When I discovered that Brandon LaFell’s nickname was “JoJo,” I immediately went to YouTube and looked up one of my favorite songs to sing at karaoke. It’s a song that describes owning LaFell in fantasy football. You see… Lately is about a guy that thinks his girl is cheating on him. He doesn’t want to acknowledge it but it’s impossible not to. The signs are smacking him right in the face. At some point, he needs to deal with it and move on.
LaFell was a fantasy “nobody” his first four years in the league. He never exceeded 677 yards in a season and totaled 13 touchdowns in 60 games with the Panthers. In 2014, he signed with the Patriots and blossomed with Tom Brady: 74 receptions for 953 yards with seven touchdowns in the regular season and 13 receptions for 119 yards with two touchdowns in the playoffs. Relationships all across the fantasy landscape were forged.
Unfortunately, he opened the 2015 season on the PUP list, which put him out until late October. When he did return, there was much optimism. I wrote that he could be the missing piece to take the Patriots to another level.
His first game back: two receptions on eight targets for 25 yards. The performance was so bad that it inspired this:
— PJ King (@Kinga310) October 25, 2015
It was just one game I said. He had been out with an injury I said. He caught 62 percent of his passes in 2014 and had a career 59 percent catch mark, not great but not terrible. He just needed time to get back into the groove. Well, here are his numbers since that first game:
Zero touchdowns and only one 100 yard game. The catch rate has been pretty dreadful as well.
During Sunday’s loss to the Eagles, there were two plays “my eyes won’t let me hide.” Brady’s second interception of the game was due to LaFell inexplicably cutting his route short. He was lined up in the slot on the left hash and ran across the field in the direction of the right corner of the end zone. Brady threw it up for him, but for some reason, LaFell turned to the sideline rather than continuing into the endzone. Easy interception.
The second play occurred with :34 seconds left in the game. It was a simple slant to LaFell on the left side of the field. He gained great separation from the defensive back but simply dropped the pass. The game ended two plays later.
I’d been holding onto LaFell for the hope. I believed. With all the weapons going down, LaFell could be the guy. I’ve finally looked in the mirror and realize it’s over. Goodbye.