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St. Louis Rams - Detroit Lions: A Sleeper Player To Keep An Eye On...

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Unfortunately, it's a Lion...

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

I often pick a player or two to try and track during a game. More often than not, they're lesser known players too. Why? Well, since I've been told I have the attention span of a goldfish at times, my mental wanderlust can be blamed. Rams games haven't really offered me much in the way of hedonistic satisfaction this season. So finding a little sideshow within a contest may be my way of trying to see - or avoiding? - the almost guaranteed number of miscues that can be found at any given moment of a St. Louis game in 2015...

Today, the St. Louis Rams face a spooling up Detroit Lions team. I've been closely watching one Lions player since week #2. His name is Theo Riddick, a third year running back out of Notre Dame; taken by Detroit in the 6th round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

If you went to the Draft link above - and hit his Combine review - you've probably begun to wonder why I'm so intrigued by Riddick? Without cheating, answer me this: Name the running back who currently leads the NFL in receptions? No, it is Atlanta's Devonta Freeman, San Diego's Danny Woodhead, or Buffalo's Lesean McCoy. It's Riddick, but what makes me chuckle a bit is how few actual rushing yards he has as a "running back":.. 88, that's it...

Stats courtesy of NFL.com:

CAREER STATSMORE
Season Team Rushing Receiving Fumbles
G GS Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Avg Lng TD FUM Lost
2015 Detroit Lions 12 1 29 88 3.0 9 0 60 534 8.9 34 3 1 1
2014 Detroit Lions 14 2 20 51 2.6 9 0 34 316 9.3 41 4 -- --
2013 Detroit Lions 14 0 9 25 2.8 7 1 4 26 6.5 8 0 -- --
TOTAL 58 164 2.8 9 1 98 876 8.9 41 7 1 1


In the world of great NFL running backs, Riddick is hardly a blip on the radar. But in PPR Fantasy Football, Riddick has turned into a point generating machine. Often used as a "Flex" option, young Theo has surprised all but a few FF gurus. A friend of mine at CBS Sports mentioned him, so I took a flier on Riddick Week #3. Yes, I actually needed help with my FF team... Stop laughing Brandon!

Here's everything you need to know about Riddick when it comes to his 2015 performance. You can see he loves the following: Playing on Sunday, in the daytime, on turf, and... Yes, against the NFC West... The Rams give up the 8th most fantasy points to running backs, and those who possess the ability to catch passes really seem to flourish? A big day today for Theo? I'd have to say yes...

Rushing Receiving Fumbles
G Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD Rec Tgt Yds Y/G Avg Long YAC 1stD TD Fum FL
Total 12 29 88 7.3 3.0 0 60 73 534 44.5 8.9 34 7.8 24 3 1 1
Home 7 19 60 8.6 3.2 0 39 50 370 52.9 9.5 34 7.8 16 2 0 0
Away 5 10 28 5.6 2.8 0 21 23 164 32.8 7.8 21 7.7 8 1 1 1
As Starter 1 6 14 14.0 2.3 0 5 6 72 72.0 14.4 21 13.6 4 0 0 0
As Sub 11 23 74 6.7 3.2 0 55 67 462 42.0 8.4 34 7.3 20 3 1 1
Day 10 28 84 8.4 3.0 0 47 57 441 44.1 9.4 34 8.1 22 3 1 1
Night 2 1 4 2.0 4.0 0 13 16 93 46.5 7.2 17 6.5 2 0 0 0
Grass 3 8 18 6.0 2.3 0 11 12 92 30.7 8.4 21 8.9 5 1 0 0
Turf 9 21 70 7.8 3.3 0 49 61 442 49.1 9.0 34 7.6 19 2 1 1
Rushing Receiving Fumbles
G Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD Rec Tgt Yds Y/G Avg Long YAC 1stD TD Fum FL
Outdoors 5 10 28 5.6 2.8 0 21 23 164 32.8 7.8 21 7.7 8 1 1 1
Indoors 7 19 60 8.6 3.2 0 39 50 370 52.9 9.5 34 7.8 16 2 0 0
Mild (41 - 60 F) 2 8 18 9.0 2.3 0 9 10 55 27.5 6.1 11 7.7 3 0 0 0
Warm (61 - 80 F) 2 2 10 5.0 5.0 0 10 11 72 36.0 7.2 13 6.4 3 0 1 1
Hot (> 80 F) 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 37 37.0 18.5 21 14.5 2 1 0 0
Rushing Receiving Fumbles
G Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD Rec Tgt Yds Y/G Avg Long YAC 1stD TD Fum FL
Games 1-8 8 17 63 7.9 3.7 0 42 53 348 43.5 8.3 34 7.4 14 2 1 1
Games 9-16 4 12 25 6.3 2.1 0 18 20 186 46.5 10.3 23 8.8 10 1 0 0
Rushing Receiving Fumbles
G Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD Rec Tgt Yds Y/G Avg Long YAC 1stD TD Fum FL
September 3 1 5 1.7 5.0 0 15 18 144 48.0 9.6 21 7.8 6 1 1 1
October 4 11 41 10.3 3.7 0 21 28 174 43.5 8.3 34 7.0 7 1 0 0
November 4 16 38 9.5 2.4 0 19 21 189 47.3 9.9 23 9.1 11 1 0 0
December 1 1 4 4.0 4.0 0 5 6 27 27.0 5.4 9 6.2 0 0 0 0
Sunday 9 25 73 8.1 2.9 0 45 57 414 46.0 9.2 34 8.2 19 2 1 1
Monday 1 1 5 5.0 5.0 0 5 5 31 31.0 6.2 13 6.0 1 0 0 0
Not Su/Mo 2 3 10 5.0 3.3 0 10 11 89 44.5 8.9 23 6.7 4 1 0 0
Rushing Receiving Fumbles
G Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD Rec Tgt Yds Y/G Avg Long YAC 1stD TD Fum FL
vs AFC 4 11 31 7.8 2.8 0 21 25 205 51.3 9.8 21 9.3 9 1 0 0
vs NFC 8 18 57 7.1 3.2 0 39 48 329 41.1 8.4 34 7.0 15 2 1 1
vs Div 5 15 46 9.2 3.1 0 19 25 183 36.6 9.6 34 8.4 6 0 1 1
vs AFC West 4 11 31 7.8 2.8 0 21 25 205 51.3 9.8 21 9.3 9 1 0 0
vs NFC East 1 2 6 6.0 3.0 0 5 5 62 62.0 12.4 23 7.2 4 1 0 0
vs NFC North 5 15 46 9.2 3.1 0 19 25 183 36.6 9.6 34 8.4 6 0 1 1
vs NFC West 2 1 5 2.5 5.0 0 15 18 84 42.0 5.6 20 5.1 5 1 0 0
Rushing Receiving Fumbles
G Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD Rec Tgt Yds Y/G Avg Long YAC 1stD TD Fum FL
vs Arizona 1 0 0 0 0 0 10 13 53 53.0 5.3 20 4.6 4 1 0 0
vs Chicago 1 7 28 28.0 4.0 0 3 6 50 50.0 16.7 34 9.0 1 0 0 0
vs Denver 1 0 0 0 0 0 8 10 66 66.0 8.3 17 6.8 2 0 0 0
vs Green Bay 2 4 5 2.5 1.3 0 8 9 52 26.0 6.5 11 6.9 2 0 0 0
vs Kansas City 1 5 17 17.0 3.4 0 6 7 30 30.0 5.0 10 7.5 1 0 0 0
vs Minnesota 2 4 13 6.5 3.3 0 8 10 81 40.5 10.1 31 9.8 3 0 1 1
vs Oakland 1 6 14 14.0 2.3 0 5 6 72 72.0 14.4 21 13.6 4 0 0 0
vs Philadelphia 1 2 6 6.0 3.0 0 5 5 62 62.0 12.4 23 7.2 4 1 0 0
vs San Diego 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 37 37.0 18.5 21 14.5 2 1 0 0
vs Seattle 1 1 5 5.0 5.0 0 5 5 31 31.0 6.2 13 6.0 1 0 0 0
Rushing Receiving Fumbles
G Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD Rec Tgt Yds Y/G Avg Long YAC 1stD TD Fum FL
In Win 4 18 49 12.3 2.7 0 16 20 209 52.3 13.1 34 9.7 11 1 0 0
In Loss 8 11 39 4.9 3.5 0 44 53 325 40.6 7.4 31 7.1 13 2 1 1
One-Sided 8 14 37 4.6 2.6 0 42 50 354 44.3 8.4 31 7.4 18 3 1 1
Not Close 6 11 36 6.0 3.3 0 37 45 292 48.7 7.9 31 7.0 14 2 1 1
Close 6 18 52 8.7 2.9 0 23 28 242 40.3 10.5 34 9.1 10 1 0 0
Late&Close -- 9 21 N/A 2.3 0 7 10 105 N/A 15.0 34 11.1 4 0 0 0

So Riddick's 138.20 FF points this year are impressive, but how does it translate into the game today? Look at these opposing running back reception yardages from each week so far in the 2015 NFL season, and the corresponding outcomes: (W = Win, L = Loss)

31 W, 46 L, 70 L, 74 W, 37 L, 81 W, 25 W, 28 L, 109 L, 58 L, 75 L, 21 L...

While not commanding in its own-right, if you watched all these game you'd see there's a definite trend opposing offensive coordinators have been tinkering with when they face the Rams. St. Louis has had problems bottling up running backs in key situations, and they've become integral in keeping drives alive. Here's a glaring failure Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams needs to take a hard look at as the season winds down. I think this is as much a scheme failure, as it is on the players. Aggressive blitz packages tend to leave someone open, with a running back in short yardage being a prime "check down" candidate.

Theo Riddick may not have a mind blowing statistical day today, but he'll be a key player. He'll appear out of nowhere, and snag a first down or three. He may even score? But not tracking this dangerous - and underused -asset of the Lions would be a mistake for the Rams...