The Detroit Lions were the worst team in the NFC for a long time. Matt Millen should be banned from all levels of football for what he did. He consistently made mistakes with coaching, player personnel and draft picks. But those days are behind. They have a solid coach in Jim Schwartz and a decent GM in Martin Mayhew. After going 2-30 in the previous 2 seasons, they finished a much improved 6-10 last year.
The WR core in Detroit starts and ends with Calvin ‘Megatron’ Johnson. He’s the Lions best offensive weapon…..BAR NONE, and he’s only gonna get better. Drafting him is the best thing Matt Millen did in his terrible tenure as GM. With 3 different QBs last year, Johnson finished with 1120 receiving yards and 12 TDs. Nate Burleson is the wideout opposite of Johnson. Don’t expect big numbers from Nate but he’s a good complement to Megatron. Rookie Titus Young could see the field but he probably won’t do anything significant. TE B Pettigrew showed some flashes last year, but with 4TDs in 16 games he’s certainly not a sure-fire draft pick. He was second in receiving yards and TDs for the Lions. Pettigrew’s strength: he is a good pass catching TE who can help extend plays for Stafford. His back up is Tony Scheffler who can also be a factor for Fantasy players.
3 games is all we got to see of Matthew Stafford last year before he went out with a season ending shoulder injury. He and his teammates feel as though he’s 100%. According to the Detroit News, when asked if there were a game this Sunday and could he play Stafford replied “Oh yeah, I’m good. I feel good as ever, like I’m right were I want to be”. Sweet sounds to Detroit Lions fans and Fantasy Football owners alike. Stafford scored a TD every single he played his rookie season. Of the 3 games he played last year, he had a combined total of 6 TDs. This year, the Lions drafted another WR to work into the offense (currently dominated by Calvin Johnson aka Megatron) with Titus Young. I like Stafford’s chances better than ever to come out and make a name for himself.
Defense was a big reason for the Lions improvement, however, Defense was also a big reason for the 10 losses. The D in D was anchored by 2010 Defensive Rookie of the Year, Ndamukong Suh who is just plain NASTY! He plays with so much ANGER (ask Rex Grossman). I look for Kong Suh to be just as angry this year and improve upon the 10 sacks that he had in last year’s campaign. I also think with the addition of Auburn’s Nick Fairley, (who might be angrier than Suh for the simple fact that he ended up in Detroit and not a team in the South), offensive coordinators will have their hands full. Suh and Fairley essentially play the same position, but with those two up front they will be killing QBs this year. Remember they play Chicago (more grass for Cutler) and Minnesota twice! Throw in DE Kyle Vanden Bosch and backer Bobby Carpenter and the Detroit Front 7 will be very entertaining to watch this year!
Now, I did mention a reason the 10 losses: The Detroit Secondary. There’s no need to name names, because the whole secondary SUCKS! It wasn’t addressed in the draft and the Lion’s had a chance to get one of the three corners taken in the first round. Unless they have a free agency plan, look for them to be the weak link in the D. The Special Teams has some bright spots and I look for it to be a Fantasy asset. Stefan Logan, who had a 105 yard kickoff return for a TD last year, is their main return man on kickoff and punt returns. They also drafred WR Titus Young from Boise State who is also a burner in the return game. Jason Hanson and Dave Rayner will battle it out in the kicking game. I give the edge to Rayner because Hanson is a fossil. Look for the Detroit DEF/ST to continue to improve and be a good Fantasy option this year.
Let me just say this about the Detroit Lions backfield: WOEFUL! Admittedly, I was one for those people ( and I know for a FACT I was not alone in this) who picked up Jahvid “NotQuiteThe” Best last year. I looked like a GENIUS–for 2 weeks and 2 weeks only. Week 1, Best scored 2 TDs vs the Bears and then Week 2, he scored 3 TDs vs the Eagles. After that: NOTHING! What’s worse (especially for the Lions) is that Best ended the year as Detroit’s best rusher at 555 yards for the season. The Lions couldn’t run a bath let alone the ball last year.
To make amends, the Lions drafted Mikel LeShoure out of Illinois in the 2nd round. At Illinois, Leshoure ran for 1697 yards and scored 17 TDs in 13 games. Hopefully that production will translate to the NFL. According to scouting reports, LeShoure will compliment the speed of Jahvid (I can’t call him “Best” at this point) with power. For the sake of Detroit fans, I sure do hope so!
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