Fantasy football sleepers: Detroit Lions

      July 16, 2012 @ 18:06:58 PDT

When I look at the Detroit Lions' offense I see areas of fantasy football value much deeper than the obvious choices of Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. Two players that really stand out to me as being great fantasy values are Jahvid Best and Nate Burleson.

Jahvid Best, RB, Detroit Lions
Worth a PPR gamble

Best is considered a very risky selection because of his concussion history and Detroit's high-flying passing attack. I don't have any qualms with that mentality. It is a natural reaction considering what Best has dealt with. Fantasy owners are drafting him in the middle of the fifth round. His ultimate value is found in point-per-reception scoring setups, and he could add a strong complementary point-earner as a third back or a flex option most weeks. He won't be much of a touchdown threat if Mikel Leshoure lives up to expectations, which is fine as long as you recognize what you are getting in him.

One reason tight end Brandon Pettigrew caught 83 balls last year is because the Lions missed Best coming out of the backfield as a checkdown for Stafford. I fully expect the tight end's numbers to come down significantly if the Cal product can stay healthy.

Burleson caught 73 balls a year ago, but he will be 31 years old this year, and Titus Young emerged as a rookie. Most owners have Young pegged as a breakout candidate opposite Calvin Johnson, and while he may have a stronger year in 2012, Burleson is a forgotten man with an ADP of the 18th round. Much like Best, he is a PPR value pick. Burleson essentially grew up in Scott Linehan's offensive system and knows it as well as anyone. In the second half of the '11 season, he caught at least five passes in every game but one. You could do much worse than Burleson as a final-round flier to round out your PPR receiving corps.

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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