NFL Football is finally back (well almost). And with that comes the ever popular pastime of fantasy football. Soon, team names and draft parties will be selected and scheduled. For the amateur fan, fantasy football is a playful, weekly competition among colleagues or office mates. For others, it is an intense and competitive affair in which you feel the pressures of an actual NFL GM. Fantasy football is not won on draft night, but you can definitely help your team by drafting sleepers and proven players. For this article, we’ll take a look at the Lions offense and identify the players you will want to target and some whom you may want to steer clear of come draft night.
For most teams around the NFL, the offense starts and ends with the quarterback. Jared Goff will be entering his second season with the Detroit Lions as QB1 and will be doing so under new offensive coordinator Ben Johnson. Looking back on the 2021 season, one could say he under performed from a fantasy perspective. Goff finished 20 in both passing touchdowns and yards. His deep completion percentage also was bottom of the league, coming in at 23. Of course, this was last season. Looking ahead, I believe Goff should be viewed similarly. Yes, the Lions have a lot of excitement with the new additions they made on offense with D.J Chark and Jameson Williams. However, Chark is coming off a season in which he only played in 4 games whereas Williams will be sidelined for most of the season. Fantasy GM’s are also looking for QB’s who can add some points with their legs, and Goff will not produce in that category. I would treat Goff as a streaming option for a starting QB’s bye or injury.
The pass catchers for the Detroit Lions are intriguing. The fantasy standout from last season was Amon Ra St. Brown, who burst on the scene as a rookie. Not many GM’s from 2021 leagues had even drafted St. Brown, he was picked up off waivers for most teams. He finished the season with 90 catches for 912 yards along with 5 touchdowns. I would expect similar numbers from St. Brown as he will be Goff’s one of two preferred targets and will headline a fairly weak WR room. I would aim to select St. Brown in the middle of the fifth round and expect him to be a formidable WR2. I will restrain from writing too much on Jameson Williams for this article, as he will be injured for most the season. If you notice your receiving corp. is lacking heading into the playoffs, he may be someone who isn’t drafted that will be available to pick up. D.J Chark will be the final receiver I will look at that could garner some respect as a fringe WR3. Goff will need to throw to some other receiver besides St. Brown, and Chark will more than likely step up to the WR2 role on the Lions offense. He has the potential to break a 1000 yard season, as evidenced by his 2018 season with the Jaguars. Chark will more than likely be a very late round pick in most leagues. The last pass catcher to look at on this Lions offense will be T.J Hockenson. The Lions are clearly going to be expecting big things out of T.J this year, as he is entering a contract year. Among the pass catchers, T.J will be Goff’s other most reliable target. He has good size and is a threat in the red-zone. He can also act as a security blanket for Goff on third and medium situations. Look for Hockenson to put up close to TE5 numbers this year. I would expect him to go somewhat early in the fifth round, so if you are in that position to snag a TE there, do so with Hockenson.
The running back situation in Detroit will be a tough one to monitor. Last season, the Lions finished with a commendable 1885 yards placing them 18 in the league. The attack was spearheaded by two backs, D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams. They had nearly identical rushing stats, with both finishing around 600 yards. I expect a similar situation this year, as both backs will more than likely split carries. If I had to choose a back, I would go with Swift as he will add value receiving out of the backfield. Swift finished with 62 receptions and around 500 yards. Swift will more than likely be drafted too high in most leagues, as most GM’s will fail to recognize the splitted backfield. I would aim to take Swift in the early second round, instead of middle/late first round. Williams will add good value to the Lions, but I don’t see him being a feature back. I also do not like his value in the passing game, so look to use Williams as a bye week back or injury replacement back.
The Lions come into 2022 with hopeful expectations on offense. However, expectations can not guide fantasy decisions. Stay clear from reaching on the Lions offense this year, and try to stick with proven players at each respective position.