I'd call the New England Patriots a smart organization, and when they make even the most minor of personnel moves, I admit to paying a bit more attention than when certain other teams do so. We've spent considerable time discussing a number of the Tom Brady receiving options this season, from the effect losing Aaron Hernandez would have on Rob Gronkowski and everyone else; why Wes Welker was seemingly being phased out; the slow start for Brandon Lloyd; the value of Julian Edelman; and now the oddly short tenure for unhappy Kellen Winslow.
What we haven't done is talk about the Deion Branch re-signing last week and its potential ramifications. OK, so it might mean little, because Branch is 33 and buried on the depth chart, but in this weekly Friday Sneaky Pickups edition of the blog, all angles must be explored. And I don't think the signing will mean little. Branch hardly has been a star fantasy option in the first place, as he's never reached 1,000 receiving yards or seven touchdowns in a season, but he was relevant in deeper formats with his 51 receptions for 702 yards and five scores a year ago, and just this Sunday night, in his season debut against the Baltimore Ravens, he was on the field for more than half of the team's snaps, catching two of his three targets.
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