WR Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers
HT: 6-3, WT: 211, Born: 11-4-1986, College: LSU, Drafted: Round 3
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Average draft position
Current as of May 21st. [Full ADP list]Overall: C Fleener (188), Brandon LaFell (189),
Position: D Heyward-Bey (175-WR60), K Allen (183-WR61), Brandon LaFell (189 - WR62), B Lloyd (192-WR63), G Tate (195-WR64)
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PPR Average draft position
Current as of May 21st. [Full PPR ADP list]Overall: R Woods (189), Brandon LaFell (191),
Position: B Lloyd (188-WR66), R Woods (189-WR67), Brandon LaFell (191 - WR68), B Quick (200-WR69), J Hunter (201-WR70)
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Brandon LaFell was Steve Smith's counterpart in the starting lineup during 14 games last year, posting 76 targets for 44/677/5 receiving (career highs in receptions, yards and TDs), and he's penciled in to be the #2 wide receiver for the Panthers again this year. However, the arrival of Domenik Hixon from the New York Giants could change the depth chart if Hixon can pick up the offense quickly enough - LaFell has never caught more than 44 balls during his three NFL seasons to date. LaFell is not entrenched as a starter in Carolina. He's missed four regular season games during his three year career, with 14 games played during 2012.
|2||at Buffalo Bills|
|3||New York Giants|
|5||at Arizona Cardinals|
|6||at Minnesota Vikings|
|7||St. Louis Rams|
|8||at Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|10||at San Francisco 49ers|
|11||New England Patriots|
|12||at Miami Dolphins|
|13||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|14||at New Orleans Saints|
|15||New York Jets|
|16||New Orleans Saints|
|17||at Atlanta Falcons|
2012 Game Summaries
Week 1 - Brandon LaFell caught a touchdown pass to narrow the deficit for the Panthers, but beyond that his contribution was lackluster. The Bucs played a lot of zone coverage, and although Newton found LaFell on one play for a brilliant reception on a dig route, he was unable to find the soft spots for the most part. Whether he will emerge as the de facto number two receiver in the offense is still very much a question.
Week 2 - Brandon LaFell became Mr. Reliable for his quarterback in this game. When Steve Smith wasn’t available, Newton smartly went through his progressions and found Brandon LaFell more often than not. LaFell ran crisp routes and abused rookie CB Cory White each time he was matched against him. LaFell was effective on corner and vertical patterns especially. He took a handoff for a 25+ yard gain on a Statue of Liberty play which Newton executed perfectly with a pump fake. LaFell showed good moves in the open field and had he maintained his balance he could have scored a touchdown. Apart from one correctable drop, LaFell showed his worth to this offense. If he can be consistent, he is a nice low-end WR2 candidate.
Week 3 - After his breakout Week 2 display, Brandon LaFell crashed back down to earth. His only catch came on a deep dig route. His lack of production can be attributed to the Panthers’ poor efficiency on third down; they were unable to keep any drive alive. The Giants defense had a big part to play in this. Cam Newton trusts Brandon LaFell as his number two option, so he should continue to be a nice upside WR3 going forward.
Week 4 - After a fast start, Brandon LaFell has fallen off the face of the planet. In his defense, this game was not conducive to production for him. Newton’s passing attempts were kept to a lower total than usual and LaFell’s targets went to the backs and Greg Olsen. LaFell was well-covered by CB Asante Samuel as well. He was targeted on an out pattern early on, but the pass wasn’t there. Newton and LaFell have shown the kind of chemistry they have in previous games, and there is no reason why that won’t return. However, LaFell’s impact in this game was minimal.
Week 5 - Brandon LaFell had minimal impact in this game that lacked any kind of offensive rhythm from a Carolina standpoint. It wasn’t until late in the game that LaFell made a catch on a high pass from Newton to set Carolina up in the red zone. Prior to that, his only reception was a shallow crossing pattern that gained 15 yards as he used his speed to escape the trailing defender in coverage. LaFell was a victim of the Panthers’ poor offensive effort more than anything else.
Week 7 - Long-striding Brandon LaFell looked good on the limited opportunities he had to impress against Dallas. With Newton spreading the football around more, LaFell managed to get into the end zone on a shallow crossing route, cleverly reaching the ball out over the pylon to finish the play. Apart from the touchdown, LaFell was a target in the middle of the field, an area the Panthers attacked frequently off play action. LaFell’s 32-yard reception came on another shallow crossing route, during which he showed off his terrific straight-line speed and tackle-breaking ability.
Week 8 - LaFell did most of his damage in the first half, and then virtually disappeared in the second. A lot of that was pressure on Newton, but the Bears shifted coverage a bit to take LaFell out. His biggest play came late in the first quarter. LaFell lined up in the slot on the right side of Newton and went out on a post route. The Bears were in their Cover-2 zone defense, and LaFell split between the two zones (the short post is a great route for that) Newton hit him in stride and wide open. LaFell outran safety Chris Conte and cornerback Charles ‘Peanut’ Tillman, but was run down by Tim Jennings. It was a perfectly run route and did a good job of playing off the attention Steve Smith was getting as well. Newton locked onto Smith during the second half (or really, stayed locked on Smith and stopped throwing to almost anyone else) and LaFell only saw a pair of targets in the second half. He has shown the same ability to make plays before, but the scheme, Cam Newton or the coaches did not give him enough opportunities to be a difference-maker this week.
Week 10 - Brandon LaFell, returning after a concussion that forced him to miss a game, looked lost at sea just like the rest of the Panthers’ passing attack. The Broncos locked on to the Panthers’ receivers in tight man coverage and forced Newton to throw it away or take the hit or sack. As a result, LaFell saw little action and was limited to quick out routes and underneath patterns. Late in the game he caught a nice pass on a slant route as the Panthers were backed up against their own end zone, but he was kept quiet otherwise.
Week 11 - Brandon LaFell had a predominantly quiet afternoon against the Buccaneers. Besides a pair of receptions in long yardage third down situations when he settled down in zone, his impact was minimal in the first half. After the interval, LaFell showed his savvy on a couple of plays, including one Newton scramble. Seeing his quarterback in trouble, LaFell cut off his shallow crossing pattern short and adjusted his position to allow Newton an easy completion. LaFell finished strong with a touchdown on a skinny post pattern from the slot, unwilling to settle for anything but six points.
Week 12 - Brandon LaFell’s 46-yard touchdown catch on a seam pattern may have been the easiest score of his career, college or pro. No Eagles defender trailed him or played over the top. Off play action, he ran right by the FS and Newton lofted the football up to him for the score. LaFell was targeted in the red zone on a quick out-and-go, but the CB recovered well after briefly hesitating on the play fake. Later, LaFell benefited from a clear-out by Steve Smith to have a 20-yard reception on a ‘smoke’ route.
Week 13 - Brandon LaFell became the goat of the game from a Panthers perspective as he dropped a beautifully-placed deep pass from Cam Newton, who was under extreme pressure. LaFell allowed the ball to go through his hands. LaFell missed the majority of the second half with a foot sprain suffered not long after his drop. Prior to this error, LaFell had only played a bit part role, catching a hitch route for 10 yards and gaining some nice yards after the catch on a ‘smoke’ route.
Week 15 - LaFell was active as the team’s third WR, but held without a catch in the game.
Week 16 - Brandon LaFell’s return seemed to be heartening for Newton early on, as he targeted his possession receiver several times on short, timing patterns. LaFell displayed good hands and good technique to escape the Raiders defensive backs’ attention. In the second half, LaFell was the target of a Newton pass on a corner route in the red zone, but the pass was thrown too wide of the mark for him to reel in.
Week 17 - Brandon LaFell’s return from injury appears to be going swimmingly; he showed no ill effects in this game. His involvement was limited, however, as the Panthers’ rushing attack took centre stage. LaFell was reliable in the intermediate range of the field, but apart from a 12-yard catch in the left flat, he wasn’t much of a factor.