Detroit Lions 2011 record: 10-6; 3nd in the NFC North
A look at six pertinent areas fantasy owners must consider before drafting from the Detroit roster:
The 2011 numbers were outstanding - 5,038 passing yards (3rd in the NFL), 41 touchdowns thrown, and a quarterback rating of 97.2. The best news of all - there is little standing in the way of him repeating those number in 2012.
Stafford is just 24 years old. Jahvid Best is 23. It seems like Calvin Johnson has been around forever but he is only 26 years of age. Then there are youngsters, Titus Young (22) and Ryan Broyles (an old man at 24). This team is loaded with young, elite stars on offense. They could be a perennial fantasy football force and should only get better.
Will Calvin Johnson be the Best in 2012?
Calvin Johnson's 1,681 receiving yards led the NFL in 2011. He tacked on 16 touchdowns. Remarkably durable and consistent, there is little reason to doubt he will challenge his peers again in the NFL as the best receiver in football. He is as close to a certain thing as there is in the NFL.
Can Best Stay Healthy?
It's the 800-pound gorilla entering camp. Recovering from a concussion that ended his 2011 season after Week 6, Jahvid Best left a marked hole in an otherwise superb offense for the Lions. The good news is he doesn't have to be outstanding, just healthy and effective to be of fantasy use though the luster of being a leading back this season will be unrealistic. Look for the team to ease him back and use extra caution as the season starts to maintain his health and future contributions.
A Friendly Schedule
Unless there are unforeseen surprises, the schedule looks relatively tame for the Lions. There are the divisional foes (Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, and Minnesota Vikings) but there are also the St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Indianapolis Colts, and Arizona Cardinals all of whom this offense should feast off of.
Good is the Word on Defense
The seven defensive touchdowns on defense in 2011 was awesome but that could be an anomaly for this Lions team. They have a good defensive line, a good secondary, and have displayed the ability to come up big on more than one occasion. They yielded 24.2 yards per game which is very ordinary but in today's NFL it's a deceiving number that should not be read into too much. This defense will not embarrass.
This team is pure excitement for fans and owners and only looks to get better. It would not be a shock if both Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson were the 2012 fantasy MVPs at their respective positions. Then there are the other weapons at wide receiver to consider - Young and Broyles. Young has 1,000 yard, 10 touchdown potential while Broyles could be a breakout star. By the way, don't forget this team also has Nate Burleson on the roster. Best looks ready to participate but risk averse owners may want to look elsewhere. The defense should again be acceptable for owners looking for a 'd' in the last round of drafts.
Sources: Yahoo! Sports
Robert Watkins is former investment professional and partner. A native New Yorker until 9/11, he considers Pa. his adoptive home. A passionate Giants fan, fantasy football fanatic, and Pennsylvania sports enthusiast, Robert is a frequent contributor to Yahoo! Sports and News.