5 Under-the-Radar Detroit Lions to Watch against Arizona

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Joseph Fauria, TE

Sep 8, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Joseph Fauria (80) celebrates during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

It’s far too soon to draw conclusions with only one game of sample size. But if we were to do just that, it would be relatively apparent that Joseph Fauria is the best receiving tight end on the Lions’ squad right now.

That probably isn’t true — yet — but what is true is that he earned himself more playing time with his performance last week. You wouldn’t know it to look at his final stat line, but Fauria didn’t really get a lot of playing time against Minnesota. He just maximized what he did have.

Fauria ran only six routes, but was targeted on three of those routes, catching all three passes (a novel concept for a Lions TE), for 27 yards and a touchdown. According to Pro Football Focus, that puts him first in yards per route run among all NFL TEs at 4.5. Incidentally, Brandon Pettigrew is dead last with 0.17 yards per route run.

It’s an obscure stat based on a very small sample size, but it shows something important: When Fauria gets on the field, he gets open and catches the ball. That’s enough to get him some more work in Arizona. Like Waddle, Fauria is a work in progress, but if he keeps progressing like this, he’ll be a major part of the offense before too long.