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2023 Fantasy Forecast: Detroit Lions

@DarthDbacks takes a roar at forecasting the Detroit Lions, what their 2023 season looks like for your dynasty roster, with projections

The Detroit Lions had a far better season last year than anyone expected. They became a top-ten offense and saw the continued breakout of Amon-Ra St. Brown. Jared Goff showed that he could still be a top quarterback in the NFL, and Ben Johnson catapulted his name into head coaching interviews after one season of being an offensive coordinator. Plus, to top it off, the Lions ensured the Packers would not make the playoffs and that the Aaron Rodgers era ended on a somber note. The expectations have been raised after a strong season and multiple key moves in the off-season. Let’s look at the player projections for the Detroit Lions for the 2023 season.

In terms of yards by the offense, the Detroit Lions were fourth in the NFL despite missing games from key players like Jameson Williams, TJ Hockenson, and DJ Chark. Jamaal Williams had a massive season with 17 touchdowns and left in free agency. Hockenson was traded. Jameson Williams returns for his sophomore season with high expectations once his gambling suspension ends. The defense had a lot of issues, but a whole litany of players were signed/drafted to cover those issues. The Detroit Lions signed David Montgomery and Marvin Jones Jr. to replace outgoing Jamaal Williams and DJ Chark. The offense has high expectations, and fans are ready to see the Lions continue to grow into an elite offense under Jared Goff, Ben Johnson, and ARSB.


Jared Goff

Jared Goff is under pressure to perform well this year. That’s because he needs a contract extension, and the Lions just drafted Hendon Hooker in the second round. Hooker is rehabbing from a torn ACL and will red-shirt his rookie year to learn how to play the quarterback position in the NFL. Goff, meanwhile, nearly led the Lions to the playoffs. This year, he will lead them there and finish the season as a top-12 quarterback in fantasy. Ben Johnson knows exactly how to use Goff. Plus, with Gibbs there now, Goff has the best pass-catching back he’s worked with since Gurley. And we all know how he did throwing the ball to Gurley.

That’s why you can safely pencil Jared Goff in for 30 touchdowns, seven interceptions, 61 rushing yards, and 4,413 passing yards while completing 67% of his passes. That’s an average of 19.8 ppg. The Lions offense is set up for a big year, and Jared Goff is the man for the job. Plus, it’s always good to bet on your dynasty player performing really well when they want a contract extension. That tends to lead to a potential career season. Buy Goff in Superflex leagues for a late first and watch him be one of the best QB2s in dynasty.

Running Backs

Jahmyr Gibbs

Gibbs was taken 12th overall by the Lions in the First Round of the NFL Draft a few months ago. That speaks to just how highly valued he is by the Lions. The Detroit Lions are planning to use him and use him a ton. They traded Swift to clear room for Gibbs. Gibbs has the potential to be the next Jamaal Charles. He’s that elite.

David Montgomery

The Detroit Lions upgraded to their “thunder” running back position by upgrading from Jamaal Williams to David Montgomery. It was surprising, but they stole a good running back from their rival Bears while adding even more talent to this burgeoning offense. Montgomery is a solid rusher, especially between the tackles, but he can also do work in the passing game. With Gibbs being a solid pass-catcher, expect Montgomery to mainly focus on rushing the ball with minimal passing work. Also, expect to see him used near the goal line often, as he has the strength and size to pierce the defensive line. That’s where he will get the majority of his fantasy points.

David is going to be a strong RB2 for your dynasty contender. He will win you some weeks but should be a consistent source of points for your team, especially if you have the depth to put him in your flex. While Dmont has missed some time in recent years, he isn’t injury prone. He will play a whole season. With his role in mind, I project David Montgomery to see 249 rushes for 1,090 yards, a 4.38 ypc, 12 touchdowns, and 24 catches on 29 targets for 192 yards and another touchdown. Combine that with a 2-point conversion and a couple of fumbles, and you get a good 14.3 ppg. I’ll take that all day at my flex. If you can get him for a couple of second-rounders, I definitely would. He is a solid dynasty asset for the next couple of years.

Wide Receivers

Amon-Ra St. Brown

Boy, the Detroit Lions struck gold drafting ARSB in the fourth round of the NFL Draft a couple of years ago. He’s done nothing but outperform expectations. With even more talent around him, I expect a career year from Brown. Teams won’t be able to double Amon-Ra as they will be forced to focus on defending Gibbs, Jamo, LaPorta, and Montgomery. Amon-Ra is an elite route runner capable of rushing the ball or doing anything you want in the receiving game. Goff needs to get him the ball which he can easily do behind the Lions strong offensive line.

Amon-Ra is a dynasty WR1 and a guy you want on your team for contending teams. He’s even one you can build around. I’d happily pay 2+ firsts to get his talent on my dynasty squad. As for what you can expect this season? I have ARSB down for 13 rushes for 117 yards, a touchdown, and a two-point conversion. In the passing game, he’ll see 152 targets and catch 111 for 1,239 yards and eight touchdowns. That’s good enough for a career year and 18.9 ppg.

Jameson Williams

Regardless of whether the rule is dumb, Jameson Williams broke the rules of the NFL contract he agreed to and will miss the first six games of the season. That’s good news if you want to buy him, as he won’t cost nearly as much as he will after he breaks out in the second half of the season. I’m all in on the Jamo hype. He’s a year+ removed from the ACL tear and second year learning the Lions’ offense.

Williams is the perfect deep threat and creative route runner that the team can feature opposite ARSB and Gibbs. That’s why I’m predicting Jamo has 47 catches on 83 targets for 789 yards and four touchdowns. That’s 13.5 ppg over an 11-game stretch. This is an average of 7.5 targets per game which is easy to see if the Lions and Ben Johnson use him creatively, which I imagine they will. I’d buy him for a late first all day. Even a Late first and second.

The Backups

The Lions have a wide assortment of wide receivers that will attempt to be the WR3 for the Lions over the course of the season and the WR2 during the six games Jameson Williams is suspended for. The primary name to know is Marvin Jones Jr. The former long-time Lion is back and will look to continue his long career mentoring Jamo and ARSB. The other names are long-time backups, Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond. These guys are all waiver wire names or very bottom-of-the-bench roster spots. You don’t have to worry about them at all.

Tight End

Sam LaPorta

LaPorta reminds me so much of George Kittle, but I’m not buying into the fact that Sam is about to have a great rookie year. It will be better than many dynasty rookie tight ends, but it won’t be a top-12 finish for him. It will, however, make you want him on your team, so you need to try to grab him for an early second while you can. This is especially true if you’re in tight-end premium leagues. LaPorta will see the vast majority of the work and make Detroit Lions fans forget all about TJ Hockenson. I project Sam to have 47 receptions on 61 targets for 510 yards and three touchdowns. That’s good enough for a 6.8 ppg. The Detroit Lions have their new long-term tight end, and it’s only a matter of time until he’s a dynasty TE1.

Do you want to become the best dynasty player you can be? Be sure to use my promo code “Darth” for 15% OFF your subscription to Dynasty Nerds! It makes it only three dollars or so! Connect with me on Twitter @DarthDbacks. I love to talk football, baseball, movies, shows, Star Wars, and Marvel, and interact with the fantasy football community. For more articles of mine, click here.

As always, May the Force be with You…

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