5 Detroit Lions who could be sneaky fantasy football options this year
4. WR Kalif Raymond
Opportunity knocked for Raymond last year, for the first time in his NFL career, and he answered. His 48 catches, 576 yards and four touchdowns were clear career highs, and among players with at least 20 punt returns (21) his 11.2 yard average per return ranked among the best in the league.
Detroit’s additions at wide receiver (DJ Chark, Jameson Williams) have naturally moved Raymond down the pecking order for targets, and Josh Reynolds being in the fold from the start of the season isn’t ideal for his role either.
But Raymond has a versatile skill set that could have a unique place in the Lions’ offense. He could line up in multiple spots, and get touches in the passing game along with an occassional carry in the run game (four carries for 28 yards in 2021).
Raymond will not be drafted outside of massively large fantasy leagues, and even there he’s likely to be on the waiver wire into the season.
One role for Raymond than remains prominent without impediment or question is as the Lions’ No. 1 punt returner. A better defense will offer more potential opportunities there, and thus more yardage.
Raymond may only catch 20-30 passes this year, and for some that might be an aggressive projection. But he could get more, with Williams looking likely to be out into the regular season, and in leagues that count return yardage there’s a better path to some kind of fantasy relevance.