How will Brandon LaFell's return affect Patriots WR corps?

Brandon LaFell is eligible to begin practicing this week after opening the season on the physically unable to perform list. AP Photo/Jim Mahoney

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots wide receiver Brandon LaFell is eligible to begin practicing this week after opening the season on the physically unable to perform list, and head coach Bill Belichick was asked Tuesday if the team plans to start the clock rolling on LaFell.

"We probably will," Belichick answered. "We'll talk about that a little later on today when we get with the [athletic] trainers and see how the workouts went today, and so forth. It's definitely something we'll be talking about with players that are in that category. We haven't made a final decision on that, but those are definitely possibilities with all three guys [LaFell, defensive tackle Chris Jones and linebacker Dane Fletcher]."

When a player on PUP returns to practice, he still doesn't count against the 53-man roster, so the Patriots won't have to make any immediate moves until they officially move LaFell to the roster within a three-week window from the day he starts practicing.

With that as a springboard, let's dissect the wide receiver corps and who might be affected most when that happens:

Julian Edelman -- He seldom comes off the field (83.4 percent of the offensive snaps) and that shouldn't change upon LaFell's return. He's the team's No. 1 target and leads the way through five games with 40 catches for 449 yards and four touchdowns.

Danny Amendola -- He's played 56.5 percent of the offensive snaps, always part of the three-receiver package and sometimes part of the two-receiver package with Edelman. LaFell's return could affect Amendola slightly in the sense that he might not see as many repetitions in the two-receiver package. He has 17 catches for 203 yards and a touchdown this year.

Keshawn Martin -- Since he was acquired in a trade from the Texans on Sept. 17, he's been a quick study in the team's offense, averaging 41 snaps per game. That number would likely be lowered considerably when LaFell comes back and could lead Martin to be used more on special teams where he has experience as a returner. He has six catches for 95 yards and a touchdown this year.

Aaron Dobson -- The 2013 second-round draft choice from Marshall has been a healthy scratch the last two games as Martin has passed him on the depth chart. Things have dipped for Dobson since the Sept. 20 win over Buffalo when he played 70 snaps and was productive. LaFell's return would push him even further down the depth chart, and potentially even threaten his roster spot. He has nine receptions for 101 yards this year.