Opportunity in the NFL can translate to success in fantasy football. Are these target numbers a trend or an aberration for these players' fantasy football value? Do they deserve attention on fantasy football waiver wires?
Leshoure might be listed as the starter, but Bell is the real mover and shaker in the Motor City backfield. While Leshoure has managed three touchdowns in the last four games, it's come at a disappointing average of 3.4 yards per carry.
Joique keeps jukin'
In that time, Bell has seen his workload increase each week in both the running game and the passing game. Last week Bell played 13 more snaps than Leshoure and was utilized on five more plays. Bell is quickly gaining value as a flex play consideration. Leshoure can't be forgotten, however, as he will likely get the carries near the end zone. This week against a hapless Arizona Cardinals team, Leshoure figures to get the late touches assuming the Lions are grinding down the clock looking to snap their five game losing streak.
With Broyles (torn ACL) done for the year and Titus Young shipped to Siberia, the rookie Durham, who played with quarterback Matthew Stafford at Georgia, has gone from practice squad to starter. Durham has some size, and the history with Stafford doesn't hurt, but it's hard to expect consistency from him right now.
Since Week 11, Scheffler and Pettigrew have combined for 28 receptions on 61 targets with all the injuries at wide receiver. Pettigrew missed much of last week's game with his ankle injury, and his potential absence would all but guarantee a second straight game of double-digit targets for Scheffler. Efficiency has been an issue for the Lions in the air, but the volume of chances would make Scheffler a borderline starter.
The Packers have reluctantly made Green their starter, although the recent injury to Starks (knee) helped make the decision a very easy one. Harris came off the practice squad to spell Green for seven snaps, all rushing attempts, including a 14-yard touchdown run. Ryan Grant is back and received a big cheer on his single run for 13 yards but figures to be slowly worked back into game shape. This backfield will get chances as the Packers want to stay somewhat balanced, but the performance just has not been there.
Aaron Rodgers has played well before in bad weather games but was limited to a season-low 173 yards, 102 going to Cobb, and couldn't get things going with his other receivers. Weather could be a factor again this week on the road against the Chicago Bears, so the passing options, outside of Cobb in the short passing game, may struggle once again.
In his first opportunity to carry the load, Owens dealt with cramping to start the second half, but he returned to tear off a long touchdown. He's looking like the starter down the stretch with no word on improvements from Jennings (concussion) and MJD (foot).
Without Shorts (concussion), the Jags were predictably awful. Blackmon never left the field but only managed six catches for 57 yards on a dozen targets despite playing every snap on offense. The lack of Shorts stretching the field and Blackmon's matchup with Antonio Cromartie limited him. Kevin Elliott and Jordan Shipley were force-fed a combined 17 times but only made eight catches. Lewis was a non-factor, managing a single catch for four yards.
The next two weeks are pretty unfavorable for the Jags, but Shorts' play-making ability makes him a high-end WR3, should he return. His presence would also elevate Blackmon to a fringe WR3.
Over the last three games, Drew Brees has thrown nine interceptions and just three touchdowns. He's also very likely to finish this season with his worst completion percentage since joining the Saints in 2006. The sagging performance of the Saints' passing game has taken place against three of the best teams in the NFC, but things are about to get a lot better. This week they'll host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, easily the worst pass defense in the league. Colston, Graham and Moore all remain worthy starts in this great matchup as their targets have remained intact during this recent dip in performance.
The aforementioned slide also coincides with the return of Sproles, who's averaging 8.3 targets per game and got his first carries since a three-game absence. He doesn't look like the electric player from a year ago but has serious PPR value. After a very solid performance in Week 13 (14 carries, 84 yards), Thomas totaled 76 yards last week, the bulk coming on seven receptions. Ingram went back to being the lead back, logging a season-high 68 yards. Neither of those options is very trustworthy on a weekly basis.
Spiller, Wilson and more risers....
About Eric McClung
Eric McClung has been profiled by the FSWA for covering the fantasy sports spectrum and is a three-time award finalist. Over the years, he's made several appearances in print and on radio. McClung began contributing to KFFL in 2008 and currently serves as one of KFFL's featured fantasy NASCAR experts. He's also captured the fantasy football championship in the KFFL staff league twice.
Don't miss these great reports....