Shark Bites

Lions TE Eric Ebron (hamstring) has been sidelined all week after returning to practice last Friday. HC Jim Caldwell claims it's not a setback, though. "He's just got a couple issues that he's dealing with," Caldwell said. "He's got a couple things and not quite ready yet, so hopefully he'll continue to heal and we'll get him back out there soon." Ebron has had trouble staying on the field as a pro, missing 8 games through 3 seasons. He's not off to a good start in 2017. There's some breakout potential for the 24-year-old, but he also comes with plenty of risk in fantasy drafts.

Lions DE Kerry Hyder suffered a torn left Achilles' tendon in Sunday's preseason opener against the Colts. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that Hyder will have surgery this week and expects to be back before next season. The injury leaves Detroit with basically no proven edge-rushing talent beyond DE Ezekiel Ansah. Veterans Dwight Freeney and Mario Williams stand out as rare big-name DEs on the free-agent market, but neither looks like a real every-down option. An already-sketchy Detroit defense looks bad for both real-life and fantasy purposes. Hyder will be an unrestricted free agent in March.

Lions WR Kenny Golladay scored twice in the team's preseason opener on Sunday. The TDs came from 23 and 15 yards out on underthrown passes that the rookie had to adjust to. They also both came from backup QB Jake Rudock. Golladay didn't play any snaps with QB Matt Stafford and the 1st-team offense. That'll happen soon enough if Golladay keeps playing like he did in this one. He's reportedly been lighting it up in training camp, too. Mark him down as an intriguing late-round flier in fantasy drafts.

Lions DE Kerry Hyder left the field on a cart Sunday after suffering a lower left leg injury in the preseason opener against the Colts. Trainers attended to the back of his leg, according mLive.com, which could mean an Achilles' tendon issue. We'll see about the official diagnosis. Losing Hyder would be a big blow to an already shaky defense.

Lions TE Eric Ebron practiced Friday for the 1st time since suffering a hamstring injury in the team's 1st training-camp workout. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reported that Ebron left the field before the end of practice, but there was no indication that it marked a setback. We'll certainly keep an eye on Ebron's status going forward. Continued participation at any level will make him an attractive fantasy football draft option at his reasonable ADP.

Lions insider Kyle Meinke believes WR Kenny Golladay is "ready to contribute immediately" after a strong start to training camp. The rookie has been especially good in the red zone, using his 6'4, 218-pound frame to box out smaller DBs. The departed Anquan Boldin soaked up 22 red-zone targets last year, so there's opportunity for Golladay there. He'll likely need an injury to Golden Tate or Marvin Jones to find reliable weekly fantasy production, but he's worth a look late in best-ball drafts.

The Detroit Free Press' Dave Birkett calls Ameer Abdullah the Lions' "feature back." That's a vague term, of course. But Birkett clearly expects Abdullah to be busy in both the running and passing games this season. Tim Twentyman of the team's official website projected "somewhere in the neighborhood of 200-plus carries" for Abdullah this season. Here's what RBs coach David Walker offered: "Ameer’s our guy. Theo has his role, and then the other guys, they got to kind of fit where they fit and that’s how we’ll go." Don't mistake Abdullah for a candidate to lead the league in total touches. But it's starting to sound like he's a lock for 200+ total touches with a shot to approach 250. Only 14 RBs reached the latter mark in 2016.

RB Theo Riddick (wrists) sported a red non-contact jersey and was limited to individual drills as the Lions opened training camp on Sunday. He missed all of spring workouts after undergoing surgery on both wrists early in the offseason. It looks like he's on track to be ready by Week 1, but we'll keep an eye on his progress. Riddick has racked up 133 catches over the last 2 years -- most among RBs.

Lions TE Eric Ebron suffered a hamstring injury during the team's 1st training-camp practice on Sunday. "He got a little bit of a tweak but we’ll see, see how bad it is," HC Jim Caldwell said afterward. We'll see how long this keeps Ebron sidelined, but it's obviously not a good start for a guy who's had trouble staying healthy. He's missed 8 games through 3 NFL seasons with ankle, knee and hamstring injuries.

Lions insider Dave Birkett expects TE Eric Ebron's role to grow in 2017. "Ebron is the Lions’ unquestioned No. 1 tight end, and the addition of Darren Fells and Michael Roberts means coaches can move him around more as a chess piece in two-tight-end sets," Birkett writes. Ebron's volume has climbed each year in the league, topping out at 85 looks last season. And that was despite missing 3 contests. Only 8 TEs averaged more targets per game. Now Detroit has 95 unaccounted for targets with Anquan Boldin gone. A healthy Ebron should easily eclipse 100 looks this season. He looks like a solid fantasy starter -- and a value at his 9th-round ADP.

Tim Twentyman of Lions.com expects RB Ameer Abdullah to carry at least 200 times this season. That might not sound like a huge number, but it's a mark only 19 RBs reached last year. The bigger sticking points for Abdullah's fantasy output are his roles in the passing game and near the goal line. Detroit returns Theo Riddick as 1 of the best pass-catching backs in the game. And bigger RBs in Zach Zenner, Dwayne Washington and Matt Asiata could handle the majority of the goal-line work. We love Abdullah's skill set, but he might not be in position to pay off his RB22 price tag.

Lions WR Marvin Jones spent part of his offseason working out with future Hall-of-Famer Randy Moss. “I was getting a lot of insight from him in terms of what I wanted to focus on, including my lower-body strength, and (improving) yards after the catch," Jones said. HC Jim Caldwell liked what he saw from Jones this spring: "He’s had one of those springs that you kind of look to. This guy is right there on the verge of maintaining that kind of explosive start that he had last year. He’s really, really had a real good spring.” That explosive start Caldwell is referring to included 408 yards through Jones' first 3 games and 4 TDs through his first 6. He was sitting 3rd among WRs in non-PPR points through Week 6 and 7th in PPR. Jones totaled just 26 catches for 401 scoreless yards the rest of the way, though, ranking outside the top 70 at his position. Expect his production to level off in 2017. He's still set to play a big role in a Lions offense that's ranked top 12 in passing yards in 3 straight seasons. Jones could prove a strong value at his recent WR52 ADP.

Lions RB Ameer Abdullah revealed this week that it was a Lisfranc tear that ended his 2016 season in Week 2, a detail the Lions reportedly (allegedly) removed from the podcast recording where Abdullah revealed it. That makes for a fun story, but the situation likely doesn't matter a whole lot. We already knew that Abdullah tore a foot ligament and required surgery. And then the Lions added little to the backfield in the offseason while calling Abdullah the starter. We'll see how he looks in training camp and the preseason after limited spring work.

The Lions have signed RB Matt Asiata. A fantasy undertaker in Minnesota, Asiata vultured 19 total TDs over the past 4 seasons -- despite averaging just 3.5 yards per carry. He joins Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, Zach Zenner and Dwayne Washington in Detroit's backfield. Those final 2 and Asiata might be battling for 1 or 2 roster spots. We hope Asiata doesn't turn into a fantasy factor again.

Lions WR Kenny Golladay has been a standout at OTAs this week, according to insider Kyle Meinke. The rookie has been working both outside and in the slot. "Golladay's hands look as good as advertised too, sucking in every ball I saw thrown his way," Meinke writes. Detroit invested a 3rd-round pick in Golladay this spring and has a hole at the #3 WR spot after letting Anquan Boldin walk. Others vying for that job include T.J. Jones and Jared Abbrederis, but our money is on the rookie. Boldin saw 95 targets in that role last year, so Golladay could make some noise if he wins the job.

The Lions plan to play 1st-round LB Jarrad Davis in the middle "we hope for many years to come," GM Bob Quinn told the Detroit Free Press. But Davis will have to compete with others in the corps before settling into his spot. "He's a guy that we feel that can play mike (middle) and will (weak-side) so we’re going to put him in the mix with all the guys we have on the roster and just kind of figure out what’s the best way to use him," Quinn said. "But he definitely has position flexibility." Davis should quickly emerge as the top player in the group, however, and lock down a starting job either on the middle or the weak side. Meanwhile, Tahir Whitehead is no lock to remain in the lineup after a breakthrough fantasy season in 2016, which particularly found him struggling in coverage. Free-agent addition Paul Worrilow will also compete, along with 4th-round rookie Jalen Reeves-Maybin. Quinn said the team likes Reeves-Maybin on the weak side. The whole competition will be interesting to watch for IDP owners.

According to Kyle Meinke of MLive.com, the Lions "straight up told" 3rd-round WR Kenny Golladay that he'd get a chance to compete for a starting job in 2017. "I think primarily we'll start him off on the outside, but he has some pretty unique route-running skill-sets for a big guy that can kind of do some inside things," GM Bob Quinn said. "So we'll work him in there and we'll see how it plays out here in the next couple months." Of course, starting doesn't mean that Golladay has a shot to push Golden Tate or Marvin Jones out of the lineup. But Anquan Boldin remains a free agent, and Andre Roberts -- the only other Detroit wideout to catch 10+ passes -- has already moved on. A good spring and summer could land Golladay in that #3 role, in an offense that has leaned pass for years and got a disappointing debut from Jones. And Tate is signed through just 2018. Keep Golladay in mind as you head into dynasty rookie drafts.

Lions GM Bob Quinn called RB Ameer Abdullah his starting RB following the NFL Draft. “I feel pretty good about the position," Quinn said via Detroit Free Press. "There were a couple running backs that we looked at in the middle part of the draft, but just no one we felt that was going to come in and really unseat any of the guys that we have on our roster. So I feel good about that spot.” Abdullah appeared in just 2 games last year before undergoing season-ending foot surgery. If healthy (he’s already participated in spring workouts) the 3rd-year man has a chance to excel as the lead back. Of course, Theo Riddick will help lower Abdullah's receiving upside. But note that Detroit upgraded the O-line in free agency with G TJ Lang and RT Ricky Wagner.

The Lions drafted Miami QB Brad Kaaya with the 32nd pick of Round 6. That's surprisingly late for a 6'4 signal-caller with solid arm strength, 3 starting seasons and quality numbers (including 69 TDs vs. 24 INTs). Landing in Detroit puts Kaaya behind Matthew Stafford, who's heading into just his age-29 season. That makes Kaaya a non-factor in all but the deepest of dynasty rookie drafts.

The Lions added Toledo TE Michael Roberts in the 4th round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The 6’4, 270-pounder turned in 1 of the craziest lines of last season: 45 catches, 533 yards and … 16 TDs! Roberts posted just a 4.86-second 40 time with a 30-inch vertical at the Combine, but he did show plus agility with a strong 3-cone. Scouts laud his body control and catch radius. And he certainly has the size to develop into a plus blocker. Roberts doesn’t seem like the type who will emerge as a fantasy difference-maker, but he could turn into an asset for QB Matt Stafford as a solid all-around TE.

 
 
 

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