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Fantasy Football News 2022

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The Lions plan on speeding up their offensive tempo and running more no-huddle this season. "The faster you can push the tempo when you want to, makes it more stressful on the defense," QB Matt Stafford said. "If you feel like you’re playing at normal speed and they think you’re playing really fast you know it feels a whole lot better for us." Per Pro Football Focus, Detroit has gone no-huddle on 62% of their offensive snaps. That's up from 7% last year. “The biggest reason we’re going to do so well this year is this is something Matt is very comfortable with," WR Golden Tate said. "This is something he’s wanted, he’s thriving in this right now, he’s (balling), he’s comfortable." A quicker pace means more offensive plays and more fantasy opportunity for all the Lions.

10:23pm EDT 6/22/16

Lions QB Matt Stafford complimented the development of TE Eric Ebron. “I think he’s done a great job of just understanding what it means to be a pro,” Stafford said. “He was a really young kid when he came into the league a guy that has a ton of talent, but is starting to understand what it takes to be there on Sundays and make plays in this league. It doesn’t come easy. You have to work hard for it, and he’s done a great job this offseason.” Ebron remains very young at 23, and there’s certainly breakout potential entering his 3rd season.

ESPN's Dianna Marie Russini reports that the Lions have agreed to a deal with WR Marvin Jones, who was widely regarded as the top WR in this year's free-agent class.  Jones missed the entire 2014 season with foot and ankle injuries but sandwiched that year with lines of 51-712-10 and 65-816-4.  He heads to Detroit with a career 62.3% catch rate, 12.9 yards-per-catch average and 11.2% catch rate.  Jones is probably best as a WR2 and figures to slot behind WR Golden Tate in the Lions' pecking order.  WR Calvin Johnson leaves behind 149 targets from last year, though, so there's plenty to go around for both guys.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport had an interesting report on Lions QB Matthew Stafford this week. "There's a lot going on with Matthew Stafford now ... he was benched earlier in the year which, for a franchise quarterback, never happens," Rapaport said. "I'm also told that Joe Lombardi, the former offensive coordinator, was frustrated that he couldn't put enough on Stafford's plate, did not think he was able to handle it, was not taking as much control of the offense as the coaching staff wanted. In fact, new offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter actually had to simplify things for Stafford. All of which, in part, leads to the conclusion that Stafford's days in Detroit are very much numbered." Stafford's "benching" came in the 2nd half of a blowout loss to the Cardinals, so we're not reading much into that portion. And, frankly, this report probably doesn't impact Stafford's 2015 fantasy outlook at all. Detroit's not likely to turn to Dan Orlovsky at any point. (It's not like he's Blaine Gabbert, after all.) Rapoport also discussed the prospect of the Lions cutting Stafford in the spring. We wouldn't bet on that happening -- regardless of the cap hit -- without an encouraging replacement on the roster. But we'll be curious to see where this one goes.

The Lions have fired OC Joe Lombardi.  The offense has been a mess for most of the year and currently ranks 20th in yards per game and 29th in points per game.  The complete lack of a running game has been the biggest problem.  Detroit sits dead last in rush yards per game and 31st in yards per carry.  Lombardi will be replaced by Jim Bob Cooter, who was hired as QBs coach prior to the 2014 campaign.  He worked with QB Peyton Manning in Denver in 2013 and also spent time with the Colts and Titans.  We're skeptical that this move will do much for the Lions offense going forward.

Lions QB Matt Stafford suffered a left (non-throwing) hand injury in Sunday's loss to the Vikings.  He played through it with a glove on the hand, and it sounds like x-rays afterward came back clean.  “I think it’s OK,” Stafford said.  He took a beating vs. Minnesota -- 7 sacks, 13 hits -- but should be fine for this weekend's game against the Chiefs in London.

The Lions yanked QB Matt Stafford in the 3rd quarter of Sunday's game against the Lions.  He tossed 3 INTs before exiting with Detroit trailing 35-7.  This was Stafford 3rd multi-INT game of the season.  He's up to 8 already after throwing just 12 all last year.  Detroit will obviously go back to Stafford against the Bears next week.  That's a sweet matchup, but it'll be tough to trust him in fantasy lineups.

Lions QB Matt Stafford (chest, ribs) is active for tonight’s game against the Broncos. The injuries aren’t a concern, but Stafford isn’t a recommended QB1 vs. the league’s top-ranked QB defense

Lions QB Matt Stafford (chest, ribs) is probable for Sunday night’s game against the Broncos after a full week of practice. The injuries aren’t a concern, but the matchup is. Stafford is not a recommended QB1 this week.

Lions QB Matt Stafford is listed on the Week 3 injury report with a rib issue, but he put in a full practice on Wednesday.  He'll start Sunday night's game against the Broncos but will be tough to trust as a QB1.  Denver has limited Joe Flacco and Alex Smith to a combined 308 yards, 0 TDs and 4 INTs.

Lions HC Jim Caldwell refused to guarantee that QB Matt Stafford will be available for this weekend's game against the Broncos.  "We'll see," Caldwell said when asked about his QB.  Stafford played the entire game yesterday vs. the Vikings but required x-rays on his chest and ribs.  It sounds like those revealed some damage.  We'll keep a close eye on Stafford's status this week, but he's not going to be a recommended fantasy start against a stacked Denver defense.

Lions QB Matt Stafford had x-rays on his chest and ribs after Sunday's loss to the Vikings, according to insider Dave Birkett.  "He looked to be in a lot of pain in the locker room," Birkett added.  Stafford played the entire game but was hit 8 times.  We should get an update on his status tomorrow.  QB Dan Orlovsky is Detroit's backup.

Lions QB Matt Stafford stayed hot this preseason on Friday night.  He completed 11 of 15 passes for 173 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs.  Through 3 exhibitions, he's sitting on a 76% completion rate with 3 TDs and 0 picks.  And he's done it all without WR Calvin Johnson.  Stafford looks completely comfortable in his 2nd season in OC Joe Lombardi's offense.  He's certainly in the QB1 mix, but his mid-7th-round ADP is a tad rich for us.

Lions HC Jim Caldwell has noticed that QB Matt Stafford has a "better feel" for the offensive scheme now than he did at this time last year.  That's not a surprise considering it's Year 2 under OC Joe Lombardi.  "You can see our timing's better, receivers have a better sense of the routes that they're running," Caldwell added.  "All around I think we've made some improvement."  Stafford completed 60.3% of his passes last year -- his 2nd-best mark as a pro -- but averaged just 7.1 yards per attempt with 22 TDs.  He finished 15th among QBs in fantasy points despite ranking 5th in attempts.  We're expecting Stafford's volume to dip in 2015 with the Lions looking to run more.  So even if he's more efficient, he might struggle to crack QB1 territory.

Lions QB Matt Stafford chucked it 602 times last year.  That ranked 5th league-wide but was his lowest total in 4 full NFL seasons.  HC Jim Caldwell doesn't want Stafford's volume to climb in 2015.  "We're probably not going to throw it (more)," Caldwell said. "If we do throw it more, that means we're behind, we're struggling, we're not winning, we're not a very good football team, plain and simple."  Detroit is looking to establish a more balanced offense after being among the pass-heaviest teams in the league from 2011-2013.  That's good news for RB Joique Bell, although we wouldn't be surprised if the Lions add to the backfield in next month's draft.  As for Stafford, he's just a borderline QB1 without the huge volume.

Lions HC Jim Caldwell has been impressed by QB Matt Stafford early in camp.  “I was impressed when he came back that first of all he did not miss a beat,” Caldwell said. “He’s a very, very smart guy. You could tell he’s worked at it even during the summer.  In every facet when he came back, I could see improvement — footwork, accuracy, timing, command of the offense, all of those things. Now we get a chance to see if we can put it together a little bit more, add a few more things, keep progressing and then get some real challenges from our opposition as we start preseason.”  Fantasy owners are counting on Stafford bouncing back in a big way from his ugly finish to 2013.  He's currently coming off the board in the 4th-round of 12-team drafts as QB5.  Stafford certainly carries top-5 upside but isn't a great value at that price.

The Lions selected TE Eric Ebron with the 10th overall pick of the draft.  It certainly wasn't a major position of need for Detroit, but Brandon Pettigrew is better suited as a blocker, and Joseph Fauria remains unproven outside the red zone.  The Lions were looking for pass-catching weapons, and Ebron was the best left on the board.  The 6'4, 250-pounder has drawn Vernon Davis comparisons thanks to his speed, athleticism and fluidity.  His long-term upside in pass-happy Detroit is huge.  Targets might be tough to come by in 2014, though.

WR Golden Tate has agreed to a 5-year deal with the Lions.  It's an ideal landing spot for 1 of our favorite free agents.  Tate will line up opposite the best WR in the game, ensuring plenty of single coverage.  And he'll be playing for an offense that will remain pass-heavy under new OC Joe Lombardi.  Tate has increased his catch and yardage totals in each of his first 4 NFL seasons, topping out at 64 and 898 last year.  And he's done it while playing on 1 of the run-heaviest offenses in the league.  Seattle has attempted 405 and 420 passes, respectively, the past 2 seasons.  The Lions finished with 740 and 634.  The higher-volume passing game will unleash Tate's fantasy upside.  He's capable of WR2 production in 2014.  The addition is also excellent news for QB Matt Stafford, who now has 1 of the more explosive WR duos in the league.

Lions OC Joe Lombardi confirmed that his offense will resemble the one he worked with in New Orleans.  "There will be a lot of similarities (to the Saints' playbook)," Lombardi said. "You are going to see some difference, but the playbook that we are starting from is the Saints' playbook, so it will certainly be very similar."  That's obviously good news for QB Matt Stafford and WR Calvin Johnson.  Detroit might have a poor man's Jimmy Graham in TE Joseph Fauria.  We'll see if Lombardi deploys a backfield-by-committee like the Saints.  RB Reggie Bush is obviously familiar with the scheme after starting his pro career in New Orleans.

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