Brandon LaFell could be Patriots new utility weapon

LaFell as ‘Swiss Army Knife': If there’s one thing the Patriots have excelled at during their decade-long run of success, it’s been the ability to find previously unknown utility from less-than-star players. In past years that’s included names like Deion Branch, Troy Brown or Shane Vereen. You might be able to add Brandon LaFell to that list. New England’s recent receiver acquisition earned plaudits from his former coach in Carolina, Ron Rivera, who said LaFell “played all of our wide receiver positions, plus he knew the tight end position.” The veteran wideout was also praised for his ability and desire to be a quality blocker. All of those things add up to more potential time on the field for LaFell. In his career, LaFell has never posted big numbers — he’s still looking for his first 700-yard season — but he’s also never played with Tom Brady before. As we enter training camp, keep an eye on a player who could have sleeper value in his new offense this season.

Moreno could need surgery: The story surrounding Knowshon Moreno this season has been his poor conditioning and how he has trailed Lamar Miller in workouts. Now we could have a reason for why that’s happening. The newest Dolphin running back could be in need of arthroscopic knee surgery. The timing couldn’t be worse with training camps scheduled to open in about a month. The hits just keep on coming for Moreno — and they’ll likely be reflected in his fantasy draft value.

Crabtree looks ‘more explosive': Even after missing 11 games because of an Achilles injury, Michael Crabtree returned to the 49ers and made an immediate impact. If you ask Anquan Boldin, Crabtree will be even better with a full season in 2014. The veteran receiver described his teammate as “a lot more explosive,” a description that should excite Niners fans and fantasy enthusiasts alike. San Francisco figures to throw the football more in 2014, which Crabtree slated as the top target for Colin Kaepernick. With Boldin, Vernon Davis and now Stevie Johnson in the fold, defenses won’t have the luxury of allocating extra resources to slowing one player. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Crabtree post WR1 numbers this season.

– Follow Marcas on Twitter @MarcasG

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