The Lions have a sneaky roster when it comes to potentially great Fantasy options for 2020. In 2019, Matthew Stafford was on pace to be the No. 2 Fantasy quarterback before suffering a back injury and missing eight games, but he should be fine now. Kenny Golladay led all receivers in touchdowns with 11, and Marvin Jones wasn't far behind with nine. Both are back, with Jones healthy after dealing with an ankle injury last year. The running game should be interesting with rookie D'Andre Swift joining Kerryon Johnson, but one of them will hopefully emerge as a weekly starter. While Detroit might not win many games, the Lions should have plenty of players to covet for Fantasy leagues this year.
Record: 3-12 (30)
PPG: 21.3 (18)
YPG: 346.8 (17)
Pass YPG: 243.8 (10)
Rush YPG: 103.1 (21)
PAPG: 35.7 (29)
RAPG: 25.4 (16)
2019 Fantasy finishes
QB: Matthew Stafford QB29
RB: Kerryon Johnson RB54; J.D. McKissic* RB55
WR: Kenny Golladay WR9; Marvin Jones WR28
TE: T.J. Hockenson TE31
*No longer with team
Number to know: 23
That's how many games Stafford (eight), Johnson (eight), Hockenson (four) and Jones (three) missed last year due to injury. Of Detroit's main skill players, only Golladay played all 16 games. Stafford was averaging 25.4 Fantasy points per game before his season ended in Week 9, which was second only to Lamar Jackson (32.4) last year. Stafford was on pace for 4,998 passing yards, 38 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and he's capable of similar numbers in this offense this year. We'll see if Johnson is able to remain the starter ahead of Swift, but he could be a great value pick in Round 8 or later if he finally stays healthy. Jones is one of my favorite mid-round receivers to target, and he's now scored nine touchdowns in two of his past three seasons with Detroit. And Hockenson is a good No. 2 tight end to draft in all leagues. Hopefully, he makes a leap in production in his sophomore campaign.
1. (3) Jeff Okudah, CB
2. (35) D'Andre Swift, RB
3. (67) Julian Okwara, DE
3. (75) Jonah Jackson, G
4. (121) Logan Stenberg, G
5. (166) Quintez Cephus, WR
5. (172) Jason Huntley, RB
6. (197) John Penisini, DT
7. (235) Jashon Cornell, DT
66 carries, 43 RB targets, 28 TE targets
Rankings and Projections
|Heath Cummings' projections|
|QB||Matthew Stafford||4,370 YD, 29 TD, 11 INT; 121 Rush YD, 1 TD|
|RB||D'Andre Swift||752 YD, 3 TD; 27 REC, 212 YD, 2 TD|
|RB||Kerryon Johnson||696 YD, 3 TD; 27 REC, 215 YD, 2 TD|
|WR||Kenny Golladay||119 TAR, 70 REC, 1,160 YD, 8 TD|
|WR||Marvin Jones||113 TAR, 67 REC, 891 YD, 8 TD|
|WR||Danny Amendola||85 TAR, 57 REC, 627 YD, 3 TD|
|TE||T.J. Hockenson||85 TAR, 49 REC, 587 YD, 3 TD|
Can you trust Matthew Stafford as a No. 1 quarterback?
There's going to be a point in your Fantasy draft where you might be searching for a quarterback. Let's say 11 guys have already been selected (Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, Kyler Murray, Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson, Josh Allen, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan), and you need a starter. The top choices are Stafford, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Jared Goff, Daniel Jones, Baker Mayfield and Ryan Tannehill. Most people would probably draft Rodgers, which is fine. Maybe Roethlisberger now that he's back at 100 percent, or Jones could be a surprise sleeper. But I'm taking Stafford. If healthy, based on what we saw last year in this offense, he has the chance to be a top-five quarterback — and pass for 5,000 yards. He's the perfect quarterback to wait for on Draft Day in all leagues.
One sleeper, one breakout and one bust
Several Lions fall into this category, including Stafford and Hockenson. I would prefer to put Swift here also, but someone has to be the breakout — and that already happened for Golladay. Jones will be the sleeper we focus on since he was a solid Fantasy option in 2019, especially when Stafford was healthy, but isn't getting much love for 2020. For the year, Jones had six games with at least 12 PPR points. And in the first eight games of the season with Stafford, Jones had 42 catches for 535 yards and six touchdowns, which put him on pace for 84 catches, 1,070 yards and 12 scores. He has averaged at least 14.0 PPR points per game in two of the past three seasons, and he's an excellent No. 3 Fantasy receiver to target with a mid-round pick. He averages about 7.0 targets per game over the past three seasons, and the Lions should once again be a pass-happy team.
The Lions running back situation was a mess last year. Johnson missed eight games and scored at least 11 PPR points just four times, with 16 PPR points in Week 2 against the Chargers his high water mark. McKissic, Bo Scarbrough and Ty Johnson filled in when Kerryon Johnson was out, but none were quality replacements. It's why the Lions invested a second-round pick in Swift, star at Georgia (over 1,400 total yards and eight total touchdowns in 2019) who many considered the best back in a loaded running back class. It could take time for him to overtake Johnson as the No. 1 running back in Detroit, but Swift could be a Fantasy star with 15-plus touches on a weekly basis. You probably don't want to draft Swift as a starting running back in most leagues, but he should be considered a high-end No. 3 option. I plan to be aggressive in drafting Swift in Round 5 in all leagues.
It's obvious to say Johnson is a bust, but I think he's the only player for Detroit who qualifies. Maybe you can make a case for Golladay in this category, but I love his talent and expect him to be a star. Johnson could actually fall into the sleeper category if he keeps the starting running back job since he'll likely be drafted in Round 8 or later in most leagues, but it seems like the Lions wanted an upgrade over Johnson. Johnson's failure to stay healthy is certainly part of it, as he's missed 14 games in two years in the NFL. He had a promising rookie year in 2018 when he averaged 13.9 PPR points per game and averaged 5.4 yards per carry, but he wasn't the same guy last year (10.5 PPR points per game and 3.6 yards per carry). I'll settle for Johnson as a No. 4 Fantasy running back, but I'm more excited about the outlook for Swift in 2020.
AFC East: Bills | Jets | Patriots | Dolphins
NFC East: Giants | Cowboys | Eagles | Redskins
AFC South: Colts | Texans | Jaguars | Titans
NFC South: Panthers | Bucs | Falcons | Saints
AFC North: Ravens | Steelers | Browns | Bengals
NFC North: Packers | Vikings | Bears | Lions
AFC West: Chiefs | Broncos | Raiders | Chargers
NFC West: Seahawks | 49ers | Rams | Cardinals
So which Fantasy football busts should you completely avoid? And which running back going off the board early should you fade? Visit SportsLine now to get cheat sheets from the model that called Baker Mayfield's disappointing season, and find out.