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Buy, Sell, or Keep: Detroit Lions Offense

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Matthew Stafford just won Super Bowl LVI, just not in Detroit. What are the Buy/Sell/Keep options from Stafford’s old offense?


In my latest article in the Buy, Sell, or Keep series, I profile the Detroit Lions’ offense.

BUY

T.J. Hockenson, TE

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Drafted in the first round of the 2019 NFL draft, Hockenson has played the entire season just once in his three-year career. He missed five games last year and four games his rookie year. In that rookie year, Hockenson played 12 games and had 32 receptions off of 59 targets for 367 yards and 2 TDs.

He played all 16 games in 2020 and had 67 receptions off of 101 targets for 723 yards and 6 TDs. In 2021, Hockenson suffered another injury. He was on pace to set new career highs with 61 receptions off of 83 targets for 583 yards and 4 TDs. Hockenson did this in just 12 games and was placed on injured reserve after Week 14 of the NFL season.

He is a target for buying because his value is down in some fantasy football leagues. Hockinson had three or fewer targets in four of his 12 games. He had nine or more targets in five of his 12 games. Hockinson was wildly inconsistent and then missed the final five games due to his injured thumb which required surgery. Fellow owners don’t trust him as they did before last year.

Go and buy Hockenson now, before the market starts heating up for a top five TE in all those TE premium leagues out there.

SELL

Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR

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Amon-Ra St. Brown was drafted in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL draft. He played in all 17 games of his rookie year. St. Brown had a combined 90 receptions off of 119 targets for 912 yards and 5 TDs.

The first thing you are going to think is that those rookie numbers are incredible with Jared Goff as his QB. When you look into them a little deeper, you see that they are not as amazing as one might think. St. Brown had 39 catches on 52 targets through Week 12. That means that he had an incredible final six games, with 51 catches on 67 targets in six games.

Why was there such a difference in his production between the first 11 games and the final six? Dan Campbell took over play-calling from offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn in Week 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Campbell has stated he does not know yet how play-calling will be handled in 2022.

Another huge difference was the Lions’ lineup over those last six games. As mentioned above, Hockenson missed the last five weeks of the season on injured reserve. Another big name that was not on the field was D’Andre Swift. Swift missed most of Week 12 and all of Weeks 13-16. He only got 50% of the snaps in the final two weeks of the season.

St. Brown is one of the hottest names on the market. Sell him for a boatload before everyone else starts looking into the why of his last 6 weeks. Then remember that Goff is his QB.

KEEP

D’Andre Swift, RB

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D’Andre Swift was drafted in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft. His draft capital is premium and his talent matches the draft capital. Swift’s 40 yard dash time of 4.48 is better than average. His hands are above average also as seen by his 73 catches in his three years playing for the Georgia Bulldogs.

As a rookie in 2020, Swift had 114 carries for 521 yards and eight TDs. To add to those impressive rookie numbers, he also had 46 receptions for 357 yards and another two TDs. Swift did this in 13 games, and missed Weeks 11-13 due to a concussion.

Swift got off to a great start through his first 10 games of 2021. He had 137 carries for 555 yards and 4 TDs. Swift was a vital part of the passing game with 53 catches for 420 yards. As stated above, Campbell took over play-calling in Week 10. Swift became an RB and had his two best rushing games as a pro.

In Week 10 against the Steelers, he had 33 carries for 130 yards. Then in Week 11 against the Cleveland Browns, Swift had 14 carries for 136 yards and a TD. He missed weeks 13-16 because of a sprained shoulder.

Do not let anyone try to convince you that Swift is just another running back in an RBBC and that Kareem Hunt has more value. Swift is a top 12 RB in any kind of league and probably a top-five RB in PPR. You will need to follow the news on who will be calling plays for the Lions, as that will have an effect on Swift’s role if last year was any indication.


Thank you for checking out the latest article in the Buy/Sell/Keep series! You can read all of my articles on my IDP Guys author page. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @OldMan_ff and @IDPGuys (we have offense too) and please check out our website at idpguys.org.

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