both Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu this offseason, so LaFell will have the opportunity to start if the team doesn't use an early draft pick on a receiver.
With the new league year starting next week, teams are getting their houses in order by dispatching players who are under contract and out of their plans for monetary or performance reasons.
After a #22 finish in 2014, LaFell struggled to make an impact in 2015, averaging just 4.8 fantasy points (standard) in 11 games. The Patriots will likely look to improve the receiving corps this offseason.
Friday, January 22, 2016, 4:44pm
Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (foot, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 20. LaFell should be fine to play this week, but his role isn’t firm now that Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are back in the lineup.
Thursday, January 21, 2016, 5:50pm
Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (foot) took full practice reps again Thursday. LaFell should be fine to play this week, but his role isn’t firm now that Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are back in the lineup.
Friday, January 15, 2016, 5:23pm
Thursday, January 14, 2016, 6:07pm
Wednesday, January 13, 2016, 7:15pm
Friday, January 1, 2016, 6:26pm
Patriots WR Julian Edelman (foot, out) missed practice Friday after taking limited reps Thursday and is out for Week 17. With Danny Amendola very iffy, it looks like Brandon LaFell and Keshawn Martin will lead the New England receiving corps again this week.
Friday, January 1, 2016, 6:26pm
Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (foot, questionable) took limited practice reps all week and is questionable for Week 17. LaFell has been disappointing given his opportunity in the New England passing game, but he should be able to continue to play through the foot injury.
Wednesday, December 30, 2015, 6:13pm
Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (foot) took limited practice reps Wednesday. LaFell has been disappointing given his opportunity in the New England passing game, but he should be able to continue to play through the foot injury.
With the Patriots receiving corps ailing, one backup has stepped up and seized the opportunity in front of him.
Brady targeted Martin 11 times (seven catches, 68 yards). He threw to LaFell once.
Martin's name started to emerge soon after Edelman went down. Martin was battling his own injuries so it took a little longer, but Martin seems to be a key part of the offense and earning Brady's trust with all the injuries to the position in New England.
Saturday, December 26, 2015, 3:02pm
It's never easy for a wide receiver to jump in midseason, or late season, and pick up the New England Patriots' offense.
Apparently, the Leonard Hankerson addition didn't go as the team had hoped.
Hankerson, claimed off waivers from Atlanta on Dec. 16, lasted only 10 days in the New England, according to ProFootballTalk.
Both Amendola and LaFell are questionable Sunday due to injuries sustained in Week 15 versus the Titans. Amendola injured his left knee, the one that kept him out of the Week 12 game versus Denver. And LaFell appeared to injure his left foot, the one that kept him on the PUP list until Week 7.
Friday, December 25, 2015, 10:17pm
Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (foot, questionable) took limited practice reps all week and is questionable for Week 16. LaFell wasn’t on the injury report last week, but he’s expected to play through the injury given all the issues the Patriots are having at receiver.
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