After his biggest game of the year, Nate Burleson was in an unfortunate accident and will miss time with a broken arm. This loss means that it is up to Ryan Broyles to step up in his place.
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press first reported the news on Burleson:
Nate Burleson broke his arm in 2 places in an early morning car accident. Will undergo surgery. Obviously a huge loss for the #Lions.— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) September 24, 2013
Ryan Broyles, who played 17 snaps last week in his first appearance of the season, takes over as the #Lions' primary slot guy.— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) September 24, 2013
The veteran receiver led the Lions with 116 receiving yards on six catches in the team's 27-20 win over the Washington Redskins. He had been a consistent No. 2 target over the course of the season opposite Calvin Johnson.
Adam Levitan of Rotoworld provided a look at his statistics on the season:
Nate Burleson ranked 11th in NFL in catches (19), 21st in receiving yards (239) and 35th in targets (23). http://t.co/KpDB17cv5g— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) September 24, 2013
Despite the fact that Broyles only has three catches on the season, he has a good chance of taking over Burleson's production.
The second-year player out of Oklahoma was on his way to having a big role last season after Burleson went down and Titus Young was dealing with various issues that kept him in the lineup.
Beginning in Week 7, he averaged about 36 yards per game over the course of five weeks. However, he then exploded for six catches and 126 receiving yards against the Houston Texans on Thanksgiving in what was by far the best game of his career.
Unfortunately, he tore his ACL the very next week.
The good news is that he said in the preseason that he was mentally healthy, and his solid 34-yard showing in his debut this past Sunday makes it seem like his body is healthy as well.
When he is 100 percent, he has showcased a great ability for finding holes in a defense and getting himself open. He also has great hands, which was on display throughout his college career when he totaled 349 receptions in four years.
Although he lacks the size to ever become a true No. 1 target, the Lions already have that in Johnson. Broyles should be able to settle in as the secondary option, and he certainly has the ability to make teams pay when they choose to double-team Megatron.
On a team that led the NFL in passing attempts last season and continues to utilize that strategy this year, there will be plenty of opportunities for Broyles as the No. 2 receiver. He should be added in all leagues and inserted in your lineup when a good matchup presents itself.
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