The Detroit Lions were 3-4-1 when Matthew Stafford broke his back, costing him the rest of the season. They lost five of the eight games Kerryon Johnson played in. Rookie T.J. Hockenson had a massive week one and a dismal 2020 campaign. It looked like Head Coach Matt Patricia was on his way out, but nope. He, and the usual cast of characters for the Detroit Lions, return for 2020. What should we remember from their disjointed 2019 campaign as we figure out our fantasy football draft boards for the 2020 season?
What to Remember from the 2019 Denver Broncos Season
- Firstly, let’s dispel a myth that the stat sheet tells you about Kerryon Johnson playing in eight games this season. Do not let them fool you. Two of these games came when the Lions while playing out the string on a lost season, activated Johnson off of injured reserve. Johnson had 22 touches for 96 yards combined in this contest. Also, let’s throw out the game where Johnson left after 11 snaps due to injury. That leaves us five healthy games. In those games, Johnson finished as a top-16 running back three times. The other two he finished 26 and 35. All usable performances, depending on flex spots and league size. Here’s the Kerryon Rub, though. This is the second time in as many seasons that we must chop up his production due to injury. 2020 is make or break (pun intended) for Kerryon Johnson’s value.
- Next, since injuries derailed the Detroit Lions’ season, let’s jump from Kerryon Johnson to Matthew Stafford. Stafford broke his back in week nine and didn’t miss a single snap before that point. Also, and most importantly, let’s not forget Stafford’s accomplishments in that half-season sample size. Stafford threw for three or more touchdowns five times and threw for one or fewer just twice. He topped 260 passing yards in six contests and surpassed 340 passing yards in four games. Stafford turned in six top-six performances in his eight healthy games. He was a monster and missed his first games since he played just 3 games in 2010. And everyone’s forgotten about him. Snatch him up in drafts.
- The fantasy football community lost its collective minds over T.J. Hockenson and his week one performance. In the first game (against the Cardinals, little did we know), Hockenson tallied 131 receiving yards and a touchdown. The fantasy football community subsequently fired the FAAB cannons at Hockenson. In the remaining eleven games where Hockenson appeared, he averaged 21.5 yards and caught just one touchdown. Do not dwell on the feeling that Hockenson burned you or fret or your failed FAAB return on investment. Only six tight ends in NFL history have multiple 100+ yard, one-score games in their rookie year. Hockenson getting it out of the way week one doesn’t mean that it was a flash in the pan. It just means that he was a rookie tight end. Never forget… All Rookie Tight Ends Are Bad.
- Kenny Golladay finished the season with 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns. The 11 touchdowns led all wide receivers, but given his midseason change from Matthew Stafford to Jeff Driskel, then David Blough, I don’t expect any sort of regression next year. That is to say, Golladay earned those touchdowns. Golladay showed us the highness of his highs in his last four games with Stafford. He had 397 yards and three touchdowns in those four contests, a 1,588-yard pace. Unfortunately, in the eight games with Stafford, we also saw the lows: 42 yards, 17 yards, and 21 yards all within the first three weeks. Despite the double QB changeover, these were three of his four lowest yardage games on the season.
- Marvin Jones Jr. ended the season with 62 catches for 779 yards and nine touchdowns. A cursory glance at his game log will have you narrow in on his ten catch, 93 yards, four touchdown outlier performance. This might lead you to believe this game drove his stats. This is not the case. After that performance, MJJ played on a 73 catch, 896 yards, 9 touchdown performance for the remainder of his season (7 games). It’s not often that a clear outlier game doesn’t skew the overall numbers, but in this case, it does.
Check out the rest of the What to Remember series as it develops!
(Header Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Matthew_Stafford_2015.jpg under CC-SA BY 2.0)