Matt Asiata joined the Lions in hopes of making their final roster. He's barreled for 15 touchdowns over his last three seasons but averaged 3.5 yards per carry in the process. Unlikely for a big role in Motown, Asiata shouldn't be a Fantasy consideration.
Asiata's chances of making the final roster will depend on the health of the running backs ahead of him on the Lions' depth chart, Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press reports. Signed in late May to add veteran depth to a relatively young Detroit backfield, Asiata is a jack of all trades but a master of none. He's capable -- but not proficient -- in nearly all of the responsibilities that belong to a modern day NFL running back, including pass protection, catching balls out of the backfield, and toting the rock. However, he's buried under Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick (wrist), Zach Zenner and Dwayne Washington on the depth chart. There's a chance Detriot keeps five running backs on the 53-man roster in 2017 since it let go of fullback Michael Burton this offseason, but as it stands, Asiata looks to be competing with fellow reserve Mike James to claim the potential No. 5 RB job.
Asiata agreed to a one-year deal with the Lions on Friday, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Asiata, who spent the previous five seasons with the Vikings, will remain in the NFC North as a member of the Lions. The 29-year-old's best season in Minnesota came in 2014, when he tallied 882 total yards to go along with nine touchdowns. With Adrian Peterson sidelined much of 2016, Asiata managed a respectable 402 yards on 121 carries and six touchdowns. He will enter a crowded backfield in Detroit, so it remains to be seen whether he'll make the final roster. The team is likely looking for a bigger back to pair with the elusiveness of Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick.
Asiata had eight carries for 14 yards and three receptions for 31 yards on three targets in Sunday's win over Chicago. Asiata had a productive season with 402 yards rushing, six touchdowns and 32 receptions for 263 yards. He worked as the goal-line back and the No. 2 running back most of the season with Adrian Peterson missing 13 games. His 3.3 yards per carry wasn't impressive, but he was running behind an injury-depleted offensive line and he's always been more of a sure-handed player than explosive back. He'll likely have a similar role in 2017, but much of his fantasy value depends on whether the Vikings bring back Adrian Peterson.
Asiata rushed six times for 34 yards and caught three of four targets for 30 yards in Saturday's loss to the Packers. Asiata was expected to see an expanded role in the absence of Adrian Peterson (knee/groin), but Minnesota could never commit to the ground game while playing in catch-up mode most of the day. Furthermore, as the Packers are much stronger against the run than they are against the pass, Asiata's services simply weren't needed in the red zone because QB Sam Bradford was able to exploit the Green Bay secondary three times through the air. His outlook moving forward is contingent upon Peterson's health, but if his teammate sits, Asiata could be in store for a larger workload in the Vikings' regular season finale Week 17 against the Bears.
With teammate Adrian Peterson (knee/groin) ruled out, Asiata could be in store for an expanded role Saturday against the Packers. Asiata played merely 12 snaps in Peterson's return from injury last weekend, but with the former MVP back on the sideline again Saturday, Asiata could enjoy a split of snaps with Jerick McKinnon at running back. Although his 3.3 yards per carry this season have left much to be desired, Asiata's six rushing touchdowns at least provide some fantasy upside.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/19||@New York Giants||7||14.88|
|6||10/15||@New Orleans Saints||31||21.63|
|9||11/07||@Green Bay Packers||11||15.42|
|14||12/10||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||22||18.75|
|17||12/31||Green Bay Packers||11||15.42|
|3 Year Avg||105||361||5||32||236||0||91|