© Tim Fuller | 2015 Nov 22 | USA Today

2016 Detroit Lions Coaching Tree

Fantasy Football Expert Joe Jefferson dives into the Detroit Lions' offensive system and which players could provide value for Fantasy owners.

Detroit Lions

Offensive Coordinator: Jim Bob Cooter (DET QB) (New OC in 2016)

Head Coach: Jim Caldwell (Same as 2015)

Head Coach Involvement: Caldwell is most remembered for his Super Bowl appearance as Head Coach of the 2009-2010 Indianapolis Colts, where he coached with Cooter. I expect Caldwell, who is an offensive-minded coach, to be included in this offense plenty even if he leaves the play calling to his OC. The system he came from in Indianapolis originates from the Tom Moore coaching branch and is a more vertical passing attack.

Offensive Basis: Vertical Passing Attack with plenty of targets for two WRs but historically not a ton of targets for TEs. Heavy Lead RB Use and very Heavy RB Targets.

Where the OC comes from: The Lions promoted Cooter from QB Coach to offensive coordinator during the 2015 season, after former offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi was fired midseason, so we have a good idea of what to expect. I do expect a more up-tempo offensive style this season, which should be good for Fantasy purposes. Cooter worked with Caldwell in Indy and then KC and Denver before joining Detroit.

Lions 2015

2015 RB Reception Total Rank: #2

2015 WR Receptions Total Rank:  #9

2015 TE Receptions Total Rank: #28

2015 QB FF Rank: #8

2015 RB FF Rank: #7

2015 WR FF Rank: #13

2015 TE FF Rank: #22

Lions 2014

2014 RB Reception Total Rank: #3

2014 WR Receptions Total Rank: #9

2014 TE Receptions Total Rank: #29

2014 QB FF Rank: #18

2014 RB FF Rank: #6

2014 WR FF Rank: #9

2014 TE FF Rank: #30

2016 Offensive Player Outlook Overall: Matthew Stafford bounced back last season with his best performance since 2013. Although he loses Megatron, I expect an improvement in his third season under Caldwell, and I see Cooter as a plus with his potential addition of the no-huddle offense. Stafford also has some new and developing weapons that I like. I still don’t love Stafford too much, but he is just fine for Fantasy purposes as part of a committee approach at QB after most teams in your league have already drafted a QB.

Last year Golden Tate regressed a bit, but he should continue to be a reliable WR2 for Fantasy purposes. Calvin Johnson’s departure opens up a ton of targets in 2016 but Tate disappointed a little last year, and they add Marvin Jones, who looks like the No. 1. Tate should be a solid PPR option with an ADP in the early fourth round of most drafts, and I think that is fair value. They also add one of my all-time favorites in the aging, Anquan Boldin. Boldin is still Fantasy relevant and should help them move the chains this season so he could be a value in the early teen rounds of your draft. There is not enough room for a WR4 to have value without injury but they do have Jeremy Kerley, T.J. Jones and Andre Roberts so great depth at WR in 2016 here.

Sleeper/Value Players: Marvin Jones sticks out to me as undervalued in early drafts this year. He looks like the No. 1 to me because Tate is more naturally a No. 2 WR. At worst, he is the No. 2 WR and that position will produce starting WR stats this season in most Fantasy leagues. Sky’s the limit for Marvin so draft him with confidence in the fifth round of your draft.

The RBs here will catch plenty of passes and second year RB, Ameer Abdullah, has great upside. His ADP in the late seventh or early eighth round could be great value in your draft because he has elite playmaking ability. I like Theo Riddick too in PPR leagues, but they want Abdullah to be the man. I like Riddick’s value in the tenth round. Zach Zenner is a solid power runner but would not be Fantasy relevant without an injury.

They want the TE to be more heavily included because of their substantial investment and untapped talent in Eric Ebron. TEs usually take more time to develop than RBs or even WRs, so I’m willing to take a shot on him in the middle rounds of drafts as my backup TE with serious upside this year now that he is in his third season. Remember Brandon Pettigrew is still there but he should not limit Ebron’s upside.


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