Brandon Lloyd had a favorable matchup last night against the Texans and their regressing and injured secondary. And just like pretty much the entire Patriots’ roster, he took advantage of said matchup, finishing with 89 receiving yards on seven receptions, including a 37-yard catch.
This delighted you, of course, because it’s the fantasy playoffs, and because points lead to winning, and winning leads to money, and money buys goods and services. Then there’s also his fumble recovery in the end zone on a play that sent many a fantasy manager to toilet bowls. Somewhere out there is a lost, lonely soul whose fantasy season ended because Lloyd happened to be standing in the end zone when a ball pretty much landed on his shoelaces. Please accept our deepest condolences.
The rest of you may be getting giddy and feeling a blood-rushing sensation after Lloyd returned to relevancy for at least one night. But perspective is key here if you intend to continue using Lloyd going forward in the fantasy playoffs.
Even with Johnathan Joseph’s return the Texans were still dealing with Brice McCain’s season-ending injury, which forced them to sign Stanford Routt. Then there’s also of course the absence of Brian Cushing that’s led to an increased vulnerability to play-action passes, which is exactly how Lloyd scored his 37-yard touchdown. That catch alone was more than Lloyd’s yardage total in five games this year. Taking that further, his longest reception has been 15 yards or less in six games. Over the past two years he’s had 38 receptions for more than 20 yards.
The numbers keep going, and those numbers dramatically outweigh anything Lloyd did in any one evening in a blowout against a struggling secondary that’s given up an average of 348.6 passing yards per game since Week 12, including 441 yards to Matthew Stafford. You know those digits well if you’re a Lloyd owner and you’re still getting horrible value for your sixth-round pick, but here’s a few more anyway: he’s averaging 50 yards per game overall, he has just three touchdowns after scoring 11 times during his breakout 2010 year in Denver, and the loss of Rob Gronkowski did little for his targets and receptions during the first two games of Gronk’s absence (36 yards on four catches).
In Week 15 against the 49ers Lloyd will return to being that same Lloyd you’ve come to know and hate this year as he opposes the league’s second-ranked secondary, a unit that’s giving up only 184.7 passing yards per game. Your lone source of true optimism is that in the Patriots’ first game without Julian Edelman (who was lost for the season with a foot injury) Lloyd received nine targets, his most since Week 7. He was behind only Aaron Hernandez, who was targeted 11 times by Tom Brady, and tied with Wes Welker.
You can start Lloyd next week as a flex play, but even that may be a difficult decision if you have, say, Josh Gordon on your bench and ready for deployment as he faces the weak and vulnerable Redskins secondary.