Ryan Broyles was a favorite sleeper of many fantasy experts heading in to the season, which made sense. The Detroit Lions are one of the most pass-happy teams in the NFL, and have been looking for a legitimate target opposite of Calvin Johnson for years now. Broyles is a supremely talented player that really started to come on late last season, before going down with a serious knee injury. He is now healthy, and I expect him to be a solid fantasy option for Week 4 and beyond.
Broyles has been recovering from that knee injury so far this season, and got his first game action last week against the Washington Redskins. He caught all three passes thrown his way on Sunday and totaled 34 yards receiving. Those numbers are not impressive, by any means, but it was definitely nice to see Broyles back on the field. He made sharp cuts and showed good speed, which is always nice to see out of a guy coming off of knee surgery.
In Broyles’ absence, Nate Burleson took over the role of No. 2 wide receiver for Detroit. He performed nicely, with 19 catches and 239 yards in three games. Burleson has always been annoying to fantasy players. While he is a solid veteran player, he does not put up the type of numbers that you would expect out of a receiver starting opposite of Megatron. Broyles is undoubtedly the more talented player, and should get plenty of opportunity to take over the No. 2 WR role for the Lions starting in Week 4.
As you have probably heard by now, Burleson was involved in a bizarre one-car accident late Monday night, and suffered a broken arm in the process. It looks like he will miss at least eight weeks. While this is obviously unfortunate for Burleson, this is a big opportunity for Broyles. He gets his first crack at fantasy relevance this week against the Chicago Bears. The Chicago defense is very good, and this is not an ideal matchup for Broyles. That being said, as always, the defense will be focused on Johnson, and that should create plenty of opportunity for Broyles to contribute. The Lions love to throw the ball, so there should be plenty of targets to go around.
In standard 10 or 12 team leagues, I will probably try to stay away from Broyles for a week. I would just like to see how he looks coming off of the injury, and the matchup is far from ideal. However, I do not hate the play, if you are desperate or are in a deeper league. The opportunity is there for Broyles to be a solid fantasy WR 2. It is up to him to prove that the preseason hype was warranted.