Thanks to his celebrations earlier in the season, Joseph Fauria probably isn't a completely new name to many football fans. However, thanks to his 3 touchdown receptions against the Cleveland Browns, Fauria really had a coming out party on Sunday, and he is now going to be on the fantasy football radar for a lot of people. Just who exactly is this fancy new tight end in the Detroit Lions' offense? Here's the story:
"Eighth-round pick" - There are not eight rounds in the NFL Draft, but Fauria likes to describe himself as an eighth-round pick since he went undrafted. As soon as he signed with the Lions as an undrafted free agent out of UCLA, fans started talking him up as a potential contributor because of his size (he's 6'7). An injury in the preseason to Michael Williams ensured that Fauria would make the 53-man roster, and he's spent the first part of this season showing NFL teams that somebody should have drafted him.
Touchdown machine - Fauria now has 7 catches this season. 5 of his catches have been touchdowns. Yes, you read that right. 71 percent of Fauria's catches have gone for touchdowns this season. And considering only 2 of his targets haven't been caught, Fauria is scoring touchdowns more than half the time Matthew Stafford throws the ball to him. His size has a lot to do with that, as Jim Schwartz said after Sunday's game:
How has Fauria been so successful for you? Schwartz: "He's tall as hell"— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) October 13, 2013
Bigger role in the Lions' offense - Going into Sunday's game, the plan was for Fauria to get more involved because Tony Scheffler is out with a concussion. It remains to be seen just how much time Scheffler will miss, but the plan to get Fauria more looks clearly paid off against the Browns. Most of his playing time is still limited to the red zone (as evidenced by 3 touchdowns on 3 targets), but perhaps the Lions will start to unleash Fauria going forward before getting down near the goal line.
Celebration extraordinaire - Even before Sunday, Fauria grabbed headlines for his end zone celebrations, one of which was based on 'N Sync's "Bye Bye Bye" dance. The celebration caught the attention of Jimmy Fallon, who donated $10,000 to charity on behalf of Fauria for winning his "end zone dance challenge." Fauria continued his dancing ways on Sunday on two of his scores, and he dunked the ball over the crossbar of the goal posts on his other touchdown.
Fantasy outlook - For those looking for help on the waiver wire at tight end, Fauria is a very intriguing player. Considering nearly all of his catches are touchdowns, he's sort of a boom or bust type of player for fantasy football. If he doesn't find the end zone, chances are you're not going to get much production out of him. But if he does find the end zone, he could score multiple times like on Sunday. Perhaps this boom or bust notion could change if the Lions start involving him more outside of the red zone, but even if they don't, the risk could be worth it if Stafford keeps looking in his direction in the end zone.