Breaking down the Lions’ top fantasy football options in 2016
Matthew Stafford: Quarterback
4,262 Yards, 32 Touchdowns & 13 INT.
4,450 Yards, 33 Touchdowns & 11 INT.
Stafford had a solid year from a fantasy perspective last season. I don’t expect him to play all 16 games at the level he played over the second half of last season, but I do think offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter figured out how to maximize his abilities. A less predictable scheme that utilizes Stafford’s quick release should give him one of the most efficient seasons of his career. Stafford is a good example of why should wait and draft a quarterback in your fantasy draft. He will give you top-10 QB production from a fantasy standpoint and you can wait to draft him. Of course, this is assuming he doesn’t fall apart without Megatron, as some have suggested.
Golden Tate: Wide Receiver
90 Catches, 813 Yards & 6 Touchdowns.
101 Catches, 1,250 Yards & 5 Touchdowns.
Tate should move into the number-one receiver role with Calvin Johnson’s retirement. His yardage took a dip last season, but I expect it to go back up to that 1,200-1,300 yard range without Johnson taking touches away. I don’t see him as much of a touchdown threat but Tate should be golden in PPR leagues (Points Per Reception). I expect him to catch over 100 balls, having averaged over 94 per year in his first two seasons in Detroit. I think it is safe to assume Tate turns into a perennial 1,000-yard receiver as Detroit’s new top wide receiver. His chemistry with Matthews Stafford gives him the edge over Jones.
Marvin Jones: Wide Receiver
65 Catches, 816 Yards & 4 Touchdowns.
75 Catches, 940 Yards & 7 Touchdowns.
Jones should be a bigger part of Detroit’s offense than he was in Cincinnati. He’s been a great complement to A.J. Green, but he and Tate could be a 1 and 1A type of duo. I think he has less yardage than Tate but will get more touchdowns, being a true deep-threat. Jones may get more catches than he had last season but will likely be a boom-or-bust type of fantasy player next season. He’s bound to have some monster games with some long touchdown receptions and some games where he doesn’t do much. Golden Tate owners should try and make sure they have Jones as a handcuff if possible.
Eric Ebron: Tight End
47 Catches, 537 Yards & 5 Touchdowns.
66 Catches, 810 Yards, & 8 Touchdowns.
Ebron continues to improve in training camp. He was drastically better last season than during his rookie year and I expect that progress to continue with more looks. Ebron is the biggest receiving option the Lions have and that should pay off with more touchdowns. As I wrote on Monday, in my five bold predictions article, I believe Ebron will lead the team in touchdowns in 2016. He established himself as a red-zone threat last season, now he should improve upon that usage, assuming Anquan Boldin doesn’t steal his role in the slot.
Ameer Abdullah: Running Back
143 Rushes for 597 Yards & 2 Touchdowns.
25 Catches, 183 Yards & 1 Touchdown.
225 Rushes for 832 Yards & 4 Touchdowns.
35 Catches, 232 Yards & 2 Touchdowns.
Abdullah should be the lead-back coming into the 2016 season, after splitting reps with Bell his rookie year. I expect him to look much better but don’t see the offensive line improving enough for him to have a huge year. I project he gets over1,000 all-purpose yards. Hearing about the offensive line’s early struggles in camp makes me think the Lions will use more quick passes than predictable runs. Abdullah will have some fantasy value but temper your breakout expectations. His value really depends on how the offensive line performs.
Theo Riddick: Running Back
43 Rushes for 133 Yards.
80 Catches, 697 Yards & 3 Touchdowns.
48 Rushes for 158 Yards & 2 Touchdowns.
75 Catches for 588 Yards and 3 Touchdowns.
Riddick had a productive season catching passes out of the backfield. He’s not a true between-the-tackles runner and I don’t envision that changing next year. The Lions like Riddick in that 3rd-down back role where he can use his open-field elusiveness. Hard to see him duplicating his 80-catch campaign from 2015, especially with Abdullah being a similar type of player. I think he still gets a good amount of catches but less overall yardage. He will have value in PPR leagues and like Jones, should be taken if you have Abdullah on your team.