The NFL is a league full of cliches, and perhaps the most common of these is the 3rd year breakout. Brandon LaFell is entering his 3rd year with the Carolina Panthers and is a popular candidate to break out. Coming out of LSU the Analysts were touting his soft hands, willingness to make grabs in the middle of traffic and ability to get yards after the catch. LaFell was the 3rd WR on the depth chart last season as but still ended up scoring more fantasy points than Legedu Naanee. Now that Naanee is gone LaFell is the clear favorite to start opposite of Steve Smith this season. Even with limited action LaFell put together a decent seasonwith 613 yards and 3 touchdowns on only 36 catches. LaFell’s 17 average yard per catch last season was the 12th highest in the NFL ahead of big play receivers such as DeSean Jackson, Mike Wallace, and A.J. Green.
Now that LaFell is the starter opposite Steve Smith he should perform much better than his current ADP which has been mostly in the last 2 rounds in the mock drafts I have completed. With Steve Smith drawing the majority of the coverage LaFell should see a lot of one on one coverage which he can take advantage of. I think that LaFell should easily be able to catch 60 plus balls and 900 plus yards. When you take in consideration his 6’2 frame and natural ball skills he will easily be the best WR in the red-zone leading to an increase from the 3 touchdowns he had last season. He is my top sleeper this season I am targeting and should be a decent flex play much of the season. Don’t hesitate to take him as early as the 12th round.