What to expect from LaFell

According to Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer, Brandon LaFell remains locked into the Carolina Panthers' No. 2 wide receiver job behind Steve Smith, and coach Ron Rivera sees a player headed in the right direction.

“I think (Brandon) is a solid No. 2 and he’s still trending up,” Ron Rivera said. “I think the arrow’s still up on Brandon. Now it’s just a matter of doing it. I really believe that."

Some pundits felt LaFell had a chance to be a fantasy sleeper last year, especially in points-per-reception leagues, but that never quite happened. He only had four games with at least five catches and only thrice topped 65 receiving yards. He also dealt with a concussion and turf toe.

Lafell may still carry some upside this season, but a true breakout campaign likely won't be in the offing unless the aging Smith goes down with an injury. Still, he's in a contract year and will be worth keeping an eye on in case new OC Mike Shula finds a way to utilize him more in 2013.