Next up in our team previews series are the Detroit Lions. Enjoy!
The Detroit Lions have arguably the least impressive track records of all-time. Since 1990, they made it out of the Wild Card round only once. That year, they advanced to the NFC Championship Game, but ended up humiliated by the Redskins; losing 41-10. After going 9-7 the past two years, they hope to turn things around with the hiring of Matt Patricia, former Patriots defensive coordinator, as their head coach.
Patricia, like almost every other new head coach, said he wants to make the Lions "tougher" and hired former Patriots assistant Jeff Davidson to restore the ground game and coach the offensive line. They also drafted Kerryon Johnson - compared to both Le'Veon Bell and Tevin Coleman. They hope he is their back of the future. I like the Patricia hire, but this is a roster still missing some pieces. It very well might be another .500 season in Motor City.
2018 Fantasy Football Detroit Lions Preview
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Matt Stafford has improved as a deep passer in each of the past five seasons. pic.twitter.com/8lBP1dOvHz
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 11, 2018
Listen, I could rave about Matthew Stafford all day if I had to. A criminally underrated quarterback by the NFL world. Stafford never had the luxuries of a ground game his entire career. Stafford ranks 9th highest of any quarterback on the NFL's Top 100 list, much higher than many other analysts would rank Stafford.
The biggest knock on Stafford is never winning a playoff game. However, almost every quarterback in the NFL wouldn't be able to win in the playoffs given the weapons Stafford had. He passed for at least 4200 yards in every year he was healthy - above 4500 when Calvin Johnson was in his prime. Stafford threw the 4th most touchdowns last year and the 3rd most passing yards. Need I say more? Stafford is my favorite quarterback to draft for fantasy football.
— PFF DET Lions (@PFF_Lions) May 16, 2018
Nobody has any guarantees about how Detroit's depth chart will look, but we do know that Blount, Riddick, and Johnson will be the three main pieces. Blount will be the short-yardage back, Riddick will be the pass-catcher, and Johnson will most likely see the majority of rushing attempts.
The Lions coaching staff knows what they're getting with LeGarrette Blount. He'll be a bruising back, rarely catching passes and tiring defenses out. He averaged a little over 4.1 YPC the past three years, two seasons with New England and one season with Philadelphia. However, Philadelphia and New England have much better offensive lines than Detroit does. Blount will undoubtedly have a solid role in the offense, but how much he can produce is the question. He's worth a roster spot in fantasy football.
Theo Riddick is basically a wide receiver. He gets more receiving yards than rushing yards and has almost as many targets as rushes. Looking ahead to 2018, Riddick will see just as much, if not more, work as last year with Matt Patricia as head coach. Patricia comes from New England, who successfully used James White, who is extremely similar to Theo Riddick. Riddick, like Blount, is worth rostering for fantasy football.
For fantasy, Kerryon Johnson is the only back in Detroit who possesses legitimate top-15 upside. He could become their three-down back. He's extremely versatile, catching 55 passes in 3 years at Auburn. While at Auburn, Johnson averaged an incredible 4.8 yards per carry. And not against bad defenses either...
He was in the SEC, arguably the best college football conference. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com mentioned that Johnson has fast feet, a strong stiff-arm, sudden burst, and "runs with juice and courage" every play. Johnson is definitely somebody I'll target in fantasy.
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 26, 2018
Marvin Jones and Golden Tate are a very underrated duo. They're one of the few pairs to each go over 1,000 yards receiving last year. Additionally, the Lions found their WR3 in Kenny Golladay. The Lions' receiving corps is certainly top-half in the league.
Kenny Golladay was electric last year. At the beginning of the year, if he caught the ball, it was a touchdown. However, he slowed down after that. He missed 5 games. Golladay was still a big-play machine, finishing the year with 17 yards per reception. Looking ahead to 2018, Golladay will hopefully be more consistent and stay healthy. He's certainly not lacking potential.
Marvin Jones had one of the best seasons of any WR last year. He had the 5th most fantasy points, more than guys like Julio Jones, AJ Green, and Michael Thomas. He had at least 85 receiving yards in 7 games and finished the year with 61 catches for 1101 yards and 9 touchdowns. On average, Jones is the 23rd receiver off the board in fantasy football. That's good value.
Similarly, Golden Tate is also a good value receiver, but only in PPR leagues. He had the 12th most points last year and is the 21st receiver off the board. For standard leagues, he doesn't score many points because he's a slot receiver and he doesn't get a ton of yards or touchdowns. Also, for the Lions, Tate has played well since coming over from the Seahawks. He's a borderline top 20 talent.
— hawkschronicle (@HawksChronicle) October 2, 2014
- Luke Willson
- Levine Toilolo
After trying (and failing) to make Eric Ebron work for many years, Detroit finally moved on from him. Now, it looks like Luke Willson will be starting with Levine Toilolo getting looks every once in a while.
Luke Willson scored the most touchdowns of his career last year with 4. Other than that, it was a pretty lackluster year for Willson.
Levine Toilolo caught 13 balls for 264 yards during Atlanta's Super Bowl run in 2016 before losing targets to Austin Hooper last year.
The Lions passing offense will be extremely high-motor and put up some of the best totals in the league, as usual. But, the running game or defense will have to step up if they want to make the playoffs in an extremely talented NFC.
Visit the F6P Fantasy Football Draft Kit Page for more advice to get you prepared for the 2018 season.
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