Aug 9, 2012
Brandon Lloyd and Josh McDaniels are being reunited. Again.
Lloyd and McDaniels both arrived in Denver in 2009. McDaniels was the young coach who had just spent three seasons as the offensive coordinator for the high scoring New England Patriots. Lloyd was a free agent receiver after the Bears decided to not retain him.
Lloyd was inactive for the first fourteen games of 2009, but he made the most of an opportunity in December. During the last two games, Lloyd pulled in eight catches for 117 yards. In March 2010, Lloyd was resigned.
With Brandon Marshall leaving Denver for the Dolphins, Lloyd earned his way into the starting lineup for the following campaign. The 2010 season started off strong for Lloyd, as he had four games with at least 115 yards receiving in the first five weeks. Lloyd finished the season with eleven touchdowns and a league-leading 1,448 yards.
McDaniels was fired after Week 13 of the 2010 season, and he was hired to be the offensive coordinator in St. Louis. Lloyd was acquired by the Rams during the middle of the season. The two were in the same huddle for the final 11 weeks of the season, and Lloyd averaged 62 yards per game and pulled in five touchdowns.
Both McDaniels and Lloyd now reside in New England, and both are viewed as important pieces in an offensive juggernaut.
After Lloyd joined the Rams, he pulled in 27 percent of his team’s completions. During Lloyd’s breakout season with McDaniels, Lloyd caught 23 percent of Bronco completions. McDaniels has a history of featuring Lloyd in his offenses, and when Lloyd is getting passes thrown his way, he is fantasy relevant.
But how many targets will Lloyd get in New England? The Patriots are expected to continue in their passing ways. McDaniels was the offensive coordinator in 2007 when Tom Brady threw for a league bests in yards (4,806) and touchdowns (50). Brady and the Patriots are always moving the ball through the air, as he averages 19 completions per game on 31 attempts over the last six seasons (with the notable exception of 2008, when Brady was injured in the opening minutes of Week one).
It is evident that there will be plenty of passes to catch in the 2012 Patriot system. The question lies in how involved Lloyd will be. Most prognosticators have Lloyd as fourth in terms of projected Patriot receptions, behind Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker, and Aaron Hernandez.
The fourth pass-catcher in New England is fantasy relevant. Last year, Deion Branch held that title with 51 receptions, 702 yards and 5 touchdowns. And it is typical for Lloyd to see many passes in a McDaniels system: in 29 games in which Lloyd played and McDaniels was on the sideline, Lloyd had at least four receptions in 20 games.