Stripped of the fancy scheme, talent and coaching in L.A., last
season you saw the bare bones of what Goff is able to accomplish
in the NFL. His limited skill set, and physical abilities werenít
enough to make Detroit very competitive. Before a late season
surge that saw the Lions win three out of the final four, Goff
and the offense sputtered. A conservative game plan that was limited
by receiving talent, and the former Ramsí QB weak right
arm, there simply wasnít much fantasy juice to squeeze from
While the team has infused the offensive side of the ball with
additional talent via free agency (Chark, Reynolds) and the draft
Williams), the team will continue to mirror the hard-nosed,
gravel-eating personality of head coach Dan Campbell. This means
running the football, playing defense, and winning the game in
the 4th quarter. Goff has endeared himself to the Motor City with
the right attitude, and a measure of grit, but I just donít see
him being able to will this team to the next level. Heíll take
the lumps as the franchise wisely builds a solid roster around
their next quarterback of the future. A low end QB2 fantasy season
is likely the best you can hope for.
Swift has been one of the most impactful dual threat backs in
the NFL when healthy; unfortunately, that hasnít been nearly
enough for a Lions offense thatís been light on threats.
In his first two pro seasons Swift has piled up a massive 135
receptions and nearly 2,000 total yards. Tack on his 17 total
touchdowns, and you can see why fantasy owners have been devilishly
teased over the past two years.
In addition to missing 7 games, heís left a few early, and
missed a multitude of practice reps, often taking his availability
down to the end of week. As a result, Swift has actually started
only a handful of games in his first two seasons. Despite the
obvious talent, the health conundrum is a major consideration
if you are looking to invest in Swift. Even his running backs
coach Duce Staley has pointed out the need for Swift to stay on
the field. With unproven receivers, and a check-down champion
quarterback, Swift should remain a big part of the passing game
with an 80-target floor. If he can stay out of the training room,
and hold off teammate Jamaal Williams for snaps, he has the talent
to enter the standard league RB1 conversation in addition to being
a PPR darling.
Entering his 2nd season with the Lions, Williams showed in 2021
that heís still the effective committee-back slasher he was in Green
Bay. Better in a change-of-pace role than as a starter, Williams
did set a career high with 601 rushing yards, largely filling in
for an injury riddled DíAndre
Swift. With a yards-per-carry average of 3.9, which is well
within his standard career range, Williams is much more valuable
as a Swift handcuff than a stand-alone fantasy asset. His stable
play, and veteran leadership give him an important role with Detroit,
but heís peaked as an end of the bench stash for your fantasy team.
The 4th rounder with the name of an Egyptian god, St. Brown took
the NFL by storm in his rookie season with a 90-912-5 line on
119 targets. In Week 1, he was buried on fantasy free agent lists,
but by Week 16 he was leading franchises to league titles. An
afterthought on a bad team during the NFLís first 12 weeks,
a Week 13 explosion against Minnesota was the spark that made
St. Brown one of the hottest fantasy players down the stretch.
He had double digit targets in each of the final six games, and
never had fewer than 8 receptions or 73 yards. All five of his
scores came during this period as well.
Usually, itís some random running back that gets hot at the end
of the season and delivers fantasy glory, but this time it was
a 4th rounder with a memorable name on one of the worst franchises
in the NFL. While a good story, and an exciting topic around the
fantasy table, I just donít see that 6-game stretch translating
into continued success in 2022. St. Brown is a smooth route runner
with great hands and body control. He reminds me a lot of fellow
Southern Cal receiver JuJu
Smith-Schuster. Neither guy pops off the page athletically,
but can take advantage of volume, and opportunity. And that right
there is the concern for the upcoming season. Detroit resigned
added D.J. Chark
in free agency, drafted Jameson Williams in the 1st round, and
will have target hogs T.J.
Hockenson and DíAndre
Swift healthy and ready to go. I wouldnít be surprised if
the 90 receptions he had last year became his career high and
he fades back into more of a WR 4/5 for most rosters.
Itís been a few years since his lone impactful season in the
NFL, but the Lions adding Chark early in free agency on a one-year
deal was a solid move. In 2019, Charkís 2nd season, he flashed
elite ball skills and talent for a rising Jags squad. He went over
1,000 yards and scored 8 touchdowns, and looked to be a core piece
on offense for years to come. But a down year in 2020, and a broken
ankle in Week 3 of 2021 coincided with the implosion of the franchise,
and the Jags moved on. The former 2nd rounder joins a receiver room
in Detroit thatís certainly gotten bigger, but remains unproven.
Chark did score in two of the three games he played in last year,
and his size/speed combination is something Detroit sorely lacked
last season. In a different situation Iíd be excited about
the fantasy value Chark could fetch, but with Detroit likely to
be in the bottom half of the league in pass attempts, and suddenly
with several mouths to feed, Iím just not sure the volume
will be there for consistent production.
Despite suffering a torn ACL in the National Championship game in
January, the Lions traded up to select dynamic receiver Jameson Williams in the 1st round. Elite measurables combined with incredible
production in his Junior year, Williams will greatly upgrade the
talent level at the position when he takes the field. Thatís
part of the problem. With his rehab ongoing, itís highly unlikely
weíll see Williams on the field much in the first half of
the year. Heís a big part of the future in Detroit, and they
wonít rush him back. So why even consider him in fantasy?
Depending on your league rules, he might be a free stash until there
is a clearer indication on his return. His talent is worth sitting
on, or at least snatching off the wire a few weeks into the season.
Hockenson looked primed for a monster year after starting 2021
off with 19 targets, 16 receptions, 163 yards and two touchdowns
in the first two weeks. There just wasn't much meat left on the
bone after that, as defenses wisely realized Hock was the only
receiving threat on the team. Touchdowns became a mere myth for
Hockenson last season, as the inefficiency of the Detroit offense
led to only 9 red zone targets for the young tight end.
So, what does 2022 bring? Well first off, the additions at receiver
are sure to eat into Hockensonís target numbers, as the
ball should be spread around more. At the same time though, his
efficiency is sure to improve with theoretically less defensive
attention. He enters the prime of his career with several solid,
if unspectacular seasons behind him, and is likely going to be
one of the team leaders in receptions. With some improved scoring
chances, Hockenson could slide into the middle tier of TE1s with
a chance to move up.