Matthew Stafford has an absolute cannon for an arm. Calvin Johnson is the best combination of size (6’5″, 237 lbs) and athleticism in a receiver one could hope to find. The man who starts opposite Johnson, Golden Tate, is a phenomenal route-runner with tremendous ball skills to boot.
Fantasy owners who’ve come to count on this Detroit trio should do so no longer. Stafford was benched in Week 5, and Dan Orlovsky is hardly a Pro Bowl-caliber option under center.
Read on for some fantasy advice on Stafford, Johnson and Tate as the Lions look shockingly lost on offense.
What is Stafford’s story? For whatever reason, the former No. 1 overall draft pick comes back to the gridiron every year with the same mechanical issues, questionable decision-making and inconsistency that prevent him from being an elite quarterback.
ESPN’s Bomani Jones raised a fair point amid Stafford’s pick-laden outing:
Although Stafford has aired it out over 600 times in four consecutive prior seasons, he hasn’t been among the better fantasy options at his position since the start of that streak in 2011. Stafford is a QB2 at best—often with too many turnovers to justify starting at all.
Stay away from Stafford especially now. Being benched for Orlovsky is no small gesture. Orlovsky was last on the Lions in 2008, when they went 0-16.
The switch to Orlovsky is bad news for Johnson’s stock. Megatron’s skill set requires secondaries to roll coverage to his side of the field.
No matter what the Lions decide to do at QB moving forward, Johnson will either be working with an underachieving talent in Stafford or a historically unsuccessful signal-caller in Orlovsky. That situation, coupled with constant double coverage, limits Johnson’s fantasy upside.
Despite all those negatives, though, Johnson is the type of playmaker who can occasionally produce. Still deploy him on a weekly basis, but view him as more of a WR2 or flex option than a surefire No. 1.
Thanks to how much of an emphasis the Cardinals placed on stopping Johnson, a huge chunk of targets came for Tate.
A touchdown would have made Tate’s performance rather strong. Since he didn’t find the end zone, his fantasy point total when factoring in the amount of balls that were thrown at him is most underwhelming.
At best, Tate is a flex option at this point whom owners can’t count on. He’s yet to notch a TD in 2015 and only managed four scores last year on 99 receptions.
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