There’s absolutely nothing better than having quotes from “Night At the Museum” stuck in your head and then deciding it’s the title for your article. Though strange, I promise they correlate! The phrase specifically comes from a stone statue that was flexing his muscles and the offense of the Detroit Lions will be doing just that in 2018.
Welcome to the Gun Show
Lately, I’ve been enamored with this team’s receiving corps while plugging away at tape. They boast great separation, route running, contested catching and hand fighting to create said separation. The reason these guys will have all the chances they can to showcase this upcoming season is because of Mr. Matthew Stafford.
Matthew Stafford stands out as a QB because he’s been so great for where you can draft him at for most years. On top of that, he’s usually sitting in that 4200+ yards range which is part of what I want for him as a player and the people catching his passes. If there’s one thing fantasy has taught me, it’s that yardage is more predictable than TDs. Plus, it’s guaranteeing there’s at least two very draftable options on that team. Knowing that my receivers are going to have a chance at a lot of targets helps ease my decision making come game-day.
I decided to look at the tier of QB that hit 4,000 yards and from there, I looked at each of their four top targets. What I noticed with Stafford is that one of his top targets is gone. That target is my darling Eric Ebron. He had 86 targets and now those are just off in the wind for now….
With those targets open, I do believe we have room for one more wide receiver in the top 3 of this offense and the top 36 WRs overall and his name is Kenny Golladay.
We all know Golden Tate is a lock for a high end wide receiver 2 and Marvin Jones should be a mid to low wide receiver 2. With Ebron gone, Golladay’s targets should easily rise from mid 40s to 80s easily. He’s got great body control throughout his whole game and he is great when dealing with contested catches. A big bodied receiver primed to steal Jones’ TD’s for sure. This year will be a coming out party for Golladay and it will give us something we haven’t had recently, 3 wide receivers in the top 36 from the same team. He has the ability to turn each reception into almost 20 yards, similar to Marvin. With Stafford slinging the rock like he does, getting that yardage will be a piece of cake. This offense will turn to it’s newer shiny toy in the place of their 1st round draft capitol tight end and that is why I don’t think they will target the tight end as much.
Not On Target
With Ebron gone and the pressure for getting such a dynamic yet frustrating tight end the ball now absent, the position will see less targets. This is another reason why I don’t see Luke Wilson (although a good pass catcher) getting the full work Ebron was getting. It makes him more of a flyer/bye week filler.
The running game is something else I don’t like about this offense for fantasy purposes. For NFL purposes, I like it a lot. Many different backs in this backfield will make for a really diverse running back by committee. I tend to stay away from those initially until you find out who is going to get the heaviest split. That is why I don’t have this backfield ranked in the top 36 of running backs at all. I don’t believe, in its current iteration, that they will have much production from one person.
Abdullah had 165 carries and 35 targets. He has now been cast to the side to try and regain some relevance or be traded. Legarrette Blount comes in from an offense where he had 173 carries. That will definitely drop considerably, but how much? Don’t worry though, with Tion Green’s departure it opens up 42 carries which brings us to 207 carries and 35 targets primed for the taking.
With that much opened up, you’d think it would be great for Theo Riddick’s 84 carries and 71 targets. WRONG. The team drafted a running back I really like a lot in Kerryon Johnson who most see as an easy three down back and has the draft capitol that says he’s going to get significant work. So you can see where my dilemma comes from. It’s tough sledding for that backfield in terms of the rushing and receiving pie. If Abdullah gets the boot (or traded to Buffalo), I’ll open up to drafting one of them earlier. The bad part is, I’ve even read/heard rumblings that Abdullah may actually be a better pass catcher than Riddick, nerfing his value instead.
So, grab you some Stafford with a side of Jones, Tate or Golladay and wait on the backfield to straighten out. You won’t regret it I promise!