Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin made his long-awaited return against Minnesota this week. He was injured in his last game action, as a Viking against Seattle on November 4, 2012. The Ravens waited in Soldier Field during a two-hour weather delay, and eventually lost to the Bears in overtime. Tampa Bay beat Atlanta to tie the Falcons at 2-8 for the season. And Philadelphia beat the Redskins to go over .500 and take over the NFC East. The Eagles had not owned a winning record since they beat Washington in week one. Every week is full of colorful story lines and surprises, so take a look at how you can take advantage for your keeper team.
Target: Reggie Bush
Prior to joining the Lions, Reggie Bush’s best season to date was his first in Miami. In 2011, Bush ran 216 yards for 1,086 yards (5.0 yards per attempt) and six touchdowns. He also caught 43 passes for 296 yards and another score. That equaled his career best 1,382 yards from scrimmage.
With New Orleans, he was mainly used as a receiving back, making 88 receptions for 742 yards in his 2006 rookie year. But he had fewer catches in each season that followed in New Orleans, eventually catching only 34 passes in 2010. Miami may have offered a miniature revival for the former USC Trojan. But his best was yet to come.
Bush is currently on track to set new personal records, and it’s not even close. If Bush continues the same level of production, he is on pace for 1,090 yards rushing and 1,700 total yards. That’s over 300 yards more than his previous career best. Surely, the high-powered Detroit offense hasn’t hurt his cause. The Lions are currently the sixth best offense, and rank third in passing and seventh in scoring.
Week 11 was not a great showing for Bush, when he rushed 12 times for only 31 yards (2.6 yards per carry). He added two catches for 23 yards, but was held from the end zone and outperformed by Joique Bell. The backup came in to run nine times for 49 yards (5.4 yards per attempt) and make three receptions for another 48 yards. Bell also scored from two yards out in the second quarter. Pittsburgh entered the week as the 29th ranked run defense, so this was not a proud day for Bush or the Lions. Keep your eyes on the big picture, though. This is a great time to make a Bush Push for the future of your team.
Target: Jordan Cameron
By now, you’re well acquainted with Cleveland tight end Jordan Cameron. Had you heard his name three months ago, you probably assumed someone was confusing the name of Cameron Jordan. Both are third year players who came from prominent schools in California. Jordan is a Saints defensive end from Cal-Berkeley, and Cameron went to Southern Cal. They’re also each enjoying a career season in 2013. Jordan is on pace to make 10.7 sacks for New Orleans, while Cameron could easily make his first Pro Bowl appearance for the AFC.
Cameron is currently on track to catch 89.6 passes for 1,006.4 yards and 9.6 touchdowns. He entered week eleven ranked third among all tight ends in targets (71), receptions (50) and yards (600). He also boasts the fourth most touchdowns at the position (6).
The Browns’ young phenom has only recorded seven receptions for 33 yards in the last two contests, and has not scored since week seven against Green Bay. Cameron owners are likely experiencing frustration over the recent shortcoming of fantasy points. But it’s always important to follow football, not fantasy. Get a ticket on the Cameron Express; the best days are yet to come for this 6-foot-5 beast. Imagine when they add a quarterback to this offense.
Target: Ben Tate
Starting running back Arian Foster left Houston’s week nine game against the Colts with a season-ending back injury. Since then, backup Ben Tate has stepped up with 71 rushes for 275 yards (3.9 yards per attempt) and 10 receptions for another 40 yards. Fantasy owners will be quick to note that he has not scored since week six, when Foster was still healthy.
Focus on the positive here. Since taking over as lead rusher, Tate has averaged 20.3 touches per contest. He is being used as a workhorse back, and deservedly so. His career rushing average is 4.9 yards per attempt. And Tate earned 1,040 total yards in his rookie year, as the second running back on the depth chart. In 2011, the former Auburn Tiger was called on 175 times and rushed for 942 yards and four scores. He also caught 13 passes for 98 yards that season.
This is the final year of Tate’s three-year rookie contract, and Cleveland has already expressed interest in the soon-to-be free agent. It seems likely that someone will pay good money for this young star, and few expect the Texans to repeat the mistake of Carolina’s $80 million backfield. It’s a great time to invest in Ben Tate before his value begins to skyrocket this Spring.
Stats and data courtesy of pro-football-reference.com and footballguys.com.
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