broyles-again2

If we can’t react irrationally to news in June, what the hell is the point of fantasy football then? I seek no reality in my fantasy. There was a time not so long ago when, like everyone, I believed that a Ryan Broyles sighting early this upcoming season would occur only if almighty powers intervened. Although he’s young and therefore able to heal quickly, that seemed like a reasonable assumption since the Lions wide receiver has suffered a torn ACL in two straight seasons.

But alas, there’s something or someone up there, mending Broyles and giving him a chance to post many crooked digits opposite Calvin Johnson. I believe.

After being limited over the Lions’ first five games of 2012 due to the torn ACL he suffered during his final season at Oklahoma, Broyles ripped an ACL again in Week 13, leading to awful thoughts about his immediate future. But in addition to his youth, Broyles also has experience on his side. He knows how to recover from one of football’s most serious injuries, and so with the required balance of rest and recovery, he went about the process of getting himself ready for the opening weeks of the 2013 season.

So, what’s up now with our boy Broyles? He was a full participant in all three days of the Lions’ minicamp. Yep, only six months removed from his most recent surgery.

Broyles spoke to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, and said that during his last recovery he pushed too hard to be ready for the Scouting Combine. This time he was able to relax, and chip away gradually.

“This time, there’s really not much pressure on my patella right now because my quad is firing correctly, so I think that has a large part to do with it. Rest is really the biggest thing, and that’s what I’ve learned this time around. And really I couldn’t really do that (last year) because I had to get ready to go in and show what I have. So this time around it’s worked out a lot better for me. I still got a ways to go, but continue on this pace.”

There’s still work to be done, but now Broyles will surely be a full participant in training camp, and he’ll at least get sparse use in preseason games. Those are both things that, at best, seemed like a reach after a late-season injury. Yet here we are, discussing the full minicamp participation of a receiver who excelled both in the slot and outside while catching deep balls from Matthew Stafford.

Yes, the sample size was obviously small. But it’s all we have, and dammit, it’s pretty nice. Broyles only recorded 22 receptions and he started just three games while being partially buried behind Titus Young for a time. Yet despite that overall minimal usage, he still finished with five receptions of 20 yards or more. The highlight came in Week 12 on Thanksgiving Day, when Broyles was targeted 12 times, and he turned that into six catches for 126 yards (an average of 21 yards per catch).

That’s some fine speed, and saliva-worthy potential. Broyles is set to compete with Nate Burleson for the right to play Luigi to Johnson’s Mario, though if he remains healthy that may matter only minimally for his fantasy production potential. A healthy Broyles will still receive plenty of slot targets, and although that might not result in much scoring (especially with Johnson’s red-zone beastly-ness), his yardage ceiling is still high. Translation: Broyles will be the classic definition of a late-round flier, and a fine flex play.

Broyles doing fast and productive things is good for Megatron, and it’s good for Stafford. Most of all, it’ll be good for us.