Detroit Lions Fantasy Breakdown
The Lions are usually not taken seriously by NFL fans but this team has some top notch talent on the offensive side of the ball that shouldn’t be undervalued in fantasy drafts just because the uniform they wear. Let’s dive into this fantasy breakdown of the Detroit Lions.
Offseason additions: RB D’Andre Swift (R),
WR Geronimo Allison, QB Chase Daniel,
WR Quintez Cephus (R), RB Jason Huntley (R).
Offseason subtractions: QB Jeff Driskel,
RB Tra Carson, QB Kyle Sloter.
Quarterback: Veteran QB Matthew Stafford is one of the better value picks at his position this season with a current ADP of #109. That’s quite a steal when you take into account that we finally saw the 2011 Stafford again who threw for over 5k and 40 TDs. He was on pace for that in 8 games with one yard shy of 2,500 yards and 19 TDs to go against only 5 picks when a back injury ended his stellar season. After week #8 the only QBs that had more points than him and played the same amount of games were Lamar Jackson and Dak Prescott, those two superstars along with Deshaun Watson were the only ones that had a better PPG than Stafford’s 21.45 at the end of the season. That’s some elite company for a guy that usually isn’t drafted as a QB #1. Yeah, last season’s injury hurts his stock but he is reportedly 100% healthy and still has a very durable reputation even after 2019 broke his 8 season streak of playing in all 16 games. Stafford is a great sleeper with amazing upside this season and should easily outperform his price.
Running Back: Drafting stud RB D’Andre Swift 35th overall really cluttered up this backfield. Fantasy owners shouldn’t draft Swift or 2018 2nd round pick Kerryon Johnson as more than a flex option or RB #3. They both have nearly identical ADPs in the 7th or 8th rounds and will definitely be in a timeshare with each other. They cap each other’s ceilings and will most likely only be a lead back if the other gets injured. I think there’s a chance that Swift will win the job from Johnson but even if that happens it won’t be right away. They’re both very talented backs in an offense that is more pass friendly. If you draft one it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to draft the other one too, if possible, just in case of injury or if one gets beat out by the other. In deeper leagues you could possibly play both of them if this offense is firing on all cylinders like it was with Stafford last season. There’s plenty of depth here too led by Ty Johnson, Bo Scarbrough, and rookie 5th round pick Jason Huntley.
Wide Receiver: Kenny Golladay broke out in 2018 coming out of nowhere and finishing as the WR #21 despite missing a game. All day Golladay improved upon his successful sophomore season with an impressive WR #9 finish despite his starting QB missing half of the season. Stafford’s injury definitely hurt Golladay’s numbers with a drop of 3.8 PPG in the second half of the season. I know this is speculative but if you give Golladay his PPG that he had with Stafford for all 16 games he would have been the WR #2 behind only Michael Thomas. He’s firmly in the mid to late WR #1 conversation for 2020 with a current ADP of #21. His total of 11 touchdowns could easily see some regression but if Stafford can stay on the field his targets, receptions and yards will all see an uptick. Marvin Jones Jr. is a great value pick this year. He finished as the WR #28 in 2019 even though he missed three games due to a season ending ankle injury. Jones is currently the WR #39 in ADP consensus with an overall ADP of #91. This is a perfect opportunity to get a nice flex or WR #3 for cheap. He should have no problem outperforming his ADP especially if he can stay healthy. The last time Jones played an entire season he finished as a WR #1. Draft MJJ with confidence in the middle rounds. Veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola has a current ADP of #271. That will probably be enough for most fantasy owners to leave Amendola out of their draft plans and that is completely understandable. However, this is a guy who had 97 targets last year and had just 3 fewer catches than Golladay. If he didn’t miss a game he most likely would have led Detroit in receptions. He finished as the WR #49 due to only scoring once and gaining a meager 45.3 YPG. With that type of usage and a healthy Stafford, Amendola could be in line for a much improved fantasy finish. Consider him an option in deeper PPR leagues. Newcomer Geronimo Allison, along with Marvin Hall and rookie 5th round pick Quintez Cephus look to be the top depth receivers as of now.
Tight End: Last season’s 8th overall draft pick T.J. Hockenson was somewhat of a disappointment after a monster week #1 performance. A nasty ankle injury on Thanksgiving Day ended his season prematurely but his numbers weren’t good through the 12 games he played. He only topped 32 receiving yards 3 times and after week 13 he was the TE #20. That may not sound too bad but there were 8 Tight Ends ahead of him that played in less games. His targets and receptions will have to increase dramatically from his rookie campaign for him to be a consistent fantasy performer. He should be good to go health wise and could be a nice late round steal if he can make the year two jump. Jesse James and Isaac Nauta aren’t pass catching threats so Hockenson owners won’t have to worry about anyone competing for TE targets.
Defense: This unit was the 30th D/ST last season with a pathetic 4.1 PPG. There’s been so many departures and additions for this defense this offseason that it’s tough to compare this squad to last year’s. You definitely shouldn’t rely on them but on the outside chance that this new look Detroit defense clicks, they could possibly be a streaming option with the right matchup.
There’s some great sleeper candidates here with some nice upside but Golladay is the only player that’s near an elite fantasy option. Personally I’m trying to steer clear of Kerryon Johnson and D’Andre Swift but this running back situation should be monitored by fantasy owners as much as possible leading up to draft day.