In a week where some of the leading fantasy scorers among wide receivers are owned in less than 30 percent of ESPN leagues (Tiquan Underwood, Julian Edelman and Jacoby Jones), Nate Burleson was the biggest surprise of them all.
Burleson missed seven games after breaking his arm in a car accident. He played decently in the first three games of the season. He caught 19 passes for 239 yards. He returned on Sunday, and it was like he never even left. Burleson had seven catches for 77 yards and scored his first touchdown of the season. With Darrelle Revis covering Calvin Johnson for most of the game, Burleson was able to succeed.
The Detroit Lions play NFC North rival Green Bay Packers in the first game on Thanksgiving, a great matchup for Burleson. The Packers are one of the worst fantasy passing defenses in the league, having allowed 1,710 yards and 13 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers.
An added benefit to Burleson’s value is that Matthew Stafford throws the ball a lot. He has 465 pass attempts so far this season, 20 more than Peyton Manning. He threw the ball 727 times last year, 57 more times than the No. 2 quarterback. Whether Aaron Rodgers returns for this game or not, this game will still be a shootout and Stafford will throw the ball close to 40 times.
Burleson was targeted 10 times in his first game back, second to Johnson. As the clear-cut No. 2 wide receiver for the Lions, Burleson will get his fair share of targets. He’s owned in just 3.4 percent of ESPN leagues and is worth adding with the fantasy playoffs only one week away.
The Lions passing game will flourish in the fantasy playoffs. The Lions take on the Philadelphia Eagles, Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants, who are ranked first, 14th and 20th respectively in fantasy points allowed to opposing wideouts.