NFL free agency started on March 18th, but technically does not end until the end of the season. However, after a firehose of news the first week, and another run the second week, things quiet down to a trickle. There are still big names out there, but it’s going to take some time to get them signed, sealed and delivered.
With that in mind, it’s time to take a look at where teams stand after the early rush of free agency and what it means for fantasy football. We’re going to take a look at the skill positions, breaking down what the starting lineup and reserves will look like to assess fantasy value heading into August drafts.
Today, we’re taking a look at the Detroit Lions. The Lions made moves to improve their poor secondary by signing Desmond Trufant and trading for Duron Harmon this offseason. Darius Slay was sent to the Philadelphia Eagles in a trade, but the Lions are expected to get the top cornerback in the 2020 NFL Draft with its top pick. Detroit also added linebacker Jamie Collins while adding Halapoulivaati Vaitai to the offensive line.
Starter: Matthew Stafford
Backups: David Blough, Chase Daniel
Stafford has been a regular top 10 fantasy quarterback for most of his career, but has now missed that mark in two straight seasons. While he was perfectly healthy in 2018, he missed half of 2019 because of a back injury.
Stafford will have Kenny Golladay, who led the NFL in receiving touchdowns (11) last season at his disposal in 2020. While the the rest of his receiving corps might not look the best on paper, Stafford is consistently finishes toward the top in terms of passing yards. He’ll have some ridiculous single-game stat lines that will serve you well in DFS play and should be a top 15 fantasy signal caller in 2020.
Starter: Kerryon Johnson
Backups: Bo Scarbrough, Ty Johnson, Wes Hills
Johnson was just inside the top 50 among running backs in standard leagues last season and only played in eight games because of a knee injury. He tallied 403 rushing yards, 110 receiving yards, and four total touchdowns in year two.
If he gets close to doubling the 113 carries he logged in 2019 as Detroit’s feature back next year, he’ll make a significant jump. Receptions will come with that as well, so look for Johnson to reach at least the top 30 in 2020. He’s poised to have a breakout year.
Starters: Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola
Backups: Geronimo Allison, Marvin Hall, Chris Lacy
Golladay had the best year of his career without Stafford, so imagine what he could do with the starter under center for the entire season. He was the third best wideout in standard leagues and eight best on DraftKings in 2019 and should be one of the top candidates to be top 10 in both formats in 2020. Golladay passed 100 yards receiving in four of the eight games he played with Stafford in 2019.
Jones also had a strong year last season and finished with 779 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. He cracked the top 30 in standard leagues by a couple spots, and nothing suggests that he should move up or back by much in 2020.
Starter: T.J. Hockenson
Backups: Jesse James, Isaac Nauta, Paul Butler
Hockenson was the first tight end off the board in the 2019 NFL Draft and had a decent rookie year. He was TE32 in standard leagues with 32 receptions for 367 yards and two scores through 12 games. Stafford should help him unlock more of his potential with a healthy season in 2020. He has a shot at moving to the top 20 with a gunslinger like Stafford taking snaps.