Fantasy Football: Is It Safe to Trust Brandon Lloyd in Week 16?

Ryan Lester@LestersLegendsSenior Writer IDecember 20, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 16:  Brandon Lloyd #85 of the New England Patriots is unable to catch a pass under the pressure of Carlos Rogers #22 of the San Francisco 49ers in the first half at Gillette Stadium on December 16, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

New England Patriots wide receiver Brandon Lloyd came into the season full of promise. In the past, Josh McDaniels had been able to get the most out of him with the likes of Sam Bradford and Kyle Orton.

Surely as Tom Brady’s best downfield threat since Randy Moss, Lloyd would have a banner year in New England.

Up until a couple of weeks ago, this wasn’t the case.

Lloyd got off to a mediocre start with 69 and 60 yards in the first two weeks. The next two weeks were solid for Lloyd as he recorded his first 100-yard game of the season in Week 3 against the Baltimore Ravens and scored his first touchdown of the year in Week 4 against the Buffalo Bills.

During the next three-game stretch Lloyd, had 34, 80, and six yards, respectively. With five games with eight or fewer fantasy points, Lloyd wasn’t exactly a strong option, especially when you consider he had just 10.8 and 11 fantasy points in his two “good games”.

Week 8 brought an interesting game for Lloyd. He only caught two passes and finished with just 28 yards, but he scored touchdowns on both catches. Sure, the two touchdowns were great, but he still managed to score just 14.8 fantasy points in that one.

The next five weeks were brutal for Lloyd. He had a bye in Week 9 and totaled just 126 yards in the four games after. That’s an average of 31.5 yards, or 3.15 fantasy points, per game.

Lloyd owners were likely at their wits’ end, and his next two games were against the Houston Texans and the San Francisco 49ers.

Lloyd shrugged off the tough matchups and had 89 yards and a touchdowns against the Texans and a career-high 190 yards against the Niners. Go figure. You may have had Lloyd in your lineup against the Niners following the Texans’ game, but it is hard to imagine that many owners started Lloyd against Houston.

This week, he takes on the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags rank 24th against the pass (not that Brady couldn’t shred even the top-ranked defense in the league). On paper, it seems like Lloyd is a good play.

The trouble is outside of Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski (when healthy), it is hard to truly trust anyone in the Patriots passing attack.

I feel that he’s a solid WR3 this week, but a lot of uncertainty remains. I would use him if he’s your best option, but I would probably shy away if I had a safer quality play.

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