Talk about a blast from the past. The New England Patriots made noise on Monday when they acquired former Super Bowl MVP WR Deion Branch from the Seattle Seahawks for a conditional draft pick. Branch of course earned that MVP award with the Patriots who originally drafted him out of Louisville. Despite the seemingly good times that winning should bring about, Branch and the Patriots soon got into conflict over his contract and after a protracted battle, the team sent him to the Seahawks in 2006.
Upon his arrival in Seattle, Branch proceeded to quickly fall off the fantasy football and NFL football map due to injuries, poor QB play, and poor play by himself. So now that Branch has been rescued from the outer reaches of the football landscape and has been thrust into one of the best passing attacks in the league, it now is time to reevaluate his stock. The question is this: is Deion Branch going to be a fantasy football option once again now that he is back with the Patriots and if so what kind of numbers is he possible of gaining? Lets find out.
Taking a trip down memory lane, we should start by going back to his days with the Pats and Brady to see what is possible now that he has come back. The first place to start is the fact that Branch never caught more than the 78 passes he did during his final season in New England and before that he had never topped 57. So right away we can rule out Branch as a PPR option as he never has been a big time catch man in the league. The other side of the coin there is that Branch has a major problem staying healthy. Only once in eight years did Branch play in all 16 games and he has years of 8, 9, 11, 13, 14, and 15 games the other seasons. There are a ton of missed games in that group and so Branch will always be a tremendous healthy worry for those who grab him this week. Right now he is healthy but we all know he seems to have injuries follow him wherever he goes.
The other aspect to look at here is the fact that the Patriots are in need of a go-to-guy in the passing game after trading Randy Moss and Branch has proven to be a big time player with the club. Like I stated before he wont be a PPR type player but Branch has been placed in a very good spot to make some impact plays. He has one of the best QB’s in the game throwing him the ball and they have a nice history to bank on. Branch certainly can get his hands on a number of TD passes the rest of the season for sure.
All in all Deion Branch is only recommended for those in TD heavy leagues. Those in PPR leagues should take a pass due to the fact he doesn’t catch a ton of balls and he is an injury risk also. However he will catch some TD’s and thus has value in those setups that emphasize that category.