Fantasy owners are skeptical of Marvin Jones, the Lions' top outside receiver who posted career-highs in yards and touchdowns in 2017. Despite finishing as a top-5 receiver in non-PPR (top-12 in PPR), Jones only notched 10-plus Fantasy points six times over 16 games. How'd that happen? His Fantasy numbers hinged on him scoring, which has been typical over his career (two games with over 100 yards and no touchdowns through six years!). So if Jones isn't scoring, he's pretty boring. This shouldn't make you completely shy away from Jones - he's capable of having monster games and isn't losing his role in the Lions offense - but it's hard to believe he'll come close to over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns again when he didn't put up those stats very often before last season. Tag him as a fair No. 2 receiver worth taking around 50th overall.
Jones corralled two of five targets for 14 yards during Friday's preseason game against the Giants. Jones probably should have caught one or two more of the balls thrown his way, but it's also fair to question the quality of those passes he saw from a hurried Matthew Stafford that was consistently under pressure Friday. Drops weren't a huge problem for Jones last season, considering the wideout was ticketed with only four of them on 105 targets according to Pro Football Focus. Don't be surprised if he bounces back in the Lions third preseason game next Friday against the Buccaneers, when Jones and the rest of the offensive starters should see significantly more action than they did this week.
Jones (leg) returned to practice Sunday, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports. Jones left Saturday's practice with some sort of injury to his left leg. According to Tim Twentyman of the Lions' official site, the receiver returned Sunday in full pads, suggesting he didn't experience anything severe. Jones will try to continue his impressive start to training camp, where Kyle Meinke of MLive Media Group indicated that Jones has been unguardable early on.
Jones appeared to sustain an injury to his left leg during Saturday's practice, Tim Twentyman of the Lions' official site reports. Jones banged his left knee following a stellar catch in practice. The Lions will likely take a cautious approach given Jones' value to the offense. If the veteran wideout is forced to miss just a few practices it shouldn't affect his status for a Week 1 contest against the Jets.
Jones led the league with 467 receiving yards and 25.9 yards per catch on contested targets last season, according to Pro Football Focus. Jones isn't the best at sprinting past defenders or jumping over them, but his impressive route running and ability to stay focused in traffic have allowed for above-average efficiency dating back to his time in Cincinnati. With the help of impressive accuracy from Matthew Stafford on deep throws, Jones posted elite marks for yards per catch (18.0) and yards per target (10.2) last season. The continued development of Kenny Golladay could take a few deep looks away from Jones, but there should be plenty of opportunities for both wideouts -- plus slot man Golden Tate -- in an offense that replaced TEs Eric Ebron (Colts) and Darren Fells (Browns) with career role players Luke Willson and Levine Toilolo. While the Lions also made a major commitment to their running game, they'll likely direct a huge portion of targets to their top three wideouts, which should help protect Jones against a shift in run:pass ratio. That being said, he'll have a tough time avoiding at least a minor dip from last year's career-best marks for YPC and YPT.
Jones, who trained with former NFL receiver Randy Moss in North Carolina last offseason, plans to do so again in 2018, Kyle Meinke of MLive.com reports. Jones has been a solid downfield threat for the Lions since coming to Detroit in 2016, but he took his game to new heights in his second season with the team, progress he partially credits to working with Moss over the summer. Jones said the two focused on improving Jones' route running, particularly on "winning at the top of the route." While other factors regarding his success were certainly in play, the tutelage seemingly benefitted Jones in some capacity when considering he went on to lead the league with 16 receptions of passes thrown at least 20 yards downfield -- with zero drops on 31 such opportunities. Given the immediate payoff, Jones said he intends to resume his training with Moss this offseason to specifically improve his ability to gain yards after the catch. While this guarantees nothing in terms of Jones' fantasy production moving forward, it at least offers hope that he might improve upon his 61/1,101/9 stat line from 2017. However, future investors will also need to take into account the ascension of 2017 third-rounder Kenny Golladay, who proved to also be a dangerous vertical threat as a rookie and could potentially command more targets in 2018, which may reduce Jones' workload.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/10||New York Jets||19||20.00|
|2||09/16||@San Francisco 49ers||23||20.38|
|3||09/24||New England Patriots||27||22.58|
|5||10/07||Green Bay Packers||32||24.13|
|13||12/02||Los Angeles Rams||11||18.47|
|17||12/30||@Green Bay Packers||32||24.13|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||104||60||949||6||39||15.82||131|