Bombs, bombs and more bombs are what you can expect from the Detroit offense nowadays. Pass-happy on the grandest of scales, the Lions are the quintessential fantasy offense, and the players on it often find themselves destined to make a fantasy impact.
The Lions didn’t do much in terms of shifting focus to the ground and pound in free agency either. They opted to get even faster instead, snatching up versatile running back Reggie Bush, a guy who they’ll look to use in the slot and in open space more so than run between the tackles this fall.
Keep in mind, quarterback Matt Stafford is still emerging as one of the strongest-armed quarterbacks in the league, and oh, that really good receiver in Calvin Johnson is still on the team. While there’s still has some wrinkles to be ironed out, you can lock in the blue and sliver as one of the most fantasy friendly once again in 2013.
When I speak of wrinkles, perhaps one of the biggest comes in the form of Detroit’s No. 2 wide receiver spot. Last season, emerging wideout Titus Young was sent packing after the former Boise State star seemed set for his coming out party.
That was never more apparent than midway through the 2012 season, when Young emerged as fantasy relevant after he recorded his first 100 yard, multiple touchdown game, and he did it against a stingy Seattle defense no less. But his poor attitude eventually got the best of him.
A true head case, Young plagued the locker room with foolish acts during his two-year stint with the team. Acts included sucker punching teammate Louis Delmas during offseason training and tweeting unprofessional rants questioning the coaches offensive philosophy. Also known as ‘get me the damn ball or I am leaving!’
It all came to a head in Novemeber 2012, however, when young got in a verbal spat with receivers coach in November led to him being placed on injured reserve which led to his eventual release.
With Young squandering his opportunity, there’s another player primed to reap the fantasy rewards opposite double-team must Calvin Johnson. Currently, the top bidder for that spot is second-year man Ryan Broyles.
Broyles tasted a little bit of success last season after Young was placed on I.R. The 5’10, 180 lb slot man’s best performance came in an overtime loss to Houston on Thanksgiving, where the former Sooner caught six passes for 126 yards. It was the first game Young didn’t start for Detroit, and Broyles clearly seized the opportunity.
However, Broyles season was cut short soon after when he tore his ACL the following week against Indianapolis. He finished 2012 with 22 receptions for 310 yards and two touchdowns, all of which came in a six-game stretch.
While he may have splashed onto the scene, how Bryoles responds to a serious injury will be key in his fantasy value this season. ACL tears typically take nine months to recover from, so Broyles status for Week 1 remains questionable. However, the Lions are clearly confident in his abilities. This past offseason, they’re only major wide receiver addition was sixth-round draft pick Corey Fuller.
Injuries are also nothing new for Broyles. He suffered a similar ACL injury while at Oklahoma which downgraded his draft stock from most draftniks but yet he was still taken in the second round by Detroit.
It’s no surprise Detroit took the risk with him, really. Broyles has everything you want in a receiver minus size. He’s tough, runs great routes, possesses solid hands and has a knack for finding holes within the defense.
Lining up in the slot as part of an explosive offense like Detroit, he could easily benefit from all the attention given to Johnson and be somewhat of a Victor Cruz-type guy in the Motor City.
While his recovery from another ACL tear may limit his ability and keep him off the field for a portion of 2013, the coaching staff in Detroit believes in Broyles and will look to get him on the field as soon as they can. He’s worth keeping an eye on and should be taken in the ladder portion of your fantasy draft in deep leagues.