Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2011 Fantasy outlooks: Detroit Lions

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

The words "optimistic" and "Detroit Lions" haven't been used together since Barry Sanders was running around the Pontiac Silverdome (and even then ...). But heading into 2011, not only are Fantasy owners optimistic that the Lions will produce some solid roster choices, but Lions fans are optimistic that their team can contend for a playoff berth.

Offensively, the team is loaded. You already know about Calvin Johnson and how he can turn quarterbacks like Shaun Hill and Drew Stanton into legit Fantasy considerations. Nate Burleson is entrenched as their second option, and the addition of rookie Titus Young complements both receivers and forces defenses to either neglect one receiver to cover the others or play deep. Tight end Brandon Pettigrew and backup Tony Scheffler only make the weapons in the pass game more threatening.

The run game got an upgrade with the addition of second-round pick Mikel Leshoure. Last year the Lions were abysmal in short-yardage situations, so Leshoure should improve that aspect of the run game while giving the team a change-of-pace back behind starter Jahvid Best. The two should make for a good tandem and in turn should ensure that they aren't running on fumes with backups during the season.

But it's the guy the Lions want under center for 16 games that will make the most difference. Matthew Stafford enters 2011 with higher expectations than what he had in 2010 thanks to all of Detroit's personnel improvements. After playing just nine and a half quarters last season, showing one full game of his golden potential against the Redskins (four touchdowns), everyone wants to see what he can do over a full season. The onus will be on him to stay upright and avoid getting his shoulder slammed into the turf like he did twice last season.

The Lions also made big improvements defensively, stealing defensive tackle Nick Fairley with their first-round pick and signing veteran safety Erik Coleman before the labor stoppage. Coleman will improve a secondary that has some talent but got battered at points last year. The run defense, even with Ndamukong Suh on the inside line, was worse, so Fairley working next to Suh should slam rushers and potentially give the Lions the type of "front two teeth" that the Vikings had for years with Kevin and Pat Williams.

Fantasy Value Chart
Player Draft Day value
Quarterbacks
Matthew Stafford
Running Backs
Jahvid Best
Mikel Leshoure
Wide Receivers
Calvin Johnson
Nate Burleson
Titus Young
Tight Ends
Brandon Pettigrew
Tony Scheffler
Kickers/Defense
Jason Hanson
Lions DST

Bounce-back candidate ... Matthew Stafford, QB

Of course Stafford is a bounce-back candidate, if not one of the ultimate sleepers for 2011. You already know the bad news: Stafford might have shoulders made of glass. And you already know the good news: Stafford, when given the chance to run this offense as it stands now, should produce at least 200 yards and two touchdowns with his eyes shut. His receiving corps is talented, his run game should warrant attention from the defense while also providing an outlet for some cheap stats and his offensive line is just good enough. Throw in offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who did a great job last year given the personnel challenges he had, and there's a lot of hope for a 4,000-yard, 25-touchdown season from Stafford. He's a high-risk, high-reward pick that Fantasy owners should be on the lookout for starting in Round 8.

Impact rookie ... Mikel Leshoure, RB

Everyone will flock to rookie rushers like Mark Ingram and Daniel Thomas in drafts, but if Leshoure catches some breaks in Motown he could be just as productive. For now, he's the backup behind Jahvid Best, but we saw Best last about two and a half games last season before succumbing to a turf toe injury. And that happened a year after a concussion KO'd his college career. Best is injury prone and might best serve the Lions as a passing downs back. Leshoure, meanwhile, is the prototype for a rushing downs back and could probably land that role (and the goal-line touchdowns that come with it). He's a superb choice to draft beginning in Round 8 -- expect his name to fly off the board as soon as fellow rookie Ryan Williams gets selected.

Keeper-league target ... Titus Young, WR

A few years back the Lions drafted speedy receiver Derrick Williams with the hope that he'd cause mayhem from the slot. But Williams never matched expectations. Young now inherits that opportunity, and the former Boise State star has the pedigree to not only earn that role but play in it often from the get-go. He's not a big guy but he does have solid hands and a lot of experience -- 150 receptions over his last two years in school for more than 2,200 yards. Imagine the dilemma defensive coordinators will have when they already have to account for Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson and Brandon Pettigrew, then deal with this burner when he comes on the field. The only issue here is that it might take Young a few years to really become productive in his role. Furthermore, his ability to eventually take the No. 2 spot opposite Megatron is not a lock considering he'll see tougher coverage in that role and might not be as productive. Time will tell on Young, but as a keeper-league target, owners should be cool with that. He's not bad as a late-round pick in deeper seasonal drafts, either.

Schedule breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
@TB KC @MIN @DAL CHI SF ATL @DEN bye @CHI CAR GB @NO MIN @OAK SD @GB

The schedule tempers the upside the Lions offer Fantasy fans -- it starts off alright but there's a four-game stretch where they take on four of the league's better pass rushers, and we all know what happens when Matthew Stafford takes on an aggressive defensive front. There are also a number of stout run defenses that await the Lions after their soft start against the Bucs and Chiefs. Most Fantasy owners catch a break in that the Lions play at Green Bay in Week 17, which helps those of us who don't play into the final week of the season. But they host the Packers in Week 12, kicking off a tricky end to the year. It's not the worst schedule in the world, and playing 11 games indoors will go a long way.

Training camp topics

2010 Touches Leaders
Player Touches
Jahvid Best 229
Maurice Morris 115
Calvin Johnson 81
Brandon Pettigrew 71
Nate Burleson 62

We talked earlier about Mikel Leshoure being an impact rookie and how it might simply be a waiting game until Jahvid Best misses playing time before he explodes. Well, Best needs to show in training camp that he's worthy of starting and holding Leshoure to under a dozen touches per game. Likewise, Leshoure needs to take advantage of his time to prove that he can be the bell cow the Lions drafted him to be. The competition at running back should be more fun to watch than what we had from Detroit at the position last summer.

Normally when a quarterback comes off of shoulder surgery, people will gawk at and dissect the velocity and accuracy of his passes. But Stafford's thrown a good amount this offseason and all accounts say he hasn't lost any zip on his ball. Accuracy has been an issue for Stafford (54.5 pct. over 13 games), and that's something that needs improvement.

Otherwise, it's all about the Lions meeting their potential on both sides of the ball. If they can reach it, the results should be exciting.

Injury update

Matthew Stafford (shoulder; probable for the start of training camp) ... Nate Burleson (elbow; probable for the start of training camp) ... Jason Hanson (knee; probable for the start of training camp).

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard . Do you have a question or a comment for our Fantasy staff? Drop us a line at dmfantasyfootball@cbs.com .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Packers RB Eddie Lacy (illness) practices Wednesday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:35 pm ET) Packers running back Eddie Lacy was able to practice Wednesday. He was unable to meet with the media after Sunday's game against the Vikings due to an illness.

Lacy rushed for a season-best 125 yards during Sunday's 24-21 win. The Vikings will play the Patriots in Week 13. New England is yielding 108.2 rushing yards per game and have allowed five rushing touchdowns in 11 games.


Texans sign QB Lewis to live roster, safety Parks to PS
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:31 pm ET) As expected, the Texans have signed Thad Lewis to take the roster spot vacated when fellow quarterback Ryan Mallett was placed on IR.

The team has also added safety Terrance Parks to the practice squad.


Texans place QB Ryan Mallett on IR
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:26 pm ET) A torn right pectoral muscle has landed Texans quarterback Ryan Mallett on IR. The move confirms reports that he would be out for the year after sustaining the injury Sunday against Cincinnati.

Mallett finishes the year having completed 41 of 75 passes for 400 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in two starts. He did not throw a pass in any other game.


Giants' Coughlin hints at more playing time for Damontre Moore
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:24 pm ET) Giants coach Tom Coughlin said Wednesday giving defensive end Damontre Moore more playing time could be an option to help a lackluster pass rush, according to NJ.com.

"Young Damontre, everybody wants him in the ball game, he did have some success the other day with one sack," Coughlin said. "He should have been playing a little bit more (Week 12 vs. Dallas)."

Despite Moore showing at times he could help the pass rush, he has spent a lot of time on the bench this season.

"Because there are times, to be honest with you, during the week when you talk about confidence level, whether it's assignment football or whatever, for whatever reason, it hasn't been something that we thought [Moore] knows exactly what he's doing and so on and so forth," Coughlin said. "The practices have to fulfill the idea that we can go ahead and play him under all kinds of circumstances is what we'd like to do, not just on third down."


Eagles release Week 13 injury report
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:16 pm ET) The Eagles announced Wednesday quarterback Nick Foles will miss a fourth straight game Thursday the Cowboys due to a collarbone injury. He headlines the team's Week 13 injury report.

Linebacker Emmanuel Acho is listed as questionable due to a groin injury, while safety Nate Allen (ankle), defensive end Brandon Bair (elbow), tight end Zach Ertz (oblique), wide receiver Jordan Matthews (knee), kicker Cody Parkey (right groin) and tackle Jason Peters (quadricep) are all listed as probable.


Pettine: Browns TE Cameron still day-to-day with concussion
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:16 pm ET) Mike Pettine has announced that a concussion that has resulted in on-and-off symptons since sustained on Oct. 26 still has Browns tight end Jordan Cameron considered day-to-day. But he is expected to practice Wednesday, per The Associated Press.

Cameron was considered a possibility to play in Week 12 at Atlanta, which bodes well for the possibility of him seeing game action Sunday against host Buffalo.


Patriots sign two, release two from practice squad
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:05 pm ET) The Patriots have released cornerback Daxton Swanson and linebacker Deontae Skinner to make room for just-signed tight end Xavier Grimble and long snapper Charley Hughlett to their practice squad, ESPN has reported.

Pettine not ruling Browns LB Dansby out for Sunday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:58 pm ET) Browns linebacker Karlos Dansby would need to be a fast healer to return to action Sunday in Buffalo, but Mike Pettine has not ruled him out. The timetable was 3-4 weeks when he injured his knee in Week 11, but he had been deemed only doubtful heading into the Week 12 game in Atlanta.

Vikings T Loadholt confirms he's awaiting surgery
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:54 pm ET) Vikings offensive tackle Phil Loadholt has confirmed that he is set to have surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle. He added that he will remain with the team the rest of the season.

Loadholt sustained the injury against the Packers in Week 12.


Dolphins welcome TE Clay, CB Finnegan back to work
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:48 pm ET) Dolphins tight end Charles Clay and cornerback Cortland Finnegan both participated in practice Wednesday, which bodes well for their possible return to game action Monday night against the host Jets.

Clay missed the Week 12 game with knee and hamstring issues. Finnegan has been out the last two games with an ankle injury.


 
 
 
Rankings