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Detroit Lions Fantasy Football News | Shark Bites

Fantasy Football News 2024

Most Recent Fantasy Football News & Updates

Tim Twentyman of the Lions’ official site writes that TE Sam LaPorta is “expected to play a big role right away.” It’s a reasonable statement given LaPorta’s TE competition: Brock Wright, James Mitchell, and Shane Zylstra. Per Twentyman, Detroit’s coaching staff came away from OTAs/minicamp “pleasantly surprised” with the rookie’s “instincts and feel for the game.” We’ll see if LaPorta can keep up the momentum come training camp. For now, he’s on a trajectory to enter the spot-start TE1 discussion. Factoring in his current ADP — TE19 — LaPorta made our list of best tight ends for fantasy football.

Speaking at a youth football camp, Lions WR Jameson Williams said he’s back to his pre-torn ACL playing weight of 185 pounds. (Williams tore his left ACL in January, 2022.) He credits a new workout regimen and diet. “I’m really eager because it’s been a lot of stepping stones, and I’m just ready to get everything cleared up and just play ball,” Williams said via MLive. Of course, he'll miss the first six games while serving a suspension for gambling. He’s the WR49 in FFPC best ball drafts.

Speaking with NFL Network's Peter Schrager, Lions GM Brad Holmes assessed his new backfield. "When you look at it systematically, I do think we'll be better offensively," Holmes said. "That's no knock on the contributions that those other two guys gave us. [D’Andre] Swift is a dynamic player and Jamaal [Williams] was a great leader for us, and he did so much for us. He had a great season. But I think [David] Montgomery and Jahmyr [Gibbs] are different backs. Montgomery does a little bit more in the passing game. And being able to add Gibbs, he's just so dynamic as a receiver. Look, he's a home run hitter as a running back, that's the easy part. What he does as a receiver -- he runs routes like a receiver." Holmes added that Gibbs is a “special weapon” who reminds him of Christian McCaffrey and Marshall Faulk. See where both Lions sit in our 2023 RB rankings.

Lions QB coach Mark Brunell gave a progress update on rookie Hendon Hooker. Hooker recently said he’s “progressing really well” in his left ACL rehab. "If he didn't have [a great work ethic], he wouldn't be here. He's a smart player, puts the time in. The most important thing is him getting strong and healthy," Brunell told The Detroit News. "But I'm really pleased with him. As far as the meetings are concerned, we throw a bunch of questions at those rookies and try to put them in a tough spot. And he always does a very good job, and it's very clear that he's putting the time in." Hooker remains a dynasty stash.

Lions QB Hendon Hooker is “expected” to start training camp on the non-football injury list, per Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press. Birkett expects a midseason return, which would put the 25-year-old ~11.5 months out from his November ACL tear. Sitting behind Jared Goff, our dynasty QB rankings show Hooker's just a stash.

Per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Lions WR Amon-Ra St. Brown has expressed his desire this offseason to be utilized more as a deep threat in the passing game in 2023. Lions WR coach Antwaan Randle El shared that he "has seen subtle growth" from St. Brown in OTAs and minicamps that can help him achieve that goal. The former fourth-round pick finished 2022 as the WR7 overall with 16.8 PPR points per game last season, leading the Lions in targets (145), target share (27.8%), and Weighted Opportunity Rating (0.57) while finishing 2nd on the team in air yards share (25.8%). The tricky part is we haven't seen St. Brown used much as a deep threat in his career so far. According to PFF, only 9 of his targets last year were measured at 20+ yards downfield, and St. Brown's career average depth of target (aDOT) is 6.8. Such a shift in usage would be a big change, though St. Brown did register a 10.6 career aDOT across three seasons in college at USC. Whether he becomes a deep shot receiver or not, we're bullish about St. Brown entering the 2023 season. Check out where he sits in our current WR rankings.

Lions QB Jared Goff is feeling more comfortable in his second season in OC Ben Johnson's offense. "I think we're able to dial in a little bit more into the details and we're able to tweak things a little bit more as opposed to learning a new offense and really learning the basic stuff," Goff said. "We're able to get into the weeds a little bit and it's been fun." Tim Twentyman notes that Goff has been in "complete command" of the offense this offseason. "Watching him operate at minicamp it's clear he's 100 percent dialed into Johnson's scheme," Twentyman adds. Goff's lack of rushing production caps his fantasy upside. But he finished 10th among QBs in fantasy points last season and is capable of another lower-end QB1 season in 2023.

9:35pm EDT 4/28/23

The Lions selected Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker in Round 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft. Hooker transferred from Virginia Tech to Tennessee ahead of the 2021 season. The following two years proved highly productive in HC Josh Heupel’s spread system. Across 14 games, Hooker tallied 6,080 yards, 58 TDs, and only 5 INTs. Boasting plus mobility and ample arm talent, Hooker’s negatives are rather striking. He’ll be a 25-year-old rookie. And he’s coming off a November 19 ACL tear. There’s a chance Hooker plays late in the 2023 season, but his fantasy value is most likely to kick in for 2024. Landing in Round 3 indicates the league doesn't view him as a sure future starter. Going to the Lions means Hooker will have time to move past the ACL tear and develop behind Jared Goff. We're not excited about the dynasty outlook for Hooker, but he has a spot in superflex rookie drafts. Check out Hooker's spot in our dynasty QB rankings.

The Lions chose Iowa TE Sam LaPorta in Round 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft. That’s solid draft capital for an undersized TE. LaPorta measured 23rd percentile in height, 17th percentile in weight, and 16th percentile in arm length for the position at the Scouting Combine. But he makes up for that with top-shelf speed and athleticism for the position: 73rd percentile or higher in vertical, 40 time, 3-cone drill, broad jump, and short shuttle. LaPorta also moves like a WR on tape and dominated receiving work over the past three seasons in a poor Iowa offense. (Check out his full Dynasty Fantasy Football Value report.) Detroit entered the draft with poor TE depth, so LaPorta should factor into the offense early on. Jameson Williams’ suspension only helps boost LaPorta's early-season upside.

10:20pm EDT 4/27/23

The Lions spent the 18th overall pick of the NFL Draft on LB Jack Campbell. The former Iowa LB delivered strong tackle numbers across four seasons, including leading FBS in that category in 2021. He also defensed 15 passes over the past three years. Campbell closed his Hawkeyes career by earning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and the Butkus Award (nation's top LB) in 2022. He followed that with an 80th-percentile speed score and 9.98 relative athletic score (out of 10). That's the sixth best among 2,600 LB prospects since 1987. We'll see about Campbell's immediate fit in Detroit, which re-signed LB Alex Anzalone in free agency. But Campbell clearly fits squarely into the Lions' defensive plans going forward. He sat No. 2 in our IDP rookie rankings heading into the draft.

The Lions selected Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs with the 14th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The former Georgia Tech speedster took a chance on himself in 2022 by transferring to SEC powerhouse Alabama. The gamble paid off as Gibbs led the Crimson Tide with 44 receptions and ranked 4th on the team in receiving yards (444). Oh, and he’s an excellent runner as well. Some will question how much of a rushing workload he’ll be able to manage at the NFL level given his 5’9, 199-pound frame, but don’t count Gibbs out because of his size. He shows excellent vision at the 2nd and 3rd levels of the field, possesses plenty of speed (4.36-second 40-yard dash time), and has a keen sense of timing cuts against potential tacklers. This move makes it likely that the Lions will move on from D’Andre Swift. Gibbs would then enter a clear change-of-pace role behind David Montgomery while handling a healthy receiving role. Current projections have him for 56 receptions.

Lions WR Jameson Williams is one of five players to be suspended for violating the NFL's gambling policy. Williams, along with Lions WR Stanley Berryhill, have been suspended six games. Lions WR Quintez Cephus, Lions S C.J. Moore, and Commanders DE Shaka Toney are suspended indefinitely. We'll see if Williams appeals this ruling, but fantasy drafters should work under the assumption that he'll miss the first six games of the 2023 season. Williams, of course, appeared in just six games as a rookie last year after tearing an ACL in January of 2022. This suspension will make him tough to roster in standard redraft fantasy leagues and just a late-round option in best ball. Williams' absence leaves Amon-Ra St. Brown, Marvin Jones, Josh Reynolds, and Kalif Raymond as Detroit's top 4 WRs. Jones and Reynolds pick up a bit more fantasy appeal with this news.

Update: The Lions released WR Quintez Cephus and S C.J. Moore.

The Lions and RB David Montgomery reached an agreement on a three-year, $18 million contract (with $11 million guaranteed) late on Tuesday evening. The long-time Bear will be moving across the NFC North and running behind a Lions offensive line that ranked 7th in Football Outsiders' adjusted line yards in 2022. Montgomery is more than capable of shouldering a sizeable workload as well, as he's handled 200+ carries in each of his four professional seasons to date. A logical conclusion to draw from this signing is that free agent RB Jamaal Williams is unlikely to return to the Lions at this point. We'll keep an eye out for news regarding where he lands. Where this situation gets dicey is how it potentially affects RB D'Andre Swift, who posted a career-low in touches (147) in 2022 after battling through yet another season of nagging injuries. Couple this Montgomery contract with a subpar injury history, and we may be looking at a significant dynasty value loss for a former NFL second round pick in Swift. He's already starting to slip down our dynasty RB rankings.

The Vikings are signing EDGE Marcus Davenport to a one-year, $13 million deal, according to multiple reports. It's a good-sized "prove it" opportunity for the former first-round pick, who managed just a half-sack, 2 tackles for loss and 8 QB hits over 15 appearances with the Saints last season. Davenport topped out at 9 sacks (in 11 games) the year before but clearly disappointed across five years in New Orleans. Injuries played a big role. So we'll see whether he can hit 2023 healthy, stay there, and repay the Vikings for the opportunity. His arrival could signal the departure of EDGE Za'Darius Smith, who recently asked the team to let him pursue trade opportunities.

The Lions are bringing LB Alex Anzalone back on a three-year, $18.75 million deal, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. That's particularly noteworthy money for Anzalone, who played each of the past two seasons for Detroit on one-year pacts. He got just $1.75 million in 2021 and then $2.5 million last year. But Anzalone increased his playing time each season vs. what he got across four seasons in New Orleans. That included playing 95.1% of the snaps across 17 games last year. Anzalone also saw boosts in his Pro Football Focus grading across categories and cracked the top 30 LBs in fantasy points. Expect him to remain the Lions' best bet for full playing time at the position, heading into his age-29 season. There's still room for 2022 rookie Malcolm Rodriguez to grow his role, though, vs. where Rodriguez finished the season.

Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs measured in at 5’9, 199 pounds at the NFL Combine on Sunday. Though he’s slightly shorter than he was listed in college (5'11), the Crimson Tide product wowed in drills. Gibbs recorded the 2nd-fastest official 40-yard dash time (4.36) with a stellar 1.52-second 10-yard split. Sub-200-pound RBs may give fantasy managers some pause, but Gibbs’ speed and agility displayed in both running and pass-catching on Sunday shouldn’t impact his draft stock. We’re still looking at him as a top-2 back in this 2023 class.

Lions OC Ben Johnson is passing on HC opportunities elsewhere to stick with Detroit for 2023, according to multiple reports. Johnson elected to skip an in-person interview with the Panthers this week, after already talking with the franchise by teleconference. Johnson was viewed as the favorite for the Carolina job and has also interviewed with the Colts and Texans. He instead sticks with an offense that jumped from 25th in scoring and 22nd in yards in 2021 to 5th and 4th, respectively, this season. Detroit also leaped from 29th in Football Outsiders' offensive DVOA to 5th. Johnson's continued presence is undoubtedly good news for QB Jared Goff and other key Lions offensive pieces.

Dolphins QB Teddy Bridgewater (knee, right finger) is active for today's Wild Card game vs. the Bills. He'll back up QB Skylar Thompson. Bridgewater was only able to throw about 15 yards in practice this week, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Dolphins QB Teddy Bridgewater (knee, right finger) practiced in a limited fashion all week and is listed as questionable for Sunday's Wild Card game vs. the Bills. HC Mike McDaniel confirmed today that rookie QB Skylar Thompson will start and Bridgewater will serve as the backup. This was the expectation as of Wednesday, but now it's official. Though Thompson has been a respectable stand-in, he's far off the fantasy radar. The rookie has appeared in the majority of 3 games this season and has yet to surpass 200 yards passing with only 1 TD to his name. This also downgrades the value of any Dolphins' pass-catcher in this contest.

Dolphins QB Teddy Bridgewater (knee, right finger) practiced in a limited fashion again on Thursday. At this point, it's looking like rookie QB Skylar Thompson will be under center for Sunday's Wild Card game vs. the Bills. Dolphins OC Frank Smith did say on Thursday that Bridgewater is "working his butt off" in rehabilitating the dislocated pinky finger, per team reporter Joe Schad. We'll see if that effort is enough for him to supplant Thompson as the starter this weekend. Stay tuned for updates tomorrow.

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