Fantasy spins: Patriots WRs Lloyd, Gonzalez, Stallworth

Posted March 20, 2012 @ 7:13 p.m.
Posted By William Del Pilar

Lloyd reunites with McDaniels

You have to give Brandon Lloyd credit. Before 2010 he was nothing but a journeyman receiver with one good season in 2005 with the 49ers. That season he posted 48-733-5 on 109 targets. Then in 2010, his eighth season in the league, he posted career highs in receptions, yards, touchdowns, yards per reception and 100-yard games — across-the-board highs.

After Josh McDaniels was fired as head coach in December 2010, it was no secret Lloyd was unhappy in Denver, and he was traded to St. Louis, where McDaniels was the offensive coordinator. In 11 games he posted 51-683-5 on 117 targets for a per-game average of 4.6 catches and 62.1 yards with 0.45 TDs. Impressive, considering the Rams were playing with second- and third-string quarterbacks for a good portion of the season.

His last two seasons he's posted 147-2,414-16 on 301 targets — a per-game average of 4.7 catches for 77.9 yards and 0.52 TDs on 9.7 targets. Those are clearly No. 1 fantasy wideout numbers, but can he make the same impact with the Patriots? 

Lloyd signed a three-year deal worth $12 million and took a pay cut to reunite with McDaniels. He will be the team's No. 2 wideout across from Wes Welker with Deion Branch — if Branch is brought back — as the No. 3 and slot receiver. With Tom Brady throwing him the ball both short and deep, he's going to continue to post impressive numbers. He keeps his No. 1 fantasy wideout status and is someone to target on draft day.


Can Gonzalez come back and make an NFL and fantasy impact? 

The Patriots are piling up WR depth and agreed to terms with Anthony Gonzalez, but the details of the agreement were not announced. Injury-prone, he was a disappointment with only 11 games played over the last three seasons as knee and hamstring injuries curtailed his career.

A first-round pick in 2007, he would be a great replacement for someone such as Chad Ochocinco, who is still on the roster. Gonzalez runs crisp routes, is quick and a player with a clear understanding of the nuances of the position and the overall role of an NFL wide receiver. He can contribute as a slot receiver and has punt-return ability. He provides quality depth, if healthy, and he adds to the team's ability to work every aspect of the field. In multiple receiver sets he can free Lloyd up to go deep as the vertical threat the Patriots have lacked since losing Randy Moss. 

In five seasons he's amassed 99-1,307-7 with 13.2 yards per reception. Despite nearly five lost seasons, if healthy, he provides valuable depth to the Patriots but minimal fantasy value. He'll have to fight for playing time against  Branch if the team brings the veteran back, and his fantasy value only increases with an injury to a starter.


Patriots bring Stallworth back for another go

Donté Stallworth is a vertical threat who hasn't contributed much in nine seasons to any of the six teams he's played for. He's totaled 320-4,774-34 in 114 games for a per-game average of 2.8 catches for 41.9 yards and 0.3 TDs per game. Those are hardly numbers that will have fantasy owners looking for him on draft day.

Last year for the Redskins in 11 games he posted 22-309-2 on 38 targets. In New England he'll fight for a roster spot against Gonzalez, Ochocinco, Tiquan Underwood and Julian Edelman. He has no fantasy value.

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