Week 13: PPR Watch
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Confident - The Detroit Lions have struggled to find another reliable receiver after Calvin Johnson; much of Matt Stafford's struggles are directly related. Titus Young has been underwhelming, Pettigrew has too many drops, and Burleson is on IR. Broyles stepped up nicely in week 12, catching 6 of 12 targets for 126 yards. He's probably faster than the 4.57 40 time he recorded at the combine, and his selection in the second round was a testament to how "Pro-Ready" he was considered to be, despite having neither size or huge athletic upside. Stafford is going to continue throwing more than 40 times a game, and that means huge opportunity for Broyles. This week is a fantastic matchup at home against a Colts secondary that allows the 5th most fantasy points per game to wide receivers. If you own him, start him with confidence.Injury Status: Injured Reserve
Confident - I've mentioned Rodgers in the past this season (maybe even prematurely), but his stock is continuing to rise. Looking purely at the numbers, there's nothing to see here. Sure, Rodgers is getting more snaps than Turner now -- about 4 more touches than his season average over the last 2 games -- but Turner was still in at the goalline (even in PPR, his ceiling has been pretty low). Thing is, Atlanta wants to win this game. It is too late for the Saints to claim the division, but the Falcons don't want to lose to them twice in 3 weeks. This is a division rival they've struggled to overcome, and a win would be a statement. When they played in week 10, Turner was completely ineffective, gaining just 15 yards on 13 carries against a Saints defense that's allowed 5 yards per carry to opposing backs on the season. Those kind of numbers don't fade from a coach's mind, and I suspect Rodgers is in for his biggest workload of the season in a very favorable matchup. Don't force it, but play him if you need him.
Caution - Like Broyles, Bush was another highly sought after pickup this week. Bush and Forte haven't really materialized into the dynamic 1-2 punch that I envisioned before the start of the season. The two backs have very different styles and would seem to complement each other very well, unfortunately the Bears' offensive line hasn't gotten the kind of push they need for a runner like Bush to be successful. At just 3.5 yards per carry, and a long of 18, Bush has hardly been dynamic so far this season. He has good hands and definitely can contribute in the passing game as his 37 receptions proved in 2011, but at this point he's also far from a guarantee to get the start. Forte is practicing on a limited basis, and Bush owners anxious to put him in need to pay close attention to Forte's status. It is likely that Bush will get more than his usual workload, but Seattle isn't an easy matchup, and Bush needs volume to produce.
Caution - Hopefully anyone who read this column last week and picked up Hillman was listening Sunday morning when Moreno was announced the starter. I can think of few more surprising last minute decisions than this one. Mike Shanahan would have been proud. Football is about seizing opportunities, and Moreno did exactly that, compiling 111 total yards on 24 touches. I'm not going to sing Moreno's praises. He was a serviceable RB2 at times in his rookie year and a decent pass catcher for PPR, but has never shown the burst in the NFL that we saw in college. I get that he's the most complete all around back, and as long as he doesn't fumble it looks like this is his job to lose, but I'm still not going to start him in an unfavorable matchup. Tampa Bay is an unfavorable matchup. Tampa allows a ton of points, but most of it is through the air. The Bucs have allowed the absolute fewest rushing yards of any defense in the NFL. Just 755 yards in 11 games. He might score; he'll probably have 4-5 receptions, but I hate his upside this week. I hope you have better options.
Caution - I'm a big fan of Antonio Brown, but his production this year has been nothing short of disappointing. Even when he was healthy and on the field with Big Ben behind center, he was still only 47th in points per game at the position. His promising pre-season has not materialized, and he's failed to even meet the expectations he set for himself with his performance last year. Now he's still battling a sore ankle? No thanks. The Ravens secondary is only middle of the road this year, but the game is on the road, and this would be Brown's first week back. Even if Roethlisberger does play, I can't start Brown; if Charlie Batch is behind center, you can downgrade this Caution to an Avoid. It pains me to say it, but there are just too many other WR options materializing to experiment with the Pittsburgh passing game.