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Jahvid Best: Determining Fantasy Impact for Lions RB Upon Return from PUP List

DETROIT - OCTOBER 16: Jahvid Best #44 of the Detroit Lions watches the action from the bench during the NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at Ford Field on October 16, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The 49ers defeated the Lions 25-19.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistOctober 10, 2012

With the possibility that Jahvid Best could be cleared to resume playing in Week 7 for the Detroit Lions, what should fantasy owners expect from the exciting but oft-injured running back? Should you be looking to add him to your team a week before his potential return?

We'll get to that.

First, we'll need to see whether or not Best is cleared for play in Week 7. He'll still need to pass a number of tests and be cleared by a consensus amongst his doctors before he can play, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Nevertheless, head coach Jim Schwartz has been impressed with the shape Best is in (via Anwar Richardson of MLive.com):

#Lions Jim Schwartz on Jahvid Best" He’s in the best shape he’s been in since he was a rookie." #NFL #fantasyfootball

— Anwar Richardson (@AnwarRichardson) October 9, 2012

Meanwhile, guard Rob Sims thinks he'll make an immediate impact on offense (via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press):

"He changes this offense, no doubt," guard Rob Sims said. "You can't cover him out of the backfield, and when he gets the ball and gets going -- he was over my house a couple weeks ago and we were watching highlight films of him at Cal. I couldn't believe it. I was like, 'You're my friend?' He's unbelievable."

With that being said, there are reasons to be wary as a fantasy owner.

For one, Best's concussion history is a concern (for more than just fantasy owners, for his quality of life moving forward). Even if he does return in Week 7, one would imagine his workload would be pretty limited initially.

However, there is also the fact that the primary guy in Detroit's backfield is Mikel Leshoure, who will likely see the majority of carries and snaps on first and second down.

While Best would immediately give the team a dynamic third-down back, how willing are you to start a player whose impact is limited to one down?

That's the main risk with Best. I love his game-breaking ability, but if he's only getting 10-15 snaps per game, I'm not sure he's worth starting unless he collects a lot of receptions. If that's the case, he'll have PPR value.

For this week, I'd avoid Best. If he is cleared to play in Week 7 and is named on the active roster, I think he's worth a speculative add if you can afford to sit him on the bench for a few weeks. I don't think you can start him right away; I think you need to see how his role is defined in Detroit's offense.

Keep him on your radar, just don't expect he'll be worth a flex spot immediately.

 

Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets know when to apply the infield fly rule.

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