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NFL preseason report: Detroit Lions

See who’s trending up and who’s trending down throughout Lions training camp and preseason.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

This page will be regularly updated with news and analysis regarding the Lions’ skill position players throughout training camp and the preseason. ⬆︎ ⬇︎ Indicate which way a player’s fantasy value is trending and (R) denotes rookies.

Warren Sharp projects the Lions as having the 7th hardest schedule of 2018.

Quarterback

Matthew Stafford ⬆︎ -- No matter which way you cut it, Detroit has a tough season ahead of them. They’ve got the offensive line and offensive weapons to run with anyone though so I’m still a believer in Matthew Stafford. One knock on Stafford is that he plays poorly in open-roof stadiums, however, that’s mostly due to inclement weather. This season though, he faces multiple opponents either in domes or in comfortable outdoor environments (ie. San Francisco and Miami). I expect an efficient, high-scoring season from Stafford.

Running Back

LeGarrette Blount ⬆︎/⬇ -- First off, anyone running behind Detroit’s wrecking crew O-line will put up numbers. Before we get too excited about Blount though we need to see more preseason usage. He’s a goal line monster but I’ve got a feeling he might see work siphoned away by the rookie Kerryon Johnson.

Theo Riddick ⬆︎/⬇ -- In full-point PPR, Riddick will always hold value. However, we can’t forget that the 27-year old pass catcher had surgery on both wrists before last season and it appears as though he’s got serious competition for targets out of the backfield now.

Ameer Abdullah ⬇ -- Abdullah will no doubt tantalize us this preseason but the electric back has likely seen the last of his large regular season workloads.

Kerryon Johnson (R)⬆︎ -- Kerryon Johnson looks like the real deal. He didn’t show much in the receiving game in college, however, he put any worries on that front to rest in last week’s preseason game. Johnson totaled 34 yards on 7 carries, good for 4.9 YPC and was second on the team in receiving yards, catching 4 out of 5 targets for 33 yards. The kid can do it all and was known for his prowess near the goal line. We need to see more but at this point I’m more than comfortable drafting him as a high risk/high reward 5th round RB.

Zach Zenner ⬇ -- The SPARQ darling will always belong on someone’s training camp roster but at this point, the Detroit RB room is just a bit too crowded.

Dwayne Washington ⬇ -- Similar to Zenner, there just isn’t room for Washington to produce in this backfield. He’ll be on an NFL roster this year, just not likely Detroit’s.

Wide Receivers

Marvin Jones ⬆︎ -- Marvin Jones is one of the NFL’s premier contested catch receivers and I expect he and Stafford to continue building their already strong connection in that department. There’s a good chance Jones finishes the year (despite the tough schedule) as a fantasy WR1. I saw this tweet from Josh Hermsmeyer back in June and it’s been stuck in my head ever since:

Draft Marvin aggressively at his late 5th-round ADP. A potential WR1 that late in the draft is a steal.

Golden Tate ⬆︎ -- Golden will continue his steady, baller PPR performances. He’s a beast after the catch and is first in line to absorb the majority of Eric Ebron’s vacated targets, running out of the slot. Personally, I’ll probably fade Golden in non-PPR as his 6th round ADP is just a bit too early for someone with a rock solid floor but limited ceiling. I can’t blame you if you feel differently though. Dude’s a stud.

Kenny Golladay ⬆︎ -- Golladay is a deep ball machine. I expect him to improve on his impressive rookie season, but I don’t see a way for him to break past Flex territory. The target opportunities are limited with Jones, Tate, and the talented pass-catchers coming out of the backfield. Should anything happen to Jones or Tate, Golladay would be a hot commodity.

Tight End

Luke Willson ⬇ -- Willson is a freak athlete who showed flashes in Seattle, however, he never developed into the receiving threat they’d hoped he’d be. I can’t see that happening now with such a dominant presence (Golden Tate) in the slot.

Levine Toilolo ⬇ -- Toilolo will contribute in pass protection this year but until we get points for blocks, avoid the veteran TE.