2022 Fantasy Football Detroit Lions Preview

by Dennis Sosic

Welcome Fantasy friends and foes to the 2022 Fantasy Football Detroit Lions Preview.

New head coach Dan Campbell brought a new attitude, and the Lions displayed positive signs. However, the Detroit Lions finished at the bottom of the NFC North for the fourth straight season with a 3-13-1 record. Nevertheless, the team won three of their last six games to help build momentum as they continue rebuilding in the 2022 season.

The Lions used the second overall pick on local guy Aiden Hutchinson who should lift their defense out of the second-worst ranking last season. Detroit also nabbed Alabama's playmaking wide receiver, Jameson Williams, in the first round to help upgrade an offense that averaged 19.1 points per game last season.

Will the additions on offense make Jared Goff a legit fantasy quarterback? Does D'Andre Swift explode into the RB1 territory? Does T.J. Hockenson establish himself as an elite tight end? The answers to these questions and many more can be found in the 2022 Fantasy Football Detroit Lions Preview.

2022 Fantasy Football Detroit Lions Preview

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Jared Goff is typically the punchline to multiple jokes concerning his quarterback play. Goff is a game manager who needs multiple weapons around him to be even a QB2 for fantasy rosters. However, Goff may have that now with the Lions. The Lions added wide receiver Jameson Williams in the draft and signed D.J. Chark in free agency. Combine those weapons with D'Andre Swift, T.J. Hockenson, and Amon-Ra St. Brown, who all missed games last season and were hardly on the field together last season. The Lions have what shapes up to be an explosive offense for the Dan Campbell Lions. Now the question is Can Jared Goff lead this Lions offense?

Running Backs

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D'Andre Swift is a multi-talented running back who excels in the Lions' passing game. He finished fourth in targets (78) and receptions (62) along with fifth in receiving yards (452). Swift was the RB7 in half-PPR fantasy scoring from Week 1-11 last season.

Swift suffered a shoulder injury early in Week 12 on Thanksgiving Day against the Chicago Bears and missed the next four games. He returned for the season's final two games with minimal fantasy production. The former Georgia Bulldog left a lot of fantasy production on the table last season due to injury. However, Swift had a terrific start last season and had his best games when head coach Dan Campbell took over the play-calling in Week 10.

Swift is a top-five back in PPR formats and top ten overall if we can only get Swift to stay healthy.

Jamaal Williams is the ideal backup running back. Williams is reliable and suited for the role, which is essential when dealing with his injury history of Swift. There are very must-have running back handcuffs, but Williams falls under this category.

Wide Receivers

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Rookie wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown emerged toward the end of last season and finished as the WR21 last season. The former USC standout achieved those heights by returning from his Week 9 bye week to finish as the WR5. St. Brown produced 90 receptions on 119 targets for 912 yards and five scores. St. Brown developed great chemistry with Goff, who was the only reliable weapon, with Swift missing multiple weeks at the end of the season. However, St. Brown will have plenty of competition for targets this season, so fantasy managers should temper their expectations.

The Lions moved to improve their weapons for Goff on the first day of free agency and signed D.J. Chark to a one-year, fully guaranteed deal. Chark is 6-foot-4 and a red zone threat with a 1,000-yard receiving season in 2019. He missed three games in 2020, broke his ankle last season, and only played in four. He is averaging 14 yards per reception in his career, and if he can remain healthy, he can establish himself as an ideal complement to St. Brown.

The Lions made some noise in the 2022 NFL Draft by jumping 20 spots in the first round to pick 12 to grab Alabama wide receiver, Jameson Williams. Unfortunately, Williams weighs 179 pounds, and he is coming off a torn ACL in January during the national championship game. As a result, the Lions don't anticipate Williams being available for training camp. Still, his playmaking ability will open up the offense and be worth grabbing as your third/fourth wideout.

The Lion resigned Josh Reynolds after averaging 16.1 yards per catch in seven games last season. However, with the influx of receivers this offseason, his fantasy value took quite a hit. Quintez Cephus was off to an excellent start last season before a collarbone injury ended his season after just four and a half games. Kalif Raymond is a small guy who set a career-high with 48 catches last season, but his role is up in the air with the additions to the Lions' wide receiver group.

Tight Ends

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TJ Hockenson finished as a top ten tight end last season in average fantasy points per game in PPR leagues. However, Hockenson is still being overvalued in fantasy leagues. Like most tight ends, Hockenson provides value by virtue of volume, and Hockenson was the perfect example. D'Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown were not prominent members of the Lions' offense when the former Hawkeye produced his 61 catches and 583 yards in the 12 games that he played. Unfortunately, Hockenson missed the final five games of the 2021 season due to undergoing thumb surgery.

As we head into this season, the Lions have added weapons to their offense with the addition of former Jacksonville Jaguar D.J. Chark and drafting former Alabama wideout Jameson Williams. Entire seasons of St. Brown and Swift will also eat a solid chunk of target share but should bolster the Lions' offense. This will ultimately limit the fantasy value of TJ Hockenson.

Final Verdict

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Head Coach Dan Campbell seems to have the right temperament and respect needed to succeed in the NFL. However, his success will have to be measured by the overall growth that probably won't be seen in the standings.

A successful 2022 season has the Detroit Lions doubling their win total from last season, and winning six games would be a viable accomplishment. However, one step at a time for a team always seems to be in rebuild mode.

One key factor in their development will be the success of first-year offensive coordinator Ben Johnson. His ability to max out the offensive potential of the Lions' weapons will be the ingredient to the team's success and play a significant role for fantasy managers this season.

Check out the rest of our 2022 Fantasy Football Team Previews!

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