Zach Zenner will compete for a roster spot in training camp this summer. The Lions added rookie Kerryon Johnson, LeGarrette Blount and still have Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah on the roster, so it's likely Zenner will battle guys like Tion Green and Dwayne Washington for a job. Until he lands regular playing time, Fantasy owners shouldn't draft him.
Zenner is signing a contract to stay in Detroit, where he figures to compete for the No. 4 running back job, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports. Zenner has appeared in 28 games for the Lions since catching on as an undrafted free agent in 2015, taking 119 carries for 420 yards (3.5 YPC) and five touchdowns and catching 20 of 27 targets for 207 yards. He played more snaps on special teams (155) than offense (65) last season, and he'll likely have a similar role if he sticks on the roster for another year. The Lions are trying to add a veteran -- possibly Frank Gore -- to compete with Ameer Abdullah and Tion Green for carries. Zenner's special teams acumen may eventually give him the upper hand over Green or Abdullah in a battle for one of the final roster spots.
The Lions didn't tender Zenner a contract for the 2018 season Wednesday, making him an unrestricted free agent, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com reports. Zenner was often a healthy inactive during his three seasons in Detroit, only seeing the field when injuries hit tailbacks above him on the depth chart. The South Dakota State product finished the past campaign with only 26 yards and one touchdown on 14 rushing attempts, though his abysmal 1.9 yards per carry is likely a reflection of his deployment as a battering ram in short-yardage situations. The 26-year-old could draw interest from a number of teams in need of a goal-line bruiser.
Zenner rushed 14 times for 26 yards and one touchdown over eight games during the 2017 season. After losing his grip on the short-yardage role in training camp to Dwayne Washington, Zenner re-entered the fold in Week 3 once Washington was lost to a thigh injury. However, even as injuries piled up in the Detroit backfield, Zenner was never given more than three carries in any one game throughout the entire year and ended the season as a healthy scratch in each of the final three outings. His future is now up in the air, as Zenner is set to be a restricted free agent and is no guarantee to be retained as a member of the Lions.
Zenner (coach's decision) is inactive for Sunday's Week 17 tilt against the Packers. Zenner will thus finish off the 2017 campaign last having seen action in Week 14. The short-yardage specialist carried just 14 times overall in what was his third NFL season, while failing to record a single reception for the first time in his career. With the Lions' coaching regime potentially on the move following a disappointing season, Zenner's future remains cloudy for the moment.
Zenner (coach's decision) is inactive for Sunday's Week 16 tilt against the Bengals. The third-year back will thus be a healthy scratch for the second consecutive week, as Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick and Tion Green will once again helm the Lions backfield. Zenner has seen action in only eight games this season and primarily has been limited to short-yardage and goal-line work, as evidenced by his scant 14 carries for 26 yards and one touchdown on the campaign.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/10||New York Jets||24||18.50|
|2||09/16||@San Francisco 49ers||19||17.75|
|3||09/24||New England Patriots||17||17.47|
|5||10/07||Green Bay Packers||16||17.38|
|13||12/02||Los Angeles Rams||27||19.00|
|17||12/30||@Green Bay Packers||16||17.38|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||40||140||2||7||69||0||32|