The Lions were faced with a massive challenge heading into the 2016 season, replace Calvin Johnson. Megatron isn’t the type of player you can replace with a draft pick or free agent. One of the best receivers in NFL history, Johnson had been the one constant in Detroit.
Without him the offense’s identity changed. Matthew Stafford isn’t quite the gunslinger he once was, competing 65% of his passes. With injuries to every running back on the roster, deciding which Lion running back to draft is difficult. Let’s dive into the Detroit offense and decide who you should target or avoid on draft day.
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) July 4, 2017
If you drafted Golden Tate and hung on to him, pat yourself on the back. Tate was drafted as a low-end WR2 last year and had 134 yards receiving through the first five games. Tate came on in week six, and finished the season as a top 20 wide receiver in PPR scoring. Tate’s ADP is WR30, a good value for him. He isn’t going to score double digit touchdowns but is guaranteed targets. As Stafford’s number one receiver, Tate is a safe WR3 or FLEX in standard leagues and a WR2 in PPR.
Bold Prediction: Marvin Jones will be the Lions leading receiver in 2017. pic.twitter.com/NroGB8iC0H
— Detroit Vs Everybody (@vs_everybody) July 5, 2017
Bust: Marvin Jones
Marvin Jones was signed to fill the massive shoes of Calvin Johnson. After a 202 yard, two touchdown performance in week three, Jones had Lions fans saying “Calvin who?”. Jones totaled 408 yards and two touchdowns through week three and 522 yards and two touchdowns the rest of the season.
Jones is the Lions deep threat and with Stafford taking less shots downfield, Jones needed to take advantage of each target. He caught only 54 percent of his targets and had seven drops. He has big play upside, but his inconsistency makes him a WR4.
— Detroit Vs Everybody (@vs_everybody) July 3, 2017
Sleeper: Eric Ebron
Eric Ebron has dealt with high expectations after being drafted 10th overall in 2014. A receiver playing tight end, Ebron has the skillset to be an elite tight end. Ebron finished as a top 15 tight end each season, despite scoring only one touchdown in two of three seasons.
Ebron has missed eight games due to injury and dropped 16 passes in his first three seasons. The potential to breakout is there, as his catches and receiving yards have increased each season. Without Anquan Boldin working the slot, Ebron may be in-line for more targets. Ebron is being drafted as TE19, after rookies Evan Engram and David Njoku. Ebron will see more targets than both rookies and has a much higher chance to find the endzone.
Matthew Stafford fantasy finishes:
Matthew Stafford current bestball positional ADP: QB14
— Curtis Patrick (@DynastyCommand) July 5, 2017
Matthew Stafford finished last season as a top 10 quarterback and should be again this season. With improvements to his offensive line and healthy running backs, Stafford should continue his strong play. Stafford offers a reliable option for owners that wait until late in the draft to take their quarterback.
The Lions signed T.J. Lang and Ricky Wagner to sure up the right side of their line. Left tackle Taylor Decker is expected miss four to six months with a shoulder injury. The Lions acquired a pair of young tackles to compete for the spot, Greg Robinson and Cyrus Kouandjio.
Ameer Abdullah has good highlights, but can he be a workhorse? Out of 18 NFL games: only 5 games 50 or more yards with a high of 77.
— Nick Whalen (@_NickWhalen) June 30, 2017
Ameer Abdullah was poised for a big season as the lead back before suffering a season-ending foot injury. The injury was revealed as a lisfranc injury; the same injury that derailed the career of running back Maurice Jones-Drew. Abdullah has been a full participant during OTAs, setting him up as the lead back again.
Abdullah is being drafted as RB27 between Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry. This spot offers extreme value, if Abdullah stays healthy he has the talent to be an RB2.
Theo Riddick was thrust into the role of an every down back after the injury to Abdullah. Riddick struggled as a rusher but dominated as a receiver. With Abdullah back, Riddick is not valuable in standard leagues but could be an RB2 in PPR leagues.