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Should you draft a Detroit Lion for your fantasy team?

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
Posted 08-08-2012 at 07:34 PM by SloMotion
Updated 08-09-2012 at 05:20 AM by SloMotion (grammar)

Greetings from the NFC North fantasy football fans ... it's that time of year again ... and whether you're a seasoned pro or rookie, you gotta' be wondering if picking a Detroit Lions player (or two) for your roster is in your best interests this season.

I'll be the first to admit I'm not much of a fantasy football afficianado, but I do know it involves a lot of player evaluations in deciding whether you start 'em or you sit 'em ... there's opportunities to trade or pick up players and it's all based on weekly matchups, a player's overall ability and current health status. Leagues vary, but you basically get a QB, two running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end, a flex player (WR or RB), one team defense/special teams and a kicker, with seven bench spots to fill out your roster ... it's dog-eat-dog and only the strong survive, but there just might be a diamond-in-the-rough on the Lions roster that'll help you into the fantasy postseason.

In seasons past, I wouldn't have recommended or given thought to any of the Lions players in a fantasy football draft, but these are the 'new' Lions and they're starting to show some promise, showcasing some real talent and coming off a pretty successful season ... this new direction for the Lions alone is cause for me to think their roster shouldn't be overlooked in a fantasy draft, but one should be reminded that drafting a Detroit Lion for your fantasy football team is not child's play ... nay, it is for the bold & the daring ... the adrenaline-junkies, the real risk-takers ... for if there's anything I've learned in my 40-some-odd years as a Lions fan, expect the unexpected ... good or bad, they certainly will surprise you.

QB, Matthew Stafford - Starting all 16 games for the Lions in 2011, Stafford answered the question of whether he could play a full season or not in the NFL, throwing for 5038 yds, 41 TD's, 315 yds per game, a completion percentage of 63.6% and a passer rating of 97.2 ... not too shabby ... the offensive line in front of him will be quite capable of providing him with time to throw again this season & let's not forget, he's throwing to probably the best wide receiver in the universe, Calvin Johnson ... this one is a no-brainer for me and if you can't get Brees, Brady or Rodgers, Stafford is in that next tier of QB's who will be putting up good numbers this season.

RB, Jhavid Best - Still not cleared to play ... don't hold your breath, and if he does play, how long is it until his next concussion?

RB, Mikel Leshoure - Did not play last season due to and achilles injury, has pulled a hamstring (allegedly) in training camp, will miss the first two games of the season due to offseason arrests ... other then that, he actually looks more like an NFL running back this season then last ... more fit, more trim, he's been working out ... if this guy could ever get out of the blocks, he could possibly be the answer to the Lions' running back problems ... there are NFL studies though, showing it takes the typical running back 3 or more seasons to recover from an achilles injury and return to pre-injury performance levels ... until then, you can expect approx. 30% of their pre-injury production out of them. As Leshoure has yet to play a single down in the NFL, 'pre-injury' performance levels are strictly hypothetical ... like to live dangerously? Leshoure could be just the fantasy draft pick for you.

RB, Kevin Smith - By default and as with last season, Kevin Smith will undoubtedly be the starting running back for the Lions until such time as he becomes unserviceable himself ... and for the record: he won't be proving his critics wrong this season ... again.

RB, Joquie Bell - Remember this guy? This should be a familiar name to Saints fans ... this would be an emotional pick for me ... a Michigan boy, attended Wayne State University ... I view him sort of as a 'Kevin Smith' without all the injuries ... not flashy, not a big-gainer, just a reliable back that's going to punch out third & short for you when you need it. Possible 'bench' pick if you feel like rolling the dice, IMO ... but I'm probably letting my personal feelings override my judgement.

WR, Calvin Johnson - ProBowl, 1st team All-Pro, 96 receptions, 1681 yds, 16 TD's, 105 receiving yds per game ... double-team him, triple-team him ... doesn't matter, he's gonna' catch the ball ... the #1 ranked fantasy player at his position ... yeah, I'd say you take him if he's available, unless you're superstitious and believe in that Madden-cover thingee.

WR, Nate Burleson - The self-proclaimed "Best-dressed man in the NFL", Nate certainly cuts a rug both on & off the field. A proven veteran, playing all 16 games, Burleson had a respectable 73 receptions for 757 yds, 3 TD's, 47 receiving yds per game despite not being Stafford's primary target ... the Lions also used him to run reverses and he was 11/85 yds in the rushing dept ... reliable and not prone to injury, there's worse wide receivers you could have on your roster.

WR, Ryan Broyles (rookie) - NCAA all-time leader in receptions, he opened training camp on the "Active/Non-Football Injury" list and is just nine months removed from surgery and an ACL injury that ended his college career. The Lions have big expectations for this kid and he will most likely be the #3 wide receiver behind Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson in an offense that will feature the forward pass. If he stays healthy, Broyles could be the 'sleeper' pick that makes you look like a genius in your fantasy league.

WR, Titus Young - 48 receptions, 607 yds, 6 TD's, 37 receiving yds per game in a somewhat tumultuous rookie season ... I say that because there were a few personal fouls involving bumping a ref or throwing the ball at another player or something like that, and a fighting incident in training camp ... the potential for good numbers is there, but the question is will maturity issues get in the way? There's the whole 'sophomore slump' thing to consider also as the league has now gotten a good look at him ... another 'sleeper' pick that could go either way.

TE, Brandon Pettigrew - 83 receptions, 777 yds, 49 yds per game, 5 TD's, played all 16 games ... this guy is a good pick, IMO. There was a few games where he seemed to have problems holding on to the ball, but that's all part of the "they certainly will surprise you" thing I was talking about earlier. While everybody's out trying to get Graham or Gronkowski, fall below the radar and pick Pettigrew ... I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

TE, Tony Scheffler - The receptions and the yardage may not be there, but Scheffler's 6 TD's last season was well above the average for NFL tight ends, something to consider when filling in the spots on your bench. The Lions like to go to him in the redzone.

Team Defense/Special Teams - Before we get all excited about the Lions defensive front-four, let me remind you Detroit was 23rd overall in team defense, 22nd defending the pass and 23rd defending the run ... down from 16th overall & 19th against the pass, up from 24th against the run in 2010. They allowed 5,881 yds and had 387 points-against ... it's debatable if they did anything to improve during the offseason or just maintained the status quo ... the defensive backfield is still a sore spot, though losing CB's Eric Wright and Aaron Berry didn't necessarily hurt them ... both can be easily replaced by draft picks or any homeless guy found wandering near Ford Field. Louis Delmas (FS), a key component of this defense, was hampered by injury last season and is injured in training camp this season already. The linebacking corps of Tulloch/Levy/Durant returns, and while not spectacular, they get the job done & they have a season under their belt. If they continue to line Suh up in the same position on every down and have him do nothing but blow up field 'to collapse the pocket', teams will once again be able to efficiently trap-block him and remove any potential threat he presents ... yeah, don't buy into the hype, unless you're that kind of person ... there's some red flags in picking the Lions team defense, but if your only other choices would be, say, the Vikings or the Bills, I'd go with Detroit ... I'm not even going to address the potential catastrophe in picking the Lions Special Team units for your roster.

Kicker, Jason Hanson - Ok, he's 40 yrs old and has been around the league for 20 yrs, he was 24/29 last season for a FG% of 82.8 ... so the old leg ain't what it used to be and he'll miss one from 40+ yds now & again, I'm not gonna' hold it against him ... hell, I probably couldn't have kicked an extra point at 40, let alone a field goal ... he's reliable and with the Lions offense, he won't be having to kick too many long ones anyway ... a fan favorite, he should be a welcome addition to any fantasy football roster.

So sports fans, just some food for thought, but as with any fantasy football draft, DO YOUR HOMEWORK, I'm not taking the blame for anybody's picks, ...

**disclaimer: These evaluations are for entertainment purposes only and as with any fantasy football evaluation, are not a guarantee of future success. The opinions expressed in these evaluations are the sole opinion of the blogger and are not necessarily the views of Black & Gold, the Detroit Lions, the NFL or their affiliates.
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Comments

  1. Old Comment
    Utah_Saint's Avatar
    Great write up slomotion. Can you do the other 31 teams next?
    permalink
    Posted 08-09-2012 at 11:00 AM by Utah_Saint Utah_Saint is offline

  2. Old Comment
    frydaddy's Avatar
    Stafford was my qb last year. Dude put up ridiculous numbers on a regular basis and won me a lot of games. I spent most of the season trying to convince my brother to trade Johnson to me as he also put up monster numbers.
    permalink
    Posted 08-09-2012 at 01:46 PM by frydaddy frydaddy is offline
  3. Old Comment
    SloMotion's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Utah_Saint View Comment
    Great write up slomotion. Can you do the other 31 teams next?
    ... Ok, but I can't promise they'll be up before the draft, .
    permalink
    Posted 08-10-2012 at 06:36 AM by SloMotion SloMotion is offline
  4. Old Comment
    SloMotion's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by frydaddy View Comment
    Stafford was my qb last year. Dude put up ridiculous numbers on a regular basis and won me a lot of games. I spent most of the season trying to convince my brother to trade Johnson to me as he also put up monster numbers.
    The key there I think is Johnson ... Stafford would have decent numbers either way, but throwing to Calvin is like having the winning 'multiplier' in the Mega Millions ... it just increases your winnings. Johnson has been around the league a few seasons and teams have had time to work up a way to stop him ... you can't, you can only, hopefully, minimize the damage he's going to do.

    Picking from the Lions roster for your FF team is not for the faint of heart, but there are a few gems there ... give Pettigrew, Scheffler & Hanson a good look and don't rule out Burleson, Young & Broyles ... Detroit is going to come out throwing once again this season. Running back is a crapshoot, I'm hoping Joquie Bell is able to help & the 'Leshoure expirement' pans out, but I wouldn't touch a Detroit RB if I was drafting for FF.
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    Posted 08-10-2012 at 06:51 AM by SloMotion SloMotion is offline
  5. Old Comment
    papz's Avatar
    I had Pettigrew on my team last year and I didn't even realize he finished with that many receptions. Should be a great value pick especially in a PPR.

    I think Kevin Smith will surprise you Slo. Hopefully he can stay healthy.
    permalink
    Posted 08-13-2012 at 12:25 PM by papz papz is offline
  6. Old Comment
    SloMotion's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by papz View Comment
    I had Pettigrew on my team last year and I didn't even realize he finished with that many receptions. Should be a great value pick especially in a PPR.

    I think Kevin Smith will surprise you Slo. Hopefully he can stay healthy.
    And that's the key with Kevin Smith, staying healthy, but even then, he's not going to put up big numbers ... in part of course, because the Lions are a 'pass-first' offense and in part because he's just not that talented a runner. I'd take him as a bench player and start him against the teams like Carolina (last season) that were weak defending the run & where the Lions obviously would attempt to exploit that ... but for the most part, I see Detroit trying to get the running game going by giving him the ball a lot before realizing he just ain't gonna' get it done and going to the pass.

    I'd be interested in hearing from people who have had Kevin Smith on their FF teams in the past and how it worked out for them, good or bad.
    permalink
    Posted 08-14-2012 at 08:04 AM by SloMotion SloMotion is offline
  7. Old Comment
    papz's Avatar
    I've had him in the past... that's why I think he's going to surprise you. I think he's underrated catching passes out the backfield and running the football. He's still only 25 and was a very good college player. Detroit's pass happy field stretching offense should benefit Smith a great deal imo. There should be a lot of holes to run through and he's now a full year off ACL injury. His explosiveness should slowly creep back.
    permalink
    Posted 08-14-2012 at 08:26 AM by papz papz is offline
  8. Old Comment
    SloMotion's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by papz View Comment
    I've had him in the past... that's why I think he's going to surprise you. I think he's underrated catching passes out the backfield and running the football. He's still only 25 and was a very good college player. Detroit's pass happy field stretching offense should benefit Smith a great deal imo. There should be a lot of holes to run through and he's now a full year off ACL injury. His explosiveness should slowly creep back.
    Ok, well you've accomplished something no Detroit fan has been able to do these past few seasons and that's to get me to reconsider my view of Kevin Smith and maybe cut him some slack ... that's "maybe", I'm still in the "reconsidering" phase, .
    permalink
    Posted 08-14-2012 at 03:24 PM by SloMotion SloMotion is offline
  9. Old Comment
    SloMotion's Avatar
    UDATE: (on the defense)

    It was brought to my attention that the Lions defense led the league last season in pick-sixes with 5 and something about doing well in the 'turnovers gained by defense' & 'QB sacks' departments and that they were actually a pretty good fantasy pick ... IDK, I admittedly don't fully understand the whole fantasy-football concept, but if that's all they're going to rate the defense by, maybe they're worth a look for your defense, but you'll probably have to pick up a different defense for the playoffs, eh? ... IDK, it's still living dangerously if you ask me ... they make a lot of mental mistakes.
    permalink
    Posted 08-31-2012 at 10:24 AM by SloMotion SloMotion is offline
    Updated 09-04-2012 at 06:11 AM by SloMotion (spelling)
 
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