Despite being limited to 83 carries last year, the Saints signed Pierre Thomas to a four-year deal, according to NewOrleans.com. Pierre Thomas has yet to reach 150 carries in a season, which begs the question if PT23, stands for part-time 23. He had always been effective posting 4.8, 4.8, and 5.4 yards per carry in his first three years. Last year he was down to 3.2 ypc. He was more active in the passing game though, catching 29 passes in six games.
He’s just 26 and doesn’t have a lot of wear and tear. His main problem is staying healthy. He’ll never be a 200+ carry back in the Saints’ system, which should help him stay on the field.
He’ll be a risk/reward type player for fantasy owners, though he won’t go as your RB2 anymore, thus decreasing the risk.
In other news, former Saint tight end Jeremy Shockey signed with the Panthers. They have big-time issues at quarterback, and Shockey isn’t the player he once was, but at this point he’s probably the second best target (after Steve Smith) the Panthers have. Shockey should be a decent TE2.
Tight End Owen Daniels signed a four-year deal with the Texans. Health is always an issue for the talented tight end, but he is an explosive player when he’s on the field. Daniels is a quality TE1 that should come at a discount because of his past injuries. Make sure you add a solid TE2 if you pick Daniels.
The Lions won’t retain Kevin Smith. He’s been injured much of his career so we’re not sure what he can bring to the table. Depending on where he lands, he’ll be a decent late round flier pick.
Darren McFadden could have a tougher time finding running lanes as Robert Gallery won’t be back. He’s a skilled guard, but he also has a injury history, which is a common denominator for all the players in this article.
Extension is the latest word on the CBA. Hopefully they figure something out soon.

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio


Jahvid Best is an explosive running back. That is without question. The question is whether or not he can hold up to the punishment he’ll take as an NFL running back. Best has already had numerous surgeries (elbow, hip, shoulder) and missed time with a concussion. That is before playing a snap in the league where the defenders are bigger and faster than anything his played against to this point.


Best is in a good situation, playing for a young team like the Lions, that can allow him to learn on the job. His ability to break a long run at any time will offset some of the rookie mistakes. He’s also playing his home games on a turf field, which plays into his hand as a burner. On the flip side, though, is the injury concerns that come with playing on turf.


He doesn’t have very stiff competition for the starting gig. Kevin Smith, who has had a couple of solid seasons for the Lions, is coming off an torn ACL that came at the end of the season. Even if he gets back on the field, his explosiveness won’t return until at least next season. In fact, the  only competition he is facing is the ghost of Barry Sanders.


The Lions have struggled to replace the face of their franchise. James Stewart ran for 1184 yards and 10 TDs in 2000, but missed 13 games the next two seasons. Kevin Jones had a strong rookie showing with 1133 yards in 2004 before injuries set in.  Kevin Smith had 976 yards in 2008 before getting hurt the next year. The hope is that Jahvid Best will not only be productive this year, but for many years to come. His injury history worries me though.


Another thing that worries me is their defense. They should be a better unit with the additions of Ndamukong Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch, but still will they keep the team in games long enough for them to establish the run?


It’s not like I dislike Jahvid Best, but I am way more skeptical than where he’s going in fantasy drafts (click to see where he ranks among RBs). According to Mock Draft Central, Best is going 37th overall (20th RB). There are too many questions to invest a late third/early fourth round pick on him.


Best is going ahead of proven RBs like Joseph Addai and Matt Forte. He’s also going ahead of QBs like Tony Romo, Philip Rivers, and Matt Schaub; WRs like both Steve Smiths, Michael Crabtree, and Chad Ochocinco; and every TE including Antonio Gates and Dallas Clark. Personally I would rather take a commodity that I have come to trust, rather than gamble on an oft-injured rookie RB.


What are your thoughts on Jahvid Best?

Detroit’s misery continues as second-year RB Kevin Smith (knee) is done for the year.  The timing couldn’t be worse as the first week of the fantasy playoffs are wrapping up. Hopefully you have other options on your roster, but if not, here are some guys that could be available.

Quinton Ganther, RB, Washington Redskins
Ganther had 93 total yards and 2 TDs against Oakland this week. They face the Giants and Cowboys the next two weeks.

Arian Foster, Houston Texans
Foster had 88 total yards last week and was named the starting back for the Texans. It’s a perfect week for him to step into that role as St. Louis is up next.

Chris Jennings, Cleveland Browns
Jennings has 73 yards against the Steelers, and should have even more running room against the Chiefs next week. Then he has the Raiders in Week 16.

Maurice Morris, Detroit Lions
If the waiver wire got picked over, you can stay at home and take Morris. I don’t like either of his next two match-ups (Arizona, San Francisco), but if he’s all that’s out there, you don’t have a choice.

I’m going to look at the matchups each week and pick five fantasy starters that could be in for a tough week.  Here’s a look at players who could struggle this week.

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers - You have to play him because he’s taking on St. Louis, but there is a good chance that this game gets out of hand early and the Pack let Ryan Grant handle the heavy lifting.

Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans - Johnson has a tough matchup this week playing the Jets on the road.  You can’t bench your first-round pick in Week 3, especially after his monster performance against the Texans, but expect something closer to his Week 1 numbers.

Kevin Smith, RB, Detroit Lions - It seems like I’m picking on the second-year backs in the early going.  I’ll pile on with Kevin Smith.  I don’t like his matchup against Washington.  If he’s not active in the passing game, it will be a long day for his fantasy owners.

Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs - Bowe faces the Eagles this week.  That ought to be a lot of fun, especially after they got crushed by the Saints.  You almost have to play him, but don’t pencil him in for too many points.

Chad Ochocinco, WR, Cincinnati Bengals - Ocho gets to go up against the Steelers this week.  It’s a home game for the Bengals, but still a tough draw.  Carson Palmer will have his hands full.  Ocho and Palmer were both impressive against Green Bay, but the Steelers are going to be fired up after falling to the Bears.

kevin Smith running
Image courtesy of Icon SMI

Kevin Smith had an unbelievable year considering he played for a winless team.  He had 976 yards rushing with 8 TDs.  He added 39 receptions for 286 yards.  Plus he didn’t have more than 16 carries until Week 10.  From Week 10 to Week 17 he averaged 99.4 total yards per game and half a TD.  With Matthew Stafford running the show at some point, the Lions will lean more heavily on Smith with both the run and as a safety net in the passing game.  The Lions also added Tight End Brandon Pettigrew, who should help pave the way for a successful 2009 campaign for Kevin Smith.

Kevin Smith should get off to a nice start with New Orleans in Week 1.  If the Vikings’ Williams Wall (Pat & Kevin) lost their appeal, they’ll miss the Week 2 tilt with the Lions, which would bode well for Smith.  He also has some nice matchups in Week 8 against St. Louis, Week 11 against Cleveland, and Week 13 against Cincinnati.  His fantasy playoff opener is against Baltimore, which is tough, but if you have a bye or are able to get by, you’ll be in good shape with matchups against Arizona and San Francisco.

Smith will go in the late second or third round in most fantasy drafts, with a bump in PPR leagues.  I’m expecting him to have 1400 total yards and 8 TDs.

Coming off a winless year, you know there are some question marks.  For starters, the Lions need a QB.  They had five QBs take snaps last year.  My guess is they will go QB with the first pick in the draft, with Matthew Stafford being that pick.  He has a wonderful weapon in Calvin Johnson.  After Megatron, the Lions do not offer much in the passing game.  Shaun McDonald is a free agent.  He was the second leading receiver last year.  They’ll probably look to retain his services.  Kevin Smith was a bright spot at Running Back as he nearly reached 1000 yards.  Aside from Megatron and Smith, they pretty much could upgrade everyone on Offense.

On Defense the key Free Agents is Paris Lenon, who led the team with 121 tackles.  They may also look to bring back Shaun Cody.  They were dead last with 404.4 yard per game and 32.3 point per game.  They need as much help on Defense as you would think an 0-16 team would. 

KFFL Free Agent Tracker:

Pos Player Name FA Status Previous Team Current Team
QB Drew Henson RFA Detroit Lions Free Agent
QB Dan Orlovsky UFA Detroit Lions Free Agent
RB Rudi Johnson UFA Detroit Lions Free Agent
FB Moran Norris UFA Detroit Lions Free Agent
WR Mike Furrey UFA (Cut) Detroit Lions Free Agent
WR Shaun McDonald UFA Detroit Lions Free Agent
TE Dan Campbell UFA (Cut) Detroit Lions Free Agent
PK Jason Hanson UFA Detroit Lions Free Agent
OG Edwin Mulitalo UFA (Cut) Detroit Lions Free Agent
OG Blaine Saipaia UFA Detroit Lions Free Agent
OT Jon Dunn UFA (Cut) Detroit Lions Free Agent
OT George Foster UFA Detroit Lions Free Agent
DL Shaun Cody UFA Detroit Lions Free Agent
LB Anthony Cannon RFA Detroit Lions Free Agent
LB Paris Lenon UFA Detroit Lions Free Agent
CB Leigh Bodden UFA (Cut) Detroit Lions Free Agent
CB Ramzee Robinson ERFA Detroit Lions Free Agent
FS Patrick Body UFA Detroit Lions Free Agent
FS Dwight Smith UFA (Cut) Detroit Lions Free Agent

Detroit Lions Preview

29 August 2008

The Detroit Lions are at it again.  They rid themselves of the Mad Scientist Mike Martz so maybe they will have a little more balance in their offense.  They still have that Matt Millen fella hanging around.  I’m not sure what it would take for him to get canned.  I guess at least it gives us something to talk about.

Offensively the Lions are hoping Calvin Johnson can stay healthy and bring his preseason explosiveness into the real games.  He was slowed by a back injury for much of last year, but has looked great thus far.  He forms a dynamic duo with Roy Williams that should allow Jon Kitna to post solid numbers.  They have good complimentary receivers in Mike Furrey and Shaun McDonald.  On the ground they drafted Kevin Smith out of UCF.  He’ll team with Tatum Bell to give the Lions a decent 1-2 punch. 

Defensively this team was a mess last year.  They gave up passing yards like the people on the Strip handing out those Call Girl cards.  Ernie Sims and Paris Lenon made a solid 1-2 punch at Linebacker.  They both tallied over 100 tackles last year.  Shaun Rogers moved onto Cleveland so DeWayne White and Jared DeVries will be asked to put pressure on the QB.

I expect another season in the cellar for the Lions.  The rest of the division sports solid defenses, one thing that Detroit clearly lacks.  If they can claw their way to 7 Wins, I’d be impressed. 

Fantasy-wise the Lions have some options.  Jon Kitna is a great backup and borderline starter given the pair of dandy wideouts he has in Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams.  I expect Calvin Johnson to outperform Roy this year.  Kevin Smith could provide them with a weapon out of the backfield, which is something that’s been missing in year’s past.  If you’re in a large league, Tatum Bell is worth a flier, but I’d keep him on the waiver wire in smaller leagues.  Don’t go anywhere near that Defense except to start everyone that faces them.

We’ve done the Big Dog RBs, Second Tier RBs, Third Tier RBs, and Fourth Tier RBs, now it’s time to look at the next wave of RBs.  We’re getting your bench RBs and Bye Week plays.  You can use these guys for trades or simply use them as insurance policies in case of injury.

Selvin Young – Usually a Denver RB is as good as gold.  I just can’t quite trust any of them this year.  Selvin had 960 total yards last year, but only 1 TD.  Michael Pittman and Ryan Torain could steal touches from Young.

Rudi Johnson/Kenny Watson – Early indications are that Rudi is back.  He’s in terrific shape and is hitting the holes hard.  Problem is Kenny Watson easily outplayed him last year.  I think this is going to be a true RBBC with them splittiing carries fairly equally (barring injury).  Kenny Watson had over 1000 total yards and 7 TDs.  Rudi had 600 and 4.  You would think Rudi would be the short yardage back, but Watson will probably get plenty of work in the redzone because of his pass-catching ability. 

Jonathan Stewart – Since DeAngelo Williams hasn’t lived up to the hype, I see the Oregon rookie stealing the show down in Carolina.  He’s a bruiser at 5’11″, 230 Lbs with good speed.  He ran for 1722 yards for the Ducks last year, and should have a solid rookie showing.

Matt Forté - Things looked real good for the Tulane rookie before Kevin Jones inked a deal with Da Bears.  That said, I’m not sure KJ is healthy enough (or will remain healthy) to keep Forte from being a decent fantasy play.  He ran for 2127 yards and 23 TDs in his Senior season.  He’s also capable of catching the ball out of the backfield. 

Kevin Smith – Another rookie that could make waves this year is Detroit’s Kevin Smith.  He doesn’t have great speed, but he tore it up for UCF last year racking up 2567 yards and 29 TDs.  If the Pro game isn’t too fast for him, he could be a steady contributor.

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