As we go through the usual routine of dusting ourselves off on a Monday morning from hangovers that are either induced by beverages, too much football consumption, or hurricane baby making, foggy numbers always emerge from the heavens.
More specifically, as we look back on Sunday it’s always important to dissect the usage that’s spread around each offense, whether it’s the carry split between running backs, the targets for wide receivers, or just simply the amount of plays each player was on the field for, because doing anything of significance is only possible if you’re on the field.
This is a weekly ritual, and usually if we see something that especially jumps off the screen, we note it as we run through the various taking points created by another Sunday of hot football action. Today two such usage trends have already risen, showing two players who are possibly headed in opposite directions.
They’re both from the wonderfully numerical minds at Pro Football Focus, with Mike Clay noting that during his 100-yard receiving game with two touchdowns, Lions wideout Titus Young was on the field during Detroit’s win over Seattle for 68 snaps. That’s a significant edge over No. 3 receiver Ryan Broyles and his 35 snaps, especially when we consider that Young apparently wasn’t playing at full health after suffering a knee injury last week. The conclusion here is clear: not only is Young the unquestioned second receiver behind Calvin Johnson as expected in the Lions’ offense following Nate Burleson’s season-ending injury, but he’s set to receive significantly more targets than most No.2 wideouts if this upward trend in usage continues, with Broyles a distant secondary option.
Those who spent highly on the waiver wire last week and used a high priority on Young will be pleased with their investment. However, anyone who still owns Coby Fleener in either dynasty or deep keeper leagues will be the opposite of pleased. Or maybe you’re even in a league with more moderate depth, and you’re stubbornly holding on because you’re either high, or high on Fleener’s potential and upside.
Whatever the motivation, it may be time to let go. The Colts invested highly during last spring’s draft in two tight ends: Fleener, and Dwayne Allen. Fleener, though, has struggled with injuries. He’s missed only one game, but he’s been limited in others, resulting in his minimal 222 receiving yards through the first seven games of his career, 82 of which came in Week 1.
So release your grasp if you’re one of the few people holding on, because Fleener’s struggles have allowed Allen to rise and earn more playing time. As Clay also notes, yesterday during the Colts’ overtime win over Tennessee Allen was on the field for 66 snaps, while Fleener was involved in only 19 plays. Usage which favors one player over another at a position that significantly hints at far more than just injury limitations, because if an injury was that problematic the player in question wouldn’t be playing at all.
And now the links part of the links post…
- Steven Ridley’s touches are going down, but his production is going up. Also, down is up. [Chet Gresham]
- So, is it time to make your Nick Foles waiver claim? [SB Nation]
- There’s another scapegoat in Philly. His name is Nnamdi Asomugha, and he was once a really, really good cornerback. [PFT]
- Hate Tony Romo in reality if you wish, but he’s still a fantasy producer, as long as you’re not forced to start him consistently. [The Fake Football]