The Lions selected Iowa TE T.J. Hockensen with the 8th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. After playing 2nd fiddle to Noah Fant in 2017, Hockensen emerged as Iowa’s top dog this past season. He led the Hawkeyes with 760 receiving yards, finishing 2nd to WR Nick Easley with 49 catches and 2nd to Fant with 6 TDs. A seam-stretching threat, Hockensen averaged 15.5 yards per catch and ranked 4th in this TE class in yards per route run, according to Pro Football Focus. He made a ton of catches in traffic and dropped just 1 pass all season. Hockensen boosted his stock by registering an 85th percentile SPARQ score at the Combine. He’s also a plus blocker and projects as an every-down TE for Detroit. Hockensen should at least be a spot-start fantasy option as a rookie and brings difference-making long-term upside.
Lions HC Matt Patricia suggested that his team will continue to deploy a committee backfield in 2019, not wanting to overwork RB Kerryon Johnson. "I think it’s a position-specific thing where those guys, they take a lot of hits,” Patricia said. “They’re in those situations a lot where their bodies are taking some pounding so you want to be conscious of how many plays they’re getting, especially early on in the year." Patricia comes from New England, where the Patriots have long utilized multiple RBs. The Lions return RBs Theo Riddick and Zach Zenner behind Johnson and might still add to the position in free agency or the draft. There are, of course, very few every-down backs in the NFL. So Johnson still has a shot to flirt with RB1 value in his sophomore campaign under run-loving OC Darrell Bevell.
The Packers have reached a new 1-year deal with exclusive-rights free agent WR Geronimo Allison. The contract will reportedly pay him more than the ERFA tender, but it's interesting to see the team not commit to the 25-year-old beyond that. Green Bay, of course, added WRs Marquez Valdes-Scantling, J'Mon Moore and Equanimeous St. Brown in last year's draft. We'll see where Allison settles on this year's depth chart after losing 11 games to multiple injuries in 2018.
Former Steelers TE Jesse James has reached a deal with the Lions, according to multiple reports. The contract figures to easily position James as the lead TE in Detroit and likely give him a shot at career highs in targets and receptions. James topped out at 63 looks and 43 catches with Pittsburgh in 2017. We remain unexcited about his fantasy football outlook.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that former Patriots DE Trey Flowers will be signing with the Lions when free agency opens Wednesday. Flowers tallied 7, 6.5 and 7.5 sacks over the past 3 seasons but carries further upside in the form of hidden pressures. Pro Football Focus graded Flowers 8th among all 4-3 DEs and counted the 11th most pressures for the position in 2018. Flowers rated in a similar range each of the previous 2 seasons as well. In Detroit, he'll rejoin former New England DC Matt Patricia (now the Lions HC). Expect to find Flowers in DL2 territory in our 2019 IDP projections.
The Lions signed WR Danny Amendola to a 1-year, $4.5 million deal. The 33-year-old has caught 120 balls over the past 2 seasons -- 1 with New England, 1 with Miami -- but totaled just 1,234 yards and 3 TDs. He figures to step in as Detroit's slot receiver behind Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones. With run-loving OC Darrell Bevell now calling the shots, it's tough to imagine Amendola seeing enough targets to be a 2019 fantasy factor.
The Dolphins have released WR Danny Amendola. The 33-year-old caught 59 balls for 575 yards and 1 TD in his lone season in Miami. Amendola is still a reliable depth guy, but his days as a fantasy asset are over. With WR DeVante Parker also expected to be let go, the Fins are down to Kenny Stills, Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant atop the depth chart. We'll see what they add over the next few months.
The Browns announced Wednesday that they've released LB Jamie Collins. The move provides $9.25 million in cap space ahead of free agency. Collins arrived via trade midway through the 2016 season and then signed a 4-year extension the following January. He made it through just 2 years of that contract. Collins rebounded from losing 10 games to injury in 2017 and played every contest last season. He finished in high-LB3 territory for fantasy purposes. Collins should garner at least 1 more starting opportunity. He'll turn 30 in mid-October.
The Lions have named Darrell Bevell their OC. The run-heavy play-caller fits exactly what HC Matt Patricia wants his offense to do. Bevell has spent 12 seasons as an NFL OC -- 5 in Minnesota, 7 in Seattle -- and had 7 teams finish top 10 in rushing attempts and 7 finish top 10 in rushing yards. Only 3 of Bevell's units ranked inside the top half of the league in passing attempts or yards. His arrival is good news for Kerryon Johnson and troublesome for Matt Stafford, Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones.
The Lions and OC Jim Bob Cooter have agreed to "mutually" part ways, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. A favorite of the Draft Sharks podcast, Cooter's tenure in Detroit got off to a nice start. But he was at the controls of 1 of the most disappointing offenses in the league in 2018, with the Lions finishing 24th in total yards and 25 in points. With a nice core in Matt Stafford, Kerryon Johnson, Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones, this unit is capable of a big bounce back in 2019.
Lions DT Damon Harrison (ankle) and DB Quandre Diggs (back) are active for today's game against the Packers. They're OK for normal IDP usage.
Lions WR Kenny Golladay (chest) is inactive for today’s game against the Packers. It’s a surprise after he’s played through this injury for the past couple of weeks. His absence leaves Andy Jones and T.J. Jones as Detroit’s top WRs.
Lions DT Damon Harrison (ankle) and DB Quandre Diggs (back) are questionable for Sunday's game against the Packers. Both began the week sidelined before returning for limited workouts the final 2 days. Harrison played through a "questionable" tag for the issue last week despite putting in 1 fewer practice. We'd bet on him playing again but will confirm his status Sunday morning. Diggs is just a low-level IDP option. Play him at your own risk.
Lions WR Kenny Golladay (chest) is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Packers. He’s been playing through this injury for a couple of weeks and should be fine for the season finale.
Jets DB Darryl Roberts is active for today's game against the Packers. He arrived questionable and is only a bottom-shelf IDP candidate.
Lions DT Damon Harrison (ankle) is active for today's game against the Vikings. He has been dealing with the issue for multiple weeks and should be OK for normal IDP usage.
Lions WR Kenny Golladay (chest) is active for today’s game against the Vikings. We’re not expecting the chest injury to be a problem, so use Golladay as you normally would.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport confirms that Lions WR Kenny Golladay (chest) is expected to play against the Vikings today. He was limited in practice all week, but we never heard any concern about his status. Even in a tough matchup against CB Xavier Rhodes and Co, Golladay remains in the WR2 mix.
Lions DT Damon Harrison is questionable for Sunday's game against the Vikings with an ankle injury. Harrison missed practice Wednesday and Thursday before returning for a limited Friday workout. We'll check his status Sunday morning.
Lions WR Kenny Golladay (chest) was limited in practice all week and is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Vikings. We’ve heard nothing to suggest that he’s in danger of missing this one but will get his official status by noon ET on Sunday.
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