In this weekly column, I typically explore some young players who haven’t made much of a consistent impact to date on their fantasy football teams. Some players may be available on your waiver wire, some may be available via a cheap or moderate trade. Acquiring or not acquiring one of these players could decide how well your dynasty or keeper team does for the next few years. This week I take a look at two young Lions skilled players: Theo Riddick and Corey Fuller.
RB-Theo Riddick, DET- The second year back’s usage is increasing each week that he is healthy and Reggie Bush is not. He started the game over Joique Bell which was a little surprising. At first blush, the back has quick feet, nice wiggle, and good balance that make him quite dangerous in space. Between the tackles is a different matter as Riddick finished with three carries for five yards on the ground (he even got a few goal line carries over Bell). Once the Lions fell behind by three touchdowns, the second year playmaker was in his element. The back got used as a receiver/back playing for the Fighting Irish, so he is quite accustomed to the role.
Riddick catches the ball in stride with soft hands, always concentrating on what is in front of him. He lined up in the backfield, in the slot, and as an outside receiver. I like the way the young back can sit down in the zone waiting for his quarterback and then flow to where the defense isn’t to give the signal caller an open receiver. Riddick has a good spin move that creates separation in the open field and has a nice jump cut that helps him get away from the defense. He does a good job shielding the pigskin from defenders while running crisp routes. This was quite evident on his short slant touchdown catch. The back had an amazing one-handed catch in the middle of the field that helped get the Lions in position to win the game, without that catch I doubt Detroit has a happy plane ride home. Riddick caught eight passes for 74 yards against the Falcons which was only second to Golden Tate with Calvin Johnson sitting out. I have a feeling that the Lions will choose to give him even more of a role in the future considering his cheap rookie contract versus what they are playing Bush. The second year back is a dynasty RB3-4 with the chance to become even more involved if he can prove more toughness between the tackles.
WR-Corey Fuller, DET- The second year receiver got his second start of his career due to the Calvin Johnson injury. While he is nothing like Johnson, Fuller offers a nice young target in the passing game. He spends the majority of the time lined up on the outside, but had some chemistry issues with Matthew Stafford. The receiver does not have the same catch radius as Megatron; this was evident with a lot of passes thrown too high or low by his quarterback. Fuller gets decent separation, but lets the ball get into his body while making a catch. He shields the ball from the defender and likes to play the receiver role more physically, hand fighting and jarring for position downfield.
Fuller finds the ball quickly and is willing to fight for jump balls in the middle of the field. He just missed on a deep pattern injuring his shoulder and slipped on another target which resulted in an interception in the red zone. His bread and butter are crossing routes which help him flex his physicality. In the running game, the wide out maintains his blocks controlling defenders. He blocks downfield in the passing game too. If you started him against the Falcons, three receptions for 43 yards won’t cut it. Fuller is more of an upside WR5-6 with the ability to grow into a WR3 if his role and athleticism break right. He is a pure upside play on teams that are looking to the future in 2015 and beyond.
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