Fantasy Football

Fantasy Team Preview: Lions

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John Halpin

John Halpin has been a fantasy contributor for FOXSports.com since 2007. He has written and co-hosted webcasts about fantasy football for FOXNews.com, and managed websites for the NHL, the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Network. Listen to his "Fantasy 15 Podcast" on FOXSportsRadio.com and follow him on Twitter.

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Overall outlook: This team has a bunch of potentially impactful fantasy players. What do we care if they’re undisciplined, or have a terrible defense?

Bye week: 9

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Quarterback: Matthew Stafford

Ranked 11th with 313.6 fantasy points in FOXSports.com standard leagues in 2012 … Want to undertake a difficult task? Try leading the NFL in passing attempts (727) and finishing second in yards (4,967), but ending the season T-19 in touchdown passes (20) … Maybe there was an invisible force field around the end zone when the Lions approached, and maybe the team suffered from bad karma for rostering a bunch of knuckleheads … More likely, Stafford will bounce back with 30-plus touchdowns to go along with another gaudy yardage total.

Running back: Reggie Bush

Ranked 14th with 171.8 fantasy points in 2012 … Ran 227 times for 986 yards, and caught 35 passes for 202 yards, while totaling eight touchdowns with the Dolphins … Now finds himself in an offense that throws ALL the time, as evidenced by the 86 combined passes caught by Mikel Leshoure and change-of-pace back Joique Bell … PPR stud, and probably a high-end RB2 in standard formats.

Running back: Mikel Leshoure

Ranked 18th with 149.2 fantasy points in 2012 … Ranked 23rd in the NFL with 798 rushing yards, but scored an impressive nine touchdowns … Figures to see his fantasy value erode with Bush arriving as a highly-paid lead back, but should be a nice goal-line vulture.

Running back: Joique Bell

Ranked 27th with 103.9 fantasy points in 2012 … Had 899 yards from scrimmage on 82 rushes and 52 receptions … Excellent receiver, but so is Bush, and his presence makes Bell a late-round pick, at best.

Wide receiver: Calvin Johnson

Ranked first among wideouts with 220.4 fantasy points in 2012 … Led the NFL with 122 receptions, 1,964 receiving yards and 205 targets … Scored only five touchdowns, but that’s probably a fluky number, so Johnson’s numbers should get even better … Fantasy football’s clear-cut top wideout, and a first-round pick.

Wide receiver: Nate Burleson

Caught just 27 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns last season, playing in just six games due to a broken leg … Caught 73 passes for 757 yards in 2011, so if healthy, could be an occasional flex play in PPR formats.

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Wide receiver: Ryan Broyles

Caught 22 passes for 310 yards and two scores in 2012 … Had a breakout game (six receptions, 126 yards) against the Texans on Thanksgiving, and became a popular fantasy free-agent target before tearing his ACL the following week … Seems to be on the WR4/5 bubble in many rankings, and could provide excellent value there IF he’s healthy.

Tight end: Brandon Pettigrew

Ranked 21st among tight ends with 70.7 fantasy points in 2012 … Caught 59 passes for 567 yards and three touchdowns … Was seventh among tight ends with 101 targets, so Pettigrew’s opportunity surpassed his production … You might still be expecting more, but drafting him as a TE1 probably isn’t a good idea.

Tight end: Tony Scheffler

Ranked 28th with 56.4 fantasy points in 2012 … Caught 42 passes for 504 yards and a touchdown … There are enough passes to go around in this offense to make anyone somewhat productive, but Scheffler looks to be no more than a bye-week option.

Placekicker: David Akers

Ranked sixth among kickers with 141 fantasy points in 2012 … Led the NFL with 42 field goal attempts, but had the worst season of his career accuracy-wise by converting just 29 of them … Should get plenty of opportunities again this year, as predecessor Jason Hanson ranked sixth with 36 field goal attempts … Was 2012 just a fluke season for the 38-year-old Akers, or a sign of decline? The guess here is the latter, but it’s just that – a guess.

Team defense (DST)

Ranked 29th with 69 fantasy points in 2012 … Ranked 13th in yards allowed (5,458), which wasn’t too bad … Unfortunately, ranked T-20 in sacks (34), T-23 in interceptions (11), T-25 in fumble recoveries (six), 27th in points allowed (437), and were one of just two units not to score a touchdown … It’s difficult to find a compelling reason to draft this unit in any format.

Tagged: Lions, Reggie Bush, Joique Bell, Mikel Leshoure

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