Brandon LaFell will get the start opposite Steve Smith at receiver for the Carolina Panthers today against the Indianapolis Colts. And he has a strong chance to be a sleeper for your fantasy roster in Week 12.
LaFell, as the team’s No. 3 this season, has 21 catches on 31 targets for 345 yards and two scores. He replaces Legedu Naanee in the starting lineup. Naanee has 33 catches on 59 targets for 355 yards and no scores. So LaFell has been more productive at the No. 3 spot, and should shine against a Colts team that allows the third-most points to fantasy receivers this season.
Indianapolis has allowed an average of 10.87 fantasy points per game to opposing teams’ No. 2 receivers in Athlon’s half-PPR format. The 0-10 Colts have also allowed at least 23 points in all but one game (17 to Jacksonville in Week 10), and are allowing a league-worst 30 points per game. They are also ranked 29th in yards per game allowed (390.6).
Of course the Panthers are not much better on defense. They allow 28.6 points (31st) and 374.8 (27th) yards per game.
The big difference will be Carolina’s proven ability to succeed on offense and that is where LaFell comes into play.
The Panthers are fifth in the league in yards per game (400.9) and are 18th in scoring (22.5 PPG). Meanwhile, the Colts are 31st in yards per game (275.7) and 30th in scoring (13.1).
If there’s any game that the Colts could get into a shootout this could be the one. They have a decent matchup at running back, a great matchup at TE with Jacob Tammee and still have the underachieving trio of WRs in Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon.
The one wrench — or two as it were — that could be thrown into the whole deal is the Carolina running back situation. The Panthers have DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart to go up against the league’s 31st-ranked rush defense (145.6 YPG and 12 TDs). But I still think QB Cam Newton and Brandon LaFell hook up enough times to make a decent flex play out of LaFell.
By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter