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
2015 Draft Prep Guide
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
 
 
 

2012 Fantasy outlooks: Detroit Lions

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

Finally, after two years, we got to see what the Lions offense would look like with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson healthy. It was an offensive bonanza, and we only hope for a repeat performance this year.

To recap, Stafford passed for 5,038 yards, 41 touchdowns and 16 interceptions as he played 16 games for the first time in his three-year career. He had at least 20 Fantasy points in 11 games, including at least 32 points in his final three outings, which helped many owners in the playoffs. Stafford connected for multiple touchdowns 12 times and had at least three touchdowns in seven starts. He also threw for at least 250 yards in 12 starts and topped 300 yards in eight contests, including a 520-yard outing at the Packers in Week 17.

Check out our Fantasy Football podcast!
There is no better source for entertaining Fantasy advice than our Fantasy Football Today podcast. Dave Richard, Jamey Eisenberg and Adam Aizer will help you pass the time as you anticipate Draft Day 2014!
Latest episode | Subscribe today!

With Stafford healthy, Johnson went nuts. He had career highs in catches (96), yards (1,681) and touchdowns (16). He had double digits in Fantasy points in 12 games, and he topped 15 points in nine games, including three in a row to close the year. During those three games against Oakland, San Diego and Green Bay, Johnson combined for 24 catches, 560 yards and four touchdowns.

The duo enters this year as potential first-round picks in the majority of standard leagues. Johnson will definitely be taken in Round 1, and he should be drafted as a Top 10 overall selection. In PPR drafts, Johnson is likely a Top 5 overall pick (save your argument on the Madden Curse for someone else because I'm not worried).

Stafford will likely be drafted by Round 2, and he's a Top 5 quarterback. If Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady are all drafted early in Round 1 then Stafford might be taken that high as well, along with Cam Newton.

It should be another fun year for the Lions, who have a tremendous amount of weapons. We're looking forward to the backfield battle between Mikel Leshoure, Jahvid Best and Kevin Smith, and Titus Young will try to unseat Nate Burleson as the starting receiver opposite Johnson. Brandon Pettigrew also continues to mature as a quality Fantasy tight end.

But Stafford and Johnson lead this offense, and if both remain healthy we could be looking at another season of huge points in the passing game and plenty of quality production for Fantasy owners.

Fantasy Value Chart
Player Draft Day value Estimated round
Quarterbacks
Matthew Stafford 2
Running Backs
Mikel Leshoure 7
Jahvid Best 8
Kevin Smith ND
Keiland Williams ND
Wide Receivers
Calvin Johnson 1
Titus Young 6
Nate Burleson ND
Ryan Broyles ND
Tight Ends
Brandon Pettigrew 10
Tony Scheffler ND
Kickers/Defense
Jason Hanson 14
Lions DST 13
ND - not expected to get drafted

Sleeper ... Mikel Leshoure, running back
The Lions will have a three-headed backfield this season with Leshoure, Best and Smith, but Leshoure should be the best of the bunch. He could be in line for a big season if he's 100 percent healthy following last year's Achilles injury. Best is a star when healthy, but concussion problems could ruin his career. And Smith is more of a safety option in case the other two struggle. But Leshoure has the chance to shine. He will miss the first two games of the year with a suspension after he was arrested twice for allegedly using marijuana, and that will lower his value on Draft Day. But that also should keep him fresh, and he will avoid a tough matchup in Week 2 at the 49ers. Leshoure is a good combination of size (6-foot, 233 pounds) and speed, and he could reach 1,000 total yards and 10 touchdowns. We like him as a No. 3 Fantasy running back with upside, and he should be drafted in Round 7 or 8 in most formats. Best might get drafted first, especially in PPR formats, and he remains a No. 3 Fantasy option also. And Smith is worth a late-round flier in case the other two struggle.

Follow us, Like us, Join us
Want more? Join the discussion on our Facebook page and Google+ and follow us on Twitter for additional insight while interacting with a community geared toward Fantasy Football.

Breakout ... Titus Young, wide receiver
There is plenty to like about Young this year, especially the way he closed his rookie season in 2011. Young did the majority of his damage from Week 8 on with 33 catches, 398 yards and all six of his touchdowns in his final nine games. The yardage definitely needs to improve, but Young should see more playing time, especially if he starts ahead of Burleson. Young had at least seven targets in three of his final four games, and Stafford should start to rely on him more this year following a full offseason of work. We consider Young a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in the majority of leagues, but he could turn into a starting option in deeper leagues. Young should be drafted with a mid-round pick.

Keeper-league target ... Ryan Broyles, wide receiver
The Lions took Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles with a second-round pick in the NFL Draft. The pick appears to be based on talent more than need considering the depth of their receiving corps, but they got a pretty good player in Broyles. He went down with a torn left ACL in November, but not before he became the NCAA leader with 349 career receptions. Broyles completed his senior season for the Sooners with 83 catches, 1,157 yards and 10 touchdowns in nine games. He hopes to be ready for training camp, but the Lions can basically redshirt him as a rookie with Johnson, Burleson and Young healthy. We could see Broyles eventually replacing Burleson, and it's never a bad idea to get a receiver of Broyles' talent in an offense with a quarterback like Stafford. He is probably not worth drafting in most standard leagues, but he should be a mid- to late-round pick in dynasty/keeper leagues and an early- to middle-round selection in rookie-only drafts.

Schedule breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
STL @SF @TEN MIN bye @PHI @CHI SEA @JAC @MIN GB HOU IND @GB @ARI ATL CHI
The schedule is phenomenal for the Lions' passing game. There might be three matchups against tough secondaries with only a handful more against stiff pass rushes. And it's definitely not that much harder for their run game -- if they can develop one. Where it gets sticky is in Week 6 when they play four road games in five weeks. That could grind them down a little, but it's made up for with three straight home games against the Packers, the Texans on Thanksgiving and the Colts as a post-Turkey week feast. They'll play outdoors a lot early on but finish with seven indoor games in their final eight.

Training camp topics

The Lions only real question will be who starts at running back between Leshoure, Best and Smith. Best will start the first two games with Leshoure out, and if he plays well he could hold onto the position, especially if he stays healthy.

2011 Touches Leaders
Player Touches
Jahvid Best 84 carries, 27 catches
Maurice Morris 80 carries, 26 catches
Calvin Johnson 96 catches, 1 carry
Kevin Smith 72 carries, 22 catches
Nate Burleson 73 catches, 11 carries

But we are counting on Leshoure to be the workhorse rusher for the Lions and work at the goal line. Best will be used as a change of pace option, and he should play on receiving downs. Smith will get some touches, but his Fantasy value will be limited.

At receiver, the Lions will give Young a chance to start ahead of Burleson, but they will use three-receiver sets a lot this year. If Broyles is healthy, we could see four-receiver sets as well. Even though Burleson has limited Fantasy value, he's still worth taking with a late-round pick in deeper leagues.

The good thing for the Lions this year is Stafford is healthy, and concerns over his shoulder woes are behind us. We can now sit back and marvel at his talent, and hopefully he has another year for Top 5 overall Fantasy production.

Injury update

Leshoure (Achilles; probable for the start of training camp) ... Best (concussion; probable for the start of training camp) ... Broyles (knee; probable for start of training camp) ... Stephen Tulloch (knee; probable for start of training camp)

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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
Cardinals pushing for more consistency out of WR Michael Floyd
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:11 am ET) Cardinals coach Bruce Arians knows wide receiver Michael Floyd is capable of big things in his offense. He also feels Floyd was the victim of the quarterback injuries last year, reports Fox Sports 910.

"I think some frustration went into his play at times," Arians said. "But he still needs to hit a consistency level. He's a thousand-yard player every year. He should have had a thousand, easily, last year."

Floyd finished with 47 catches for 841 yards and six touchdowns in 2014. He is entering the final year of his contract in 2015.


Bears defensive end Jared Allen played through herniated disc in 2014
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:03 am ET) Bears defensive end Jared Allen still thinks he can get the job done next season. Allen claims he was slowed last season while dealing with a nagging back issue, which was diagnosed as a herniated disc, reports the Chicago Tribune.

"I just don't know how to miss games," Allen says. "It killed me that I had to miss one."

Allen totaled 55 tackles with 5 1/2 sacks in 15 games last season.


QB Sam Bradford's college coach talked him out of retiring last year
(3/29/2015) After suffering his second season-ending injury in nine months last year, quarterback Sam Bradford contemplated retiring but his former quarterbacks coach from Oklahoma talked him out of it, according to Philly.com.

Bradford, who was aquired by the Eagles in a trade in March, missed the entire 2014 season with the Rams after tearing his left ACL during a preseason game.

Josh Heupel, a former college coach, talked with Bradford after the injury and persuaded him to stay in the NFL.

"When a player goes through a big letdown, it's natural to be down," said Heupel. "I just tried to reach out to him and say, 'Hey, I still see this in you as a person and a player. I think the best is yet to come for you. You've got to get yourself healthy and get yourself back on the field and get yourself in the right environment ...'"

Heupel, who coached Bradford during his 2008 Heisman Trophy-winning season, is currently the offensive coordinator at Utah State.


Seahawks re-sign Demarcus Dobbs
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/29/2015) The Seahawks re-signed defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs to a one-year contract on Sunday.

Dobbs' agent, Wesley Spencer confirmed the news on Twitter.

Dobbs joined the Seahawks in November after being waived by San Francisco. He had six tackles in four games with the Seahawks. 


C.J. Anderson enters offseason as Broncos top RB
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/29/2015) Broncos coach Gary Kubiak declared that C.J. Anderson was the team's starting running back entering OTAs. 

"He made a big jump as a player, and I think he's earned the right to walk in to the offseason program -- the OTAs -- and line up as our starter," Kubiak said, per DenverBroncos.com. "But he's got to continue to earn it on a daily basis. I think he's shown he has all the ability to be an excellent starter in this league, so we're really looking forward to working with him."

Anderson rushed for 849 yards and eight touchdowns last season, most coming late in the season, after Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman went down to injury. 

"All those guys are young. I think all three of those guys ... have all kind of had their little spurts of success with the club when they've had their opportunity," Kubiak said. "But they're all young. Who's going to be the bell cow, who's going to play every down, who's going to be the three-down player, they've got to sort that out. C.J. has shown the flashes of doing that."


Erin Henderson will meet with Jets
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/29/2015) Linebacker Erin Henderson has scheduled a meeting with the Jets. Henderson is looking to reenter the NFL after sitting out last season, following his release from the Vikings.

Henderson met with the 49ers GM and coach on Thursday and also had dinner with the team's linebacker coach, his agent told the Sacramento Bee


Jared Allen tells Bears 'I'm still good, really'
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/29/2015) Bears defensive end Jared Allen met with coach John Fox and GM Ryan Pace at last week's NFL Owners' Meetings to tell them he's not on the decline. 

"I was less anxious and so much more eager to talk to them," Allen said, per NFL.com. "Just to say, 'Hey guys. I know the film from last year only shows 5.5 sacks. But don't believe that's all I have left. I'm good still. Really."

Allen also said he was willing to play a stand-up pass rushing spot instead of the hand-in-the-dirt stance he's used most of his career. "It requires you to refocus and rekindle your energy," he said. "You can't get stuck in your same old patterns."


Saints' Brian Dixon arrested for resisting officer
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/29/2015) Saints cornerback Brian Dixon was arrested in Miami on Sunday morning. He's been charged with resisting an officer, per the Times-Picayune.

According to the New Orleans Advocate, Dixon was pulled over for riding a moped. He questioned the officer about why that wasn't permitted, which led to his arrest. 

Dixon was booked at 5:50 AM and was being held on $1,000 bond. The team is aware of the incident, and NFL security is investigating. 

Later in the morning, Dixon tweeted, "It hurts to know that I wasn't causing no trouble and was fully cooperating. :( "


Report: LB Desmond Bishop will visit 49ers
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Linebacker Desmond Bishop will visit the 49ers on Monday, according to csnbayarea.com.

Bishop played in two games for the 49ers last season after beginning the year with the Cardinals. After losing both Patrick Willis and Chris Borland to retirement, the team is looking for linebackers.

Over his eight-year NFL career, the 30-year-old has 299 total tackles, nine sacks, nine passes defensed, one interception and eight forced fumbles.


Packers want to keep RB Eddie Lacy fresh this season
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is working on ways to keep running back Eddie Lacy fresh this season, reports the Journal Sentinel.

McCarthy had talks with Lacy at the end of the last two seasons talking about his number of snaps and what he expected of the running back.

"I really felt that last year's conversation was more important than this year's, the ability to make a huge jump from Year One to Two, being a three-down player, that was something we stressed from Day One, and I thought he delivered," McCarthy said at the NFL owners meetings this week.

The head coach liked the way that the team used Lacy last season, limiting his snaps early in the year before increasing them as the season wore on.

"Maybe not run attempts," McCarthy said of hitting the target he set. "But I thought we were really smart the way we used him....I thought his pass protection he made a huge jump, and his ability to play out of the backfield.

"Eddie has excellent hands, and just his understand and his feel with Aaron, he definitely made a step."

In his first two seasons in the NFL, the 24-year-old has 2,317 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns. He has also added 77 receptions for 684 yards and four touchdown catches. 


 
 
 
Rankings