Detroit Lions Team Profile 2016 by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles
Near the end of 2015, Detroit Lions owner Martha Ford addressed her team and consequently fired team president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew. With a 7-9 losing season, some would agree that HC Jim Caldwell should have gotten the boot as well. In the 2014 NFL Draft, Caldwell & Company selected TE Eric Ebron in the 1st Round- 10th overall, passing on WRs Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Cooks. and Kelvin Benjamin, ( not to mention a hand full of defensive pro-bowlers that could have helped a defense that dropped from #3 in 2014, to #16 in 2015.)
2016 Team Outlook –
1993. That is the last time the Detroit Lions won “their Division”. Dating back to 2002, when the NFC Central became the NFC North, Detroit has not won a “Division title “. Green Bay has dominated, winning the division 8 times since 2002. (Chicago 3 times and Minnesota 3 times.) The Vikings topped the division in 2015. The smart bet is on Green Bay in 2016.
2016 Fantasy Football Outlook-
QB– In 2009, Matthew Stafford started a streak of young quarterbacks being selected with the #1 pick overall in NFL Drafts. 2009-Stafford…2010- Sam Bradford…2011- Cam Newton and 2012- Andrew Luck. Stafford commanded a ton of money as the #1 overall in 2009, and although he’s had some highlights in his career ( Stafford is the 4th quarterback in NFL history to throw over 5,000 yards in a single season, and was the fastest player to reach 25,000 passing yards- 90 games), Lion’s fans are still waiting for some bling. As a Fantasy Football quarterback, Stafford is a solid #1/ #2 QB for owners, ranking in the top 10 every year except 2014 ( #15).
RBs– For fantasy football owners, RBBC is a four letter word! In 2015, Detroit had not one, not two, but three running backs all getting touches. Theo Riddick eneded 2015 as the #38 running back, Ameer Abdullah as the #41 and Joique Bell as the #50. When an NFL team has 3 running backs, fantasy owners have none. On Feb. 16, 2016 the Lions saved $2.5M by releasing RB Joique Bell. Fantasy football owners should not be relieved, Caldwell will now mix in RB Zach Zenner. UPDATE: Stevan Ridley signed a 1-year deal w/ DET
WRs– In 2012, Calvin “Megatron” Johnson set an NFL record with the “Most Receiving Yards in a Single Season: 1,964 yards.” Johnson was not 100% in 2014, playing in only 13 games that season, but played all 16 in 2015 and ranked as the #10 wide receiver (1214 receiving yards and 9 TD receptions.) Drafted in 2007, Calvin might “retire“, and it’s was great that perhaps the greatest, played all 9 seasons for one team….the Detroit Lions. WR Golden Tate has been a solid addition since joining the Lions in 2014, but Detroit desperately needs new offensive weapons in their receiving corps. UPDATE: Megatron announced his retirement. The Lions sign former Bengal WR Marvin Jones to a 5-year deal.
TEs– In 2009, the Lions used their 20th overall pick on TE Brandon Pettigrew. In 2014, the Lions used their 1st round-10th overall pick on TE Eric Ebron. ( if they would have selected WR Odell Beckham Jr. instead of TE Ebron, Calvin Johnson’s successor would already be on their roster.) In 2015, Ebron had 537 receiving yards and 5 TDs.
K– Matt Prater had a shaking first year with Detroit in 2014, going only 11 for 21, after replacing rookie Nate Freese. ( another poor NFL Draft selection by the Lions in 2014 ) In 2015, Prater’s accuracy was better, but he was not a good fantasy football option. Prater only had 24 field goal attempts, 10th fewest in the NFL.
DEF– Detroit’s defense was considered one the best in the NFL in 2014. They dropped to #16 in 2015. The “defensive” draft selections have been the few bright spots for Detroit, but Ndamukong Suh and his monster contract went to Miami, and Nick Fairley drafted by Detroit Lions-1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft is now a “Ram”. Acquired DT Halota Ngata is a free agent, as are strong safeties Isa Abdul-Quddus and James Ihedigbo.
2015 Detroit Fantasy Surprises– 3rd down back Theo Riddick’s 80 receptions led all NFL running backs, and his 697 receiving yards was only topped by San Diego’s RB Danny Woodhead (756). Riddick had 3 receiving touch downs. Rookie Ammer Abdullah ( drafted in Round 2 of the 2015 NFL Draft) finished with 597 yards and two touchdowns on 143 carries (4.17 YPC) with 24 catches and one more score through the air. Abdullah will be an intriguing 2016 fantasy football selection with the release of RB J Bell.
2016 Free Agents that Detroit Needs to Address– WR Lance Moore, DT Haloti Ngata, OLB Tahir Whitehead, DE Jason Jones, DT Tyrunn Walker, DE Darryl Tapp, SS Isa Abdul-Quddus, G/C Manuel Ramirez, SS James Ihedigbo, OLB Travis Lewis, DT Jermelle Cudjo, CB Josh Wilson
2016 NFL Draft– NFL team’s usually need new help for their offensive line, and Detroit is no exception. It should be their priority to get a new center and new tackles. The Lions need wide receivers. Detroit’s #16 defense could get worst in 2016 with free agents possibly leaving and CB Rashean Mathis’ retirement, so Detroit needs a cornerback opposite Darius Slay. Detroit’s 2015 NFL Draft- DETROIT’S 2015 DRAFT
Did You Know- In 1970, soul singer Marvin Gaye tried out for the Detroit Lions. Some Lions players sang backup on his hit song “What’s Going On?”
Team home page: www.detroitlions.com
All team reports can be seen here- TEAM REPORTS