Inside the Article:
Here we are on the downward slide toward the NFL season and what promises to be exciting for the 2023 Detroit Lions. ESPN has recently named four Lions as potential sleepers for the upcoming fantasy football season, and we can't say we disagree. The four guys named should definitely be on your radar as you enter the draft season, especially with Ben Johnson calling plays and taking an already stellar offense to potentially the top of the league—the four guys named: Jared Goff, Jamyr Gibbs, Jameson Williams, and Sam LaPorta.
Why it matters
The Lions' offense was one of the better offenses in the league in 2022, ranking in the top 5 according to DVOA by Football Outsiders. Through the draft, they improved the weapons they already had by adding Gibbs and Laporta, though they weren't believed to be the “best” selections at the time, they are playmakers who will bring added dimensions and matchup nightmares for opposing defenses. Though fantasy points don't necessarily translate to real-world wins in the NFL, if these four reach their potential, the Lions' offense will be ranked even higher than 5th in the league.
Detroit Lions' ‘sleepers' by the numbers
Finding a diamond in the rough is always a great way to dominate in fantasy football. There is always going to be a player or two who outshine preseason projections and end up winning leagues. It's quite possible that one of these four could be that guy this upcoming season.
Jared Goff – Quarterback
Jared Goff was a pretty decent, if not very reliable, fantasy quarterback during the 2022 season. According to Fantasy Pros he ranked 6th in passing yards, 5th in touchdowns, and only had 7 INTs on the season, which ranked tied for 14th among all quarterbacks. Not to mention, he'll have Jameson Williams for more games, even amid suspension, and a more reliable tight end to throw the ball to this season. Add to that he's got another year under his belt with Ben Johnson and it all adds up to a promising season for the former #1 overall pick.
Jamyr Gibbs – Running Back
A much-maligned pick at #12 by the Lions this past NFL Draft, Gibbs is a dynamic and promising back added to a stellar offense. The kid is simply a playmaker. Whether it is running off-tackle or catching passes out of the backfield, he brings an added element to the Lions' offense that will create headaches for defenses. Thinking about how this Swiss Army Knife will be used in 2023 it is easy to see why he was named by a few experts as a sleeper in fantasy football, and probably worth a decently high selection, especially in PPR leagues.
Jameson Williams – Wide Reciever
Williams announced his presence in his second game back with his massive touchdown reception against the Minnesota Vikings. It was a reminder of the skills he brings to the football field. Unfortunately for the Lions he missed a lot of the season recovering from an ACL injury and in 2023 will miss the first six games due to an asinine gambling suspension, that he won't appeal. This suspension lands him clearly in the sleeper conversation because he may be able to be drafted in the later rounds and then come back with a vengeance starting in week seven.
Sam LaPorta – Tight End
LaPorta was another one of those selections that left some fans scratching their heads. Though the thoughts around LaPorta are very positive. Called a “YAC Weapon” by PFF, LaPorta was one of the best TE prospects in this draft and thought by some to be a complete steal when the Lions drafted him. Coming from Iowa and their inept offense, the sky is the limit for this pass-catching threat to jump up TE fantasy rankings throughout the year.
The bottom line
The 2023 outlook for the Detroit Lions is a good one and one fans should be excited about. These four guys should be on your draft boards and you should be willing to target them, maybe even early and often. Then sit back and enjoy watching your fantasy team head right for the championship as the real-world Lions look to do the same.