It takes a special participant to disappoint everyone, in a 4900-yard season (Getty Photos)
Things didn’t precisely end nicely for the Detroit Lions last season. The crew lost its last eight games, typically in improbable and excruciating trend. In Weeks 11-13, the Lions managed to lose three straight residence games in which they held leads inside the ultimate 2 minutes of regulation. That ain’t simple.
Detroit had 9 single-digit losses last season, dropping 5 of these games by margins of 4 points or less. They lost a recreation when the top coach threw an unlawful problem flag, following a brutal non-call. They misplaced one other sport because they botched a possibility to kick a chip-shot OT discipline objective on fourth down. The Lions went 0-6 throughout the division final season and a couple of-6 at Ford Field, posting the worst house report in the NFC.
Without piling on any further, let’s merely say that 2012 was a messy year for this franchise, loaded with close to-misses.
Even the incomparable Calvin Johnson, within the midst of an all-time season, had a bizarre behavior of not quite breaking the airplane when he bought himself near the aim line. Johnson was tackled at the 1-yard line 5 times final yr, and he was introduced down inside the 5 on eight separate occasions. So whereas Megatron managed to determine a brand new NFL file for single-season receiving yardage, his fantasy production really dipped by almost 40 points in customary leagues from 2011 to 2012.
So yeah, um.. impressive vertical (Getty) Calvin still remains in a tier of one at his position, after all. It is virtually not possible to build a case for taking another receiver ahead of him, no matter your scoring system. (OK, I suppose if you happen to’re the sort of fantasy proprietor likes to take partial-season stats and extrapolate, then possibly you’re taking a look at Dez’s second-half and projecting 1700 yards and 20 touchdowns. But you are grossly oversimplifying the method of forecasting.) Johnson has finished as fantasy’s high-scoring receiver in every of the previous two seasons, and he is ranked within the high-eight in 4 of the past five years. He’s reliably brilliant, blessed with superhero-degree dimension and athleticism. ‘Tron ought to be drafted in the first-half of the first spherical in mainly all leagues.
In a typical year, the participant who leads the NFL in targets will see one hundred seventy-one hundred eighty balls. Last season, Johnson noticed 204. That’s just an absurd quantity — tough to wrap your head round, till you do not forget that Matthew Stafford put the ball in the air 727 times, obliterating the report for makes an attempt.
Stafford possesses high-of-the-charts arm energy, but for every wow throw he makes, there’s no less than one yikes throw. He was hardly a mannequin of effectivity final 12 months, finishing fifty nine.eight percent of his passes (down from sixty three.5) and gaining simply 6.8 yards per try (down from 7.6). He completed with only 20 passing touchdowns after delivering 41 the season before.
Still, quantity goes a great distance in fantasy. Stafford clearly remains a beginning-caliber quarterback in our sport, a terrific worth decide at his current Yahoo! ADP (sixty three.2). The man owns two of the all-time top-7 passing yardage seasons, he directs an offense that averages over 40 makes an attempt per sport, and he has Earth’s most dominant receiver at his disposal. So long as Stafford stays wholesome, he’ll have a troublesome time avoiding the highest-10 at his place. Unhealthy luck actually played a job in Stafford’s low TD total last year, as ‘Tron wasn’t the one Detroit wideout who was repeatedly tripped up close to the top zone. Final season, Lions receivers were tackled inside the 5-yard line a league-high 23 instances.
Detroit’s receiving corps is stuffed with acquainted faces, most of them low-ceiling fantasy choices: Brandon Pettigrew, Nate Burleson, Mike Thomas, et al. Pettigrew’s value crashed last yr, as he gave us a disappointing fifty nine-567-3 season after back-to-again seven hundred-yard campaigns. Drops were one issue (9), and a dip in targets didn’t help, either (126 to 102). Pettigrew is a member of one of the best-form-of-his-life club, in response to camp studies, so we’ll see if that makes a difference. He doesn’t must be owned in leagues of standard measurement, however a small bounce-again wouldn’t surprise.
Ryan Broyles‘s restoration from a late-season ACL tear — his second such damage within a thirteen-month period — has really been one of the extra impressive and under-mentioned NFL stories of camp season. Broyles tore the ligament on December 2, 2012, yet he participated in mini-camp simply six months later. This child set the FBS career receptions file at Oklahoma (349), so he has the potential to be a PPR machine. Keep him in your plans as an finish-game flier.
The most vital offseason addition to the Lions offense, with out query, was operating back Reggie Bush, a guy coming off back-to-again high quality seasons in Miami. Bush has re-written his scouting report over the previous two years, shedding a number of of his negative Saints-period tendencies and missing only one sport resulting from damage.
If you’re wondering how Reggie will be utilized in Detroit, check the film from the team’s preseason opener, a 26-17 win over the Jets. Bush lined up at each possible spot. On the workforce’s opening sequence, we first saw him in a two-again shotgun set, then as a single again behind Stafford, and then he was split out wide…
That’s Bush at the backside of the frame, inflicting Jets DBs to frantically flap their arms. From that formation, the Lions hit Calvin within the slot for a straightforward 8-yard acquire. Detroit went with an empty backfield on the following play, with Reggie within the slot.
So it appears doubtless that Bush shall be utilized in every single place, stressing opposing defenses in multiple methods. He is a robust candidate to catch 70-plus passes and achieve 1300-plus scrimmage yards. I’m a lot bullish. Let’s simply hope he escapes the preseason with out getting dinged.
Mikel Leshoure remains in the staff image, too, probably in a brief-yardage function (as a result of there is no such thing as a lengthy-yardage aspect to Mikel’s recreation). Leshoure definitely didn’t thoughts seeing all these Lions receivers tackled within inches of the purpose line final season; he scored six touchdowns on runs of two yards or less. Joique Bell was this workforce’s most impressive runner final 12 months (5.zero YPC), and he is the guy I’d want within the occasion of a Bush malfunction. Notre Dame rookie Theo Riddick has made some noise in camp, but he is only a man fighting for depth chart position for the time being.
The Lions protection ranked twenty seventh in factors-allowed final season (27.three), they usually rarely made huge performs. They intercepted only eleven balls, compelled just nine fumbles, and did not record a defensive TD. But this team’s D-line options three dudes who had been early first-spherical draft picks (Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, Ziggy Ansah), so that you’d wish to suppose they may blow up a fair variety of performs this season. The camp stories have been encouraging to date. If security Louis Delmas may give us one thing close to a full season, perhaps this secondary will be less ordinary. For now, you need to consider the Detroit D/ST as a stream-only fantasy option, not approved for normal use.
2012 staff stats: 23.3 points per recreation (17), 321.2 passing yards per recreation (2), one hundred.eight speeding yards per recreation (23)
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