It’s almost that time of the year, folks.
We’re a stone’s throw away from June and before you know it, you’ll once again be the armchair GM of a football team you have to assemble in a Buffalo Wild Wings because your commissioner is an uninspired chud who has a taste for microwaved chicken nuggets drenched in his or her’s favorite “sauce.”
Okay, but fantasy football is a lot more fun than the picture I’m painting once you get out of the minutiae. Take, for instance, the preseason rankings: your first chance to sink your teeth into how you want to approach your draft, which is like, 90 percent of the fun in fantasy sports. NBC Rotoworld’s Evan Silva released his fantasy rankings of the top 150 players available in 2018 just yesterday, and among those included, the Detroit Lions had six players make the list.
Lions players who made the Top 150
36. Marvin Jones (WR13) – Solidified as Matthew Stafford’s No. 1 WR. Led NFL in yards/reception.
Marvin Jones’ rather slow start to the 2017 season was a cause for concern when it came to his fantasy value—especially after his hot and cold 2016 season—but with the way his season took off after Week 6, Jones became a fixture of all fantasy lineups thereafter. This offense has a ton of options, but when it gets vertical, Jones seems to be Stafford’s favorite and most reliable target.
49. Golden Tate (WR21) – High-floor WR2 pick has 90+ receptions in 4-of-4 seasons with Lions.
Entering a contract year, Tate is looking to capture his share of the bag that so many other receivers did this past offseason. In 11 of the 16 games he played in 2017, Tate saw at least seven targets, and will continue to be an asset to the Lions offense in 2018. Silva’s rankings are intended for 0.5 points-per-reception leagues, but if you’re in a league that values a point per reception, Tate’s value only increases with the amount of volume he receives in the passing game.
94. Kerryon Johnson (RB40) – Presence of LeGarrette Blount, Theo Riddick threaten rookie’s ceiling.
The Lions rookie running back is the highest ranked among his backfield counterparts in Detroit, but is only the 40th best option available according to Silva. Hard to argue with this ranking considering the committee approach the Lions will likely take, and the way their running game has struggled for almost two decades.
102. Matthew Stafford (QB8) – Safe late-round QB has been top-10 fantasy passer in 4 of last 5 yrs.
Of the seven quarterbacks ranked ahead of Stafford, the only head-scratcher is Deshaun Watson at No. 6 on Silva’s list. Sure, he put together some spectacular play in six starts, but after his second ACL tear since 2014, it seems like a bit of a risk to value his ceiling over Stafford’s floor.
123. Theo Riddick (RB46) – Passing-game playmaker has 50+ receptions in three straight seasons.
The only other Lions running back to make the list, Riddick’s fantasy value is almost entirely predicated on his ability as a receiver, which should be most interesting in 2018 as the team will have to figure out how to best use him without tipping their hand on offense.
144. Kenny Golladay (WR56) – Big-play threat is Lions No. 4 pass option behind Jones/Tate/Riddick.
Without Eric Ebron, the Lions passing game has roughly 80-85 targets to distribute in their offense this season, and Golladay figures to be on the receiving end of a good chunk of those opportunities—even after the addition of tight end Luke Willson, who has never seen more than 40 targets in a season.
Silva’s rankings seem like a fair shake for Lions players this fantasy season, but there’s an awful lot of uncertainty when it comes to how much Detroit will lean on the run game after investing so much of their offseason making its improvement their biggest point of emphasis.
Were any of the players Silva included too high or too low according to you? Did the inclusion of Mitchell Trubisky ahead of Dak Prescott make your eyes roll into the back of your head? Davante Adams as WR7 over A.J. Green earn a groan from you? Sound off in the comments!