The Lions were one of the more disappointing teams in the NFL, both in real football and in fantasy. Outside of Calvin Johnson I think you can say that every other person on the team underperformed as far as fantasy stats are concerned. They brought in Reggie Bush to try to help the rushing game, and you have to wonder if that will help everyone succeed. What can we expect from the Lions in 2013 as far as fantasy stats are concerned? Allen Hotaling is here to let you know what this season will bring for you.
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I know he threw for almost 5,000 yards, but will Matthew Stafford get back among the elite? Now will the real Matt Stafford please stand up!! Please stand up!! One thing we can say about Matt Stafford is that he has a lot of guts and lots of determination to win for his team. Back in 2011 he was awesome with 5,038 yards with 41 touchdowns. And then you have last year, 4,967 yards but the biggest decline was the touchdowns that went all the way down to 20. He does get somewhat of a pass as he really didn’t have an offensive line since he was sacked 29 times. So this year we have to ask which Matt Stafford will show up this year? Well, let’s take a look at the targets that he has. Well obviously you have the best wide receiver in the league in Calvin Johnson (122-1964-5) and then there’s…there’s..um ok well not much you can say. Out of the 727 attempts Stafford had last year, Johnson was targeted 205 times…205 TIMES!! Then the next three top targets were Brendon Pettigrew (100 targets), Tony Scheffler (84 targets), and Joique Bell (68 targets). Can anybody tell me if there was another wide receiver playing on the field or were they selling hot dogs and beer in the concession stands during the game? So fast forward ahead to this season. The weapons of choice for this year are: Johnson, Pettigrew, Bell, and some new guy they signed named Reggie Bush…but as you see in that list there are still no wide receiver. Well hopefully Nate Burleson (going into his 11th year) will be ready by Week 1 recovering from the broken leg he suffered in week 7, and then there’s Ryan Broyles who was stepping up until he tore his ACL. So message to Matt Stafford: THERE ARE MORE TARGETS OUT THERE THAN CALVIN JOHNSON!!! If Stafford can spread the ball out more and be a leader then he can be elite.
Calvin Johnson is going to have more than five touchdowns, right? RIGHT???? So Megatron broke the record for most receiving yards in one season with 1964 yards on 122 catches…but five touchdowns??!! Something is not right here…well if you did watch Lions games last year they would throw the ball down the field and then they try to pound it in running. Sure it worked a few times, but when you have Megatron, the man is a beast, at least give him a shot in the end zone! Well maybe this year he will get more looks with Bush added on the team but if they aren’t running the ball effectively, it will make it tougher for Megatron. So this is a tough call…..I say he will definitely get more than five this year…FOR SURE!
Is Brandon Pettigrew a starting fantasy tight end? Well I’ll tell you what, I’m having a hard time with this one. This actually is a 50/50 question but if you look at the tight ends this year especially with the arrests and injuries, I think I’ll go get a German bodybuilder name Helga that would have a chance to be a starting TE. This is definitely the weakest position the position has been in a while. Other than Jimmy Graham, Vernon Davis, Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten, and an injured Rob Gronkowski, who do you really have confidence in to step it up. As far as Pettigrew is concerned, he is a big target and he and Stafford have a nice chemistry as you can see from last year’s 100 targets, but for him to have just 59 catches and only three touchdowns and to only average 9.6 yards a catch?? I mean this is a big guy he should be motorizing down the field and making tacklers bounce off of him. I say this year is going to be a make or break season for Pettigrew, but right now with the field that is out there I say he is a starting fantasy tight end unless others kick it up a notch.
Who the else is going to catch the ball? Who is else is going to catch the ball other than Megatron??? Well that is the $64,000 question right there…last season after Johnson (122 catches), you had Pettigrew (59), Bell (52), Scheffler (42), and Leshoure (34) so you had WR,TE,RB,TE,RB as your top five. The top wide receiver as far as catches after Johnson was Titus Young with 33, and we all know he won’t be around this year. An 89 catch difference between your number one wide receiver and number two wide receiver? YIKES!! Well, this year they did get Reggie Bush who is very good coming out of the backfield catching the ball, not to mention he can be used as a wide receiver. Then you have Nate Burleson (coming back from a broken leg), Ryan Broyles (coming back from torn ACL), and a pair of Thomases in Devin and Mike. So maybe, just MAYBE if the wide receiver can stay healthy and the line can hold I think you will see actually someone come up with more than 65 catches this year. If I had to make a guess on one wide receiver, I would choose Ryan Broyles.
Can Mikel Leshoure steal carries from Reggie Bush? WELL NOW!! WELCOME TO MOTOWN REGGIE BUSH!! Where they have a wheelchair already set for a running back on the sideline. Anyway, Leshoure had a decent 2012 season considering it was a rookie year after missing 2011 due to injury. He had 798 yards and nine touchdowns, which is not bad but averaging 3.7 a carry is the concern. But when you play for a pass happy team it is tough to get a line that excels at run blocking. With that being said, the early reports are that Joique Bell is actually leading over Leshoure early on. Bush is going to be used a lot in the type of offense the Lions have, so Leshoure’s role might be limited. However, I think you also might see Leshoure be a goal line back and steal some touchdowns from Bush. But right now, the way Lions running backs have been the last few years, I would say hold your breath and make sure they don’t get hurt.