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2024 Player Outlooks: Detroit Lions

By Colby Cavaliere | 6/10/24 |

QB Jared Goff
(2024 QB Rank - No.7, 21.3 FPts/G)

Financial debates aside, Goff’s recent extension means he will remain the captain of the Detroit Lions for the foreseeable future. Even if his stats or play on the field don’t pop off the page, his command of the offense, cool demeanor, and SoCal smile has endeared him to the blue-collar blood of Detroit. In leading the Lions to an absolutely magical playoff run last year, Goff had one of the best statistical seasons of his career. Feeding off a creative play-action based scheme, and balanced attack, Goff finished 2nd in the NFL in completions and yardage.

By some miracle, offensive coordinator Ben Johnson returns, as do a large percentage of the starting offense. Continuity is a huge advantage in the NFL, as the offense can evolve, especially as young keystone players like Jameson Williams, Jahmyr Gibbs, and Sam LaPorta continue to develop. With a top-5 offensive line and a versatile set of skill position players, there is no reason Goff can’t continue to hover around the top-10 as he’s done now in two consecutive years. A tougher schedule, a shallow receiver depth chart, and zero rushing upside will leave little room for Goff to grow his fantasy numbers, but he remains an ideal target for owners who wait to draft their starter, or as an insurance back-up to pair with a risky upside starter (Richardson, a rookie).

RB Jahmyr Gibbs
(2023 RB Rank - No.11, 12.8 FPts/G)

If lightning could run, it would wear a Hawaiian blue #26 jersey. Detroit certainly raised some eyebrows when they made Gibbs the 12th overall pick in the 2023 draft, but instead eyeballs popped, as the rookie rolled up 11 touchdowns and 1,261 total yards on just 234 touches. Despite splitting the backfield with David Montgomery and not scoring his first NFL touchdown until Week 7, Gibbs often looked like played with his speed setting turned up, as he finished as a strong RB1 in both standard and PPR leagues. OC Ben Johnson deployed him all over the offense, using him on sweeps, screens, inside gaps, and wheel routes. His 52 receptions were good for 9th among backs, and this is the area I expect the most growth. Montgomery’s usage at the goal line likely limits his touchdown upside, but the offensive coaches have already gone on record about their desire to make Gibbs a bigger part of the passing game. Look for the Lions to deploy their backs in a similar rotation this season, but if Gibbs can carve out an additional 20-25 touches, he’s got a chance to crack the top-5.

RB David Montgomery
(2023 RB Rank - No.12, 13.7 FPts/G)

If Montgomery and Gibbs were one player they would have put up one of the best fantasy seasons of all time as they combined for over 2,400 total yards and 24 touchdowns. While Gibbs was the chef's knife slicing and dicing from all angles, Montgomery was the meat tenderizer, churning out the tough yards, plowing into the endzone, and setting up the play-action. Montgomery was a free agent hit, as he teamed with Gibbs to give Detroit a reliable, productive veteran who could salt games away in the 4th quarter, or help grind up opposing defenses. His 13 touchdowns were easily a career high, and thanks to an elite offensive line, his 4.6 yards-per-carry was also a career best. With the offensive coaching staff intact, and no physical red flags, look for more of the same for Montgomery. With Gibbs getting most of the hype, Montgomery figures to be a solid, overlooked RB2 in all formats.

Amon-Ra St. Brown

WR Amon-Ra St. Brown
(2023 WR Rank - No.3, 13.4 FPts/G)

With a monster extension this offseason, St. Brown has officially transitioned from cute underdog story into bonafide superstar. His 2023 line of 119-1515-10 shattered his previous career highs as he led Detroit on a deep playoff run. The heartbeat of this team, “Sun God” not only produced elite numbers in every measurable metric, but also outside the box score. His toughness, work ethic, and leadership exemplify what this Lion team wants to be about. He has been able to dominate the short and intermediate areas with a lethal combination of quickness and route running. His average depth of target (7.8) was lowest among the top 20 targeted receivers, but made up for the lack of downfield plays by being 2nd in the NFL in yards after the catch (668). With 21 career receiving touchdowns, St. Brown has a nose for the endzone, and as the continued alpha in this creative, versatile offense, there is no reason to think he can’t continue to produce as a slam dunk WR1 in all formats.

WR Jameson Williams
(2023 WR Rank - No.76, 4.7 FPts/G)

With just 25 career receptions, the former 1st rounder hasn’t exactly been much of a fantasy asset thus far, but that is poised to change in 2024. Not eligible to play until Week 5 last season because of a gambling suspension, Williams was scarcely deployed from then on. Not only did he join a team on a roll, but there were rumblings that Williams wasn’t mentally prepared to contribute more than a handful of specially designed plays. Those plays were typically simple bombs (unlike St. Brown his ADOT was 15.8) or runs. When he did touch the ball, it quickly became obvious why he was the 12th overall selection, as his straight-line speed is absolutely lethal. He popped off the screen with two long touchdowns on just three touches in the NFC title game, and has set the stage for a career year.

After heavy criticism from the coaching staff early in his career, he’s had glowing reviews about his work ethic and dedication this off-season. Another year in the offense should open up more opportunities, and with little on the receiver depth chart behind him, Williams should easily surpass the 24 receptions from a year ago. The issue remains that his main role is one of vertical threat, as St. Brown, LaPorta, and Gibbs will soak up all of the short to intermediate routes. Barring a seismic shift in deployment, Williams will likely slot in as a boom/bust WR3 for fantasy purposes.

TE Sam LaPorta
(2023 TE Rank - No.1, 8.8 FPts/G)

There are solid rookie seasons, and then there are the historic ones former Hawkeye Sam LaPorta put up last season. He wasn’t only good for a rookie, he was the No.1 scoring fantasy tight end in any format imaginable. His 86-889-10 line on 120 targets put him in rarefied air in NFL history. LaPorta was thrust into an early season role as a receiver with the suspension to Jameson Williams, and continued to be the dance partner to St. Brown as the season continued. Not only did he also provide elite blocking, but was able to pile up 21 receptions, 178 yards and a score in the playoffs with a comically large brace on an injured knee. His historic start has already made him one of the best at his position, and with continuity in scheme and personnel, there is every reason to make LaPorta one of the first tight ends off the board.

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