Detroit Lions wide receiver Roy Williams (knee) is expected to miss the rest of the regular season after sustaining a sprained posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the team's Week 13 game. Head coach Rod Marinelli said Monday, Dec. 3, that Williams will miss several weeks with the injury.
The news could not come at worse time for the Lions (6-6), who are currently battling for their playoff lives after losing their last four games. They will now be without their top offensive playmaker. Williams leads the team in receptions (63) and yards (836); he has also added five touchdowns this season. He has posted an impressive 13.3 yards-per-reception average. He accounted for 9.17 targets per game (12.81 percent of the offense), including nearly one per game in the red zone, this season.
On the bright side, though Williams' loss will likely be significant, the Lions do possess enough depth at the wideout position where the team should be able to remain a threat offensively. Williams' injury should result in increased looks and production for receivers Shaun McDonald, Calvin Johnson and Mike Furrey.
McDonald has been a revelation of sorts for the team this season, ranking second behind Williams in both receptions (59) and yards (704). He has also chipped in with four touchdowns on the year. McDonald is coming off a six-catch, 54-yard performance in a blowout loss to the Minnesota Vikings last week. He could emerge now as the team's No. 1 receiver and, as a result, see more passes thrown in his direction. McDonald is must pickup for fantasy owners, particularly in point-per-reception leagues, if he is still available.
Johnson has been a forgotten man in the Lions offense at times this season. He has battled inconsistency, particularly with dropped passes, and injuries. However, he does have 32 receptions for 502 yards and four receiving (five total) touchdowns this season; his 15.7 yards-per-reception average ranks atop the team list among receivers with at least 30 receptions. As a first-year player, it is hard to imagine, or expect, Johnson to suddenly become the go-to guy. However, he should still see more targets, particularly in the red zone, as he can create mismatches with his height and leaping ability. In the past four weeks, Johnson has seen three looks in the red zone (17.55 percent).
Lastly, there is Furrey. Although he is not having a season reminiscent of 2006, when he was a fantasy revelation, he has still put up respectable numbers this season as a No. 2, No. 3 or No. 4 wideout for Detroit. Furrey has 46 catches for 522 yards and one touchdown. He is coming off one of his better performances in recent weeks, versus the Vikings, in which he caught seven balls for 57 yards. Owners should expect to see Furrey's numbers increase the rest of the season, as he should become a more targeted weapon in the passing game. He was already seeing 5.58 targets per game (8.31 percent). He warrants strong consideration, particularly in point-per-reception formats.
Owners must keep in mind that Williams' loss should hurt. The Lions are known as a pass-first team. Although they have attempted to emphasize the run in recent weeks, they have still shown that they will abandon the run when it's not successful. Running back Kevin Jones received only four carries in Week 10 and three carries in Week 13. There should be more opportunities for the team's other receivers.
For other possible replacements, check out KFFL's latest Free Agents to Target, and look for a Fantasy Impact Analysis on this situation soon!
About Kostas Bolos
Bolos has been a KFFL Hot Off the Wire Analyst and contributor since 2006.
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