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Belichick: Brandon LaFell can have 'big' role for Pats

When the New England Patriots averaged a league-high 36 points during a five-game November stretch last season, it was with Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman in starring roles.

Beyond that reliable tandem, the pecking order of Tom Brady's receiving options are up in the air entering the 2014 season.

Coach Bill Belichick said Tuesday that former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Brandon LaFell has a chance to "carve out a role for himself" in New England.

"It might be a big one," Belichick added, via ESPN Boston. "I don't know, we'll see."

Fantasy footballers shouldn't go crazy with expectations. That "big" role will likely involve special teams and sporadic appearances as the "move" tight end next to Gronkowski in "12" personnel packages.

Edelman and Kenbrell Thompkins played in all two-wide receiver sets with Brady last week. Danny Amendola and LaFell came on purely for three- and four-wide packages. The picture gets even more muddled with talented second-year wideout Aaron Dobson returning from a foot injury.

If Edelman is locked into the No. 1 receiver role, it appears that Thompkins' strong training camp has earned him the other starting job.

"I've got so much confidence in him," Brady said of Thompkins after the second preseason game, "and what he's been able to do and continue to achieve for us."

As we pointed out on Monday's edition of the Around The League Podcast, it's Thompkins -- not Dobson or LaFell -- who should be the late-round flier of choice in fantasy football drafts.

The latest "Around the League Podcast" recaps all of the action from the second week of the preseason.

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