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Ryan Broyles: Updated Fantasy Outlook & Analysis for Lions WR

Oct 14, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Ryan Broyles (84) during warmups prior to playing the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Lions defeated the Eagles 26-23 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
John RozumCorrespondent IOctober 23, 2012

Ryan Broyles of the Detroit Lions stepped up quite well for Matthew Stafford on Monday night against the Chicago Bears.

In short, his fantasy football impact has definitely increased. The question, however, is whether Broyles now has enough potential worthy of a fantasy roster spot. Obviously he won't be anywhere near a No. 1 or No. 2 option, because becoming more established is required to fill those roles.

Also, because of the injury to Nate Burleson, he can be expected to make a bigger impact. According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press:

Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson will need surgery on his broken right leg and could miss up to eight months with the injury he suffered in the second half of Monday night’s loss to the Chicago Bears.

Still, for anyone looking to add depth at receiver, in general or in the need of a waiver wire add to occasionally start, let's break down Broyles and see what we get.

 

What was Displayed on Monday?

The ability to beat man coverage and find the Cover 2 weakness inside the red zone is what Broyles proved to Detroit.

As a smaller receiver, he works best from the slot and can find more open space at the intermediate level against Cover 2. There, linebackers are generally sinking underneath, and Broyles' quickness can sift between the zones to make a catch.

Also, his score near the corner of the end zone is another weakness against that type of coverage. With Broyles' explosive acceleration, that makes it tougher for a safety to continue his backpedal for a better angle.

Although the touchdown came with 30 seconds remaining, Broyles also finished with 51 yards on three catches from four targets. Certainly a strong performance, but will he continue to see more targets from Stafford to contribute?

Well, part of that depends on the game situation and Detroit's overall offensive production.

 

Where Broyles Can Make the Strongest Impact

Obviously any three or four-wide receiver sets are the most appealing formations for the Lions to utilize Broyles. Calvin Johnson is always going to be the No. 1 guy, and it's reasonable to suspect Titus Young as the new No. 2. Factor in tight end Brandon Pettigrew, and Matthew Stafford has some solid targets.

We also have to count in running back Mikel Leshoure. So just from an all-encompassed skill position perspective, Broyles is basically needed for depth to step in as he did against Chicago.

Fortunately, because he is not a No. 1 or No. 2 guy, he will never see double coverage or even a zone schemed toward bracketing him on any route. Additionally, Broyles will face either a nickel or dime back when given man-to-man—mainly because of Megatron.

Therefore, when in the game, Broyles is a viable receiving option to Stafford—as he proved in Week 7. Our next concern is the schedule, since that may dictate how much Broyles gets involved.

 

What the Schedule Dictates

With four divisional games remaining—Green Bay twice, at Minnesota, home versus Bears—the Lions also play Seattle, Jacksonville, Houston, Indianapolis, Arizona and Atlanta.

In the games against the Seahawks, Texans and Cardinals, it's hard to imagine Broyles will get opportunities to contribute. All three field well-balanced defenses and can apply great quarterback pressure at any time.

That is where Johnson will have to step up more than he has all year. The other contests versus the Jaguars, Colts and Falcons are more favorable since all three struggle to defend consistently well against the pass.

Indy is definitely the best of this group and has lockdown potential, but Broyles won't get a nickel/dime back over him like Seattle offers in veteran Marcus Trufant. If you simply need depth at receiver, Broyles isn't a bad fantasy option.

Otherwise, it's better to wait and see if he produces more as 2012 presses onward.

 

Follow John Rozum on Twitter.

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