Is the Detroit Lions defense worth taking in fantasy?

Detroit Lions defense (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions defense (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Should you consider adding the Detroit Lions’ defense to your fantasy team?

In the vast majority of fantasy leagues, instead of taking defensive players like you do with offensive players, you take a whole teams’ defensive unit to represent your team. All 32 teams defensive units in the NFL are available to be selected and fantasy players have different strategies in regards to how to approach defensive teams in the draft.

Last season, the Detroit Lions were one of the worst defensive teams in the league. They gave up the most passing yards, tied for the second least amount of sacks and basically, the defense as a whole was a mess. The Lions defense was rarely rostered among fantasy leagues last season due to how bad they were.

During the offseason, the front office made a priority to address the defense. They drafted four defensive players and brought in a bunch of players to play on defense. They also lost some key defensive players too though.

The Lions traded cornerback Darius Slay to the Philadelphia Eagles and safety Quandre Diggs to the Seattle Seahawks. Plus, they let go of defensive lineman Damon Harrison. These three were vital to the Lions defense last year which weakened the defensive unit at the times of their departures.

Despite those three no longer being apart of the team, they have been replaced with some solid players. With the third overall pick, the Lions took cornerback Jeff Okudah and signed his partner in Desmond Trufant in hopes that the secondary will be improved.

In free agency, they brought two former New England Patriots players to Detroit in linebacker Jamie Collins and defensive tackle Danny Shelton. They also made a trade with the Patriots as they acquired safety Duron Harmon.

These three players played under head coach Matt Patricia when he was the Patriots defensive coordinator. The hope is that with more players familiar with Patricia’s defensive scheme, the defense will be better.

Along with the new guys they brought in, they do have defensive players who were apart of last year’s defense. Romeo Okwara is projected to be the Lions starting defensive end on the left side where opposite of him is defensive end Trey Flowers. Last year, they combined for a measly 8.5 sacks.

Other players on the Lions defense that were on the team last year are safety Tracy Walker, cornerback Justin Coleman, linebacker Jarrad Davis, linebacker Jahlani Tavai and a few others. Of the four mentioned, they combined for three interceptions.

With some fresh faces on the defensive side of the ball, especially in the secondary, there could very well be an increase in interceptions from last year’s seven picks but the defensive line will probably struggle to get sacks as it’s still a weak-link on the team.

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So with all that information, are the Detroit Lions worth taking as your defensive team in fantasy? Probably not. Although they may not be a bad option as a streamer.

Perhaps Weeks 1 and 13 against the Chicago Bears, Week 6 against the Jacksonville Jaguars and maybe Week 10 against Washington would be a time to stream the Lions’ defense. Consider Week 8 against the Indianapolis Colts too as quarterback Phillip Rivers is known to throw the ball away quite a bit.