Week 6: Player Upgrades
Defenses are going to such great lengths to shut down Calvin Johnson. Since Titus Young has been such a disappointment as a potential sleeper, where does that leave us? Well, it forces us to focus on the ageless wonder, Nate Burleson. With all due respect to the former Nevada-Reno receiver, he is only 31 years old and is playing at a very high level. In his last two games, he has a very respectable 23 targets, which is only one fewer than Megatron himself. To take this target analysis one step further, in Weeks 3 and 4 (the last two weeks Detroit played), Burleson ranked fifth in the NFL in targets! Now, the Lions play Philly in Week 6 and they've got a respectable pass defense against WRs. The key for Burleson's production is that he is far more valuable as a flex option in PPR leagues than standard formats. If you are after touchdowns, he is not your guy. Since Burleson is on track for a career-best 88 receptions, he could be very valuable for the remainder of the season.
There is a lot to like about Brandon Pettigrew: No. 1 TE, pass-first and high-scoring offense, great WR that frees up the middle of the field, etc. Unfortunately, Pettigrew has been a low-end TE1 for our fantasy purposes throughout his career and has been unable to bring it all together. The upside with him always boils down to one simple truth: the guy gets a ton of targets. In three of Detroit's four games, he has had at least nine targets. He ranks second in the NFL among TEs in average targets per game. Pettigrew is even tied for third in receptions despite playing one fewer game than most teams due to a bye. There are just too many positive indicators that suggest Pettigrew is due for improved statistical performances. Fantasy owners should hang on to him or trade for him while exercising patience that his success will come to fruition.