The Detroit Lions only won three games last year, but the team did show signs of life for fantasy football purposes. Matthew Stafford was one of the bigger fantasy surprises over the first half of the season before getting injured. He’ll be back under center and has an impressive collection of young surrounding talent at the skill positions. Let’s take a look at our initial 2020 fantasy football projections for the Lions.
Largely written off by the fantasy playing public heading into last year, Stafford was in the midst of a renaissance before injury landed him on the shelf in Week 10. Over those first nine weeks of the season, Stafford ranked an impressive sixth among quarterbacks in scoring, with only Russell Wilson tossing more touchdowns over that span. While our numbers don’t have Stafford inside the top 12, his positioning as QB14 only furthers the case for Stafford as a late-round target in 2020 fantasy football drafts.
With Stafford projecting out favorably, it’s no surprise that Kenny Golladay also pops in our initial numbers. Golladay’s projection matches where we have him in our 2020 fantasy football rankings. With a current ADP of No. 25 overall, expect Golladay to be off the board by no later than the early-third round in this year’s drafts. Golladay’s projection also makes it clear that he has put some distance between himself and Marvin Jones. That being said, Jones has appeal as a boom/bust WR3 option, especially given his touchdown upside.
Rookie tight ends rarely produce consistent high-end numbers, but T.J. Hockenson did show us that he’s capable of doing some special things on the football field. Our numbers like him to take a step forward in Year 2 and have him positioned as a back-end TE1. There’s still plenty of risk with Hockenson, but his high ceiling makes him an appealing player to target if you’re going with a late-round approach at the position.
The Lions backfield is a bit tricky. There’s still optimism surrounding Kerryon Johnson, but we’re nowhere near last year’s hype. Still, we do expect him to see the lion’s share of the work with 247 projected touches. That’s enough to position him in the RB2 conversation, but not enough to warrant top-15 consideration. We’re slightly less optimistic on Johnson in our rankings, with him coming in at 25 among running backs.
[Find the full collection of analysis and insights on PFF's 2020 fantasy football projections for all 32 NFL teams. Check back as more articles will be added each day.]