Patriots Fantasy Football: It's time for Brandon Lloyd to hit the bench

Brandon Lloyd has been a disappointment thus far in the season in more ways than one for Patriot fans. And although Lloyd's spectacular sideline grabs may temporarily blind Pats fans from his other weaknesses, his inability to catch easy passes almost cost New England the game against the Jets last week.

Lloyd dropped two passes over the middle that would've gone for big gains in the first half, and dropped a potential game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. Lloyd not only finished with three drops, but he was targeted by Tom Brady a total of eight times in the game. And at the end of the Patriots' 29-26 overtime win over New York, Lloyd walked off the field with only one catch for six yards.

The learning curve wasn't expected to be this big for Lloyd, who worked with Patriots' offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in Denver and St. Louis. Through seven games, Lloyd has 35 receptions for 407 yards and one lone touchdown in garbage time at Buffalo. Lloyd has still made big catches for the Pats, and is not headed down the same path as Chad Ochocinco. He has contributed in his short time in New England and one off week doesn't mean he and Brady have a lack of chemistry.

It is concerning, however, that Brady and Lloyd have connected only 35 times on 65 targets. Some of that is on Lloyd, whether it be his inability to get open on a play, a miscommunication or a poorly ran route. Some of it is on Brady, who hasn't always been accurate putting the ball in an easily catchable spot for Lloyd. In fact, Lloyd has prevented Brady incompletions this season, using his great hands, body control and footwork to make diving catches or drag his feet along the sidelines. The jury isn't out yet on Lloyd's time with the Patriots, but it may be time for him to hit the bench on your fantasy team.

Lloyd doesn't find the end zone, puts up inconsistent numbers and even though there is added fuel as Lloyd faces his former team in London, it is time to give someone else a try at wide receiver on your fantasy roster. The Patriots official site injury report said Lloyd was limited at practice Wednesday due to a knee ailment. Although he is officially listed as questionable right now, don't count on getting a straight answer regarding Lloyd's availability when the Patriots take on the Rams in England.

Even if he is upgraded to probable, Lloyd needs to ride the pine on your fantasy team until he can prove himself by putting up consistent numbers. He is a virtual non-factor in the red zone and hasn't been close to the type of deep threat that was expected when he arrived in New England. Lloyd hasn't lived up to expectations, and after his terrible performance last Sunday, he is helping the Patriots on the field or benefiting your fantasy team off of it.

Since he regressed last week to an all-time low, he will put up much better numbers against St. Louis. But don't expect him to carry the work load for your fantasy receiving corps. With New England idle next week, you have two weeks to toy with different wide receivers on your roster.

One Patriot to start other than Tom Brady or Wes Welker: This may be another obvious one, but Rob Gronkowski returned to fantasy owners' good graces last week with a great performance. After not scoring a touchdown for two weeks (and three of four weeks), Gronk delivered against the Jets with a 6-catch, 78-yard and two touchdown performance. He had a diving touchdown catch on a third down pass in the back corner of the end zone, and in the second half, once again on third down, Brady once again found Gronk. Any time a tight end scores two touchdowns, he's a must-start.

Scouting the Rams: Nine-year veteran Steven Jackson has struggled mightily this season. He only has one rushing touchdown this season (although penalties and the replacement referees ineptitude took away other scores). He hasn't been kind to fantasy owners as he's only rushed for 380 yards on 101 attempts. Against the Patriots' eighth-ranked rush defense, don't expect him to have a break-out game. Although Daryl Richardson, a rookie out of Abilene Christian, isn't the Rams' feature back, he has gotten 55 carries this season. Jackson is expected to opt out of his contract after the season and become a free agent so Richardson may have more opportunities as the season goes on.

Sam Bradford has completed 60 percent of his passes for over 1,500 yards. His seven passing touchdowns are one above his total from his injury-plagued 2011 season and his six interceptions match the mark he had last season. He has improved for the most part this season, but hasn't put up consistent performances. Luckily for him, he faces the Patriot secondary that makes Mark Sanchez look like Johnny Unitas. If you have Bradford on your bench, and your other quarterback has a bye week, he might be a viable fantasy option this week.

Other St. Louis tidbits: Danny Amendola returned to practice in a limited this week, sooner than expected. Although he won't be a factor this week, he looks like he'll be returning soon. The Rams are 24th in pass offense and 15th in the NFL in rushing. St. Louis' pass defense is in the middle of the pack and their rush defense ranks 10th in the league.