NFL fantasy football: Brandon Lloyd in prime position

Deep threat: New England Patriots wide receiver Brandon Lloyd is proving to be as advertised so far during training camp. According to Mary Paoletti of CSN New England, the veteran wideout and quarterback Tom Brady have been the highlight of practices, connecting on deep passes that have drawn “oohs” and “ahhs” from spectators. Considering Randy Moss never posted fewer than 11 TDs or 1,008 yards during his three full seasons in a Pats uniform, Lloyd could be primed for a career year. With Kyle Orton at the helm during his time with the Denver Broncos in 2010, Lloyd managed 1,448 yards with 11 touchdowns. Last season he played for both the Broncos and Rams, yet still amassed 966 yards and five scores. Now that he is reunited with OC Josh McDaniels and will be catching passes from the best quarterback he’s ever played with, the Illinois product could be one of the better fantasy football values if he can stay healthy. Wes Welker currently has an ADP of 19.89, while Lloyd holds an ADP of 62.14 on NFL.com’s draft center. In the NFL fantasy experts league mock draft, Lloyd was not selected until the sixth round as the 52nd overall selection. He could be well worth the investment as a borderline No. 2 or 3 wideout in drafts.

Tom Brady could have the deep threat he’s lacked since 2009. (Ben Liebenberg/NFL)

Elite concern?: Houston Texans wideout Andre Johnson suffered a strained groin during practice over the weekend, and though it is not considered serious, this is just the latest in a string of injuries plaguing the veteran. After missing 12 games the last two seasons, fantasy football owners are growing concerned with spending an early-round draft pick on a receiver who could wind up missing significant time. Entering his 10th season and now 31 years old, the Miami product doesn’t have time on his side. Still, other than last season, Johnson hasn’t scored fewer than eight touchdowns or totaled less than 1,216 receiving yards since 2008. Given his current ADP of 17.43, it will be hard to pass on him in the second round of drafts, but owners should consider ensuring the rest of their receiving corps can hold down the fort if he misses time once the season starts.

Marching in: Per SI.com’s Peter King, the New Orleans Saints are counting on running back Mark Ingram to be a “200-touch player for them this year.” Despite missing six games in 2011, Ingram still posted a team high 122 touches and tied for the lead with five rushing scores. Still, he will have to improve on his 3.9 yards per attempt, which was the lowest total among Saints running backs. With an ADP of 97.48, the Alabama product could surprise fantasy football owners who take a chance on Ingram. Those extra projected 78 touches the Saints are expecting from Ingram would likely come at the expense of Darren Sproles, who totaled a team-high 603 yards rushing in 2011. It’s still early in training camp, and Ingram will have to prove he is capable of carrying a heavy load. For now, owners should take a cautious approach. As NFL.com’s fantasy guru Michael Fabiano pointed out in his fantasy mailbag, “I’d grab Ingram in the middle rounds as a potential flex starter with some upside, but I wouldn’t expect a breakout season.”

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