Editor’s note: To help you prepare for your fantasy football draft, NESN.com will profile each NFL team and analyze which players are worth picking and which players aren’t worth your time. Today, we look at the Lions.
The two best things that ever happened to the Detroit Lions — Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson — both walked away from football at age 30.
Now, the Lions must learn to live a life without Megatron, arguably the NFL’s best wide receiver since he first stepped into the league in 2007.
Johnson’s departure certainly hurts the Lions’ offense, which already wasn’t fantastic to begin with. In advance of the upcoming fantasy football season, we took a closer look at the Lions players you should draft, avoid and peg as sleepers.
Golden Tate, Wide Receiver: Tate is probably the best option in the Detroit offense on paper, but put he up mediocre numbers last year and finished as the No. 34 wide receiver. The Lions’ addition of Marvin Jones isn’t enough to draw defenses away like Johnson did, so we don’t like taking Tate where he’s currently being drafted — in the fifth round. But he’s a solid bench option if he drops in your drafts.
Matthew Stafford, Quarterback: Stafford is a roller coaster ride, but he finished last season as the No. 9 overall QB. He’s a boom-or-bust guy, and even in his best games probably will include a turnover or two. He also lost his best receiving option. Don’t rely too heavily on Stafford, but don’t be afraid to take him as your backup — unless your starter is injury-prone and you’ll need Stafford for an extended period of time.
Marvin Jones, Wide Receiver: He benefited greatly from increased targets in Cincinnati last season, and he’ll fight for No. 1 receiver targets with Tate. If he succeeds, he’ll have more opportunity — albeit with better defenders playing him. He’s going in the early 10th round, and that seems like a solid place to consider him.
Theo Riddick, Running Back: It seems the Lions want to stick with Ameer Abdullah, who despite an up-and-down rookie season is still just 23 and has plenty of upside remaining as both a runner and receiver. Riddick’s only value comes in PPR leagues, and even then he’s a backup flex option you should only turn to if desperate.
Eric Ebron, Tight End: He’s a touchdown-or-bust player, but even then his TDs are sometimes his only touches of the game. He’s being taken in the 14th round, and even that seems too high.
Ameer Abdullah, Running Back: The fantasy football world was very high on Abdullah heading into the 2015 season, and he let a lot of people down. Many of those disappointed owners will pass on him this year, so if you can find Abdullah in the mid-to-late rounds, grab him for your bench and hope for a breakout — especially in PPR leagues, where some believe he could wind up being a top-five back.
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