Fantasy Football: Fallout From the Marvin Jones Injury

The worst part about the National Football League is the high injury rate. Football is a violent sport and Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones is the latest to fall victim to injury. The wide receiver is done for the season after suffering a knee injury, but the Lions must keep playing. The show must go on, and Kenny Golladay should benefit from the vacated targets while Matthew Stafford will struggle without his reliable weapon.

Fantasy Football: How The Marvin Jones Injury Affects Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions Offense

Big Winner: Kenny Golladay

This may seem obvious, but Kenny Golladay will gain a lot of fantasy production from Jones’ absence. Earlier in the season, Golladay, Jones, and Golden Tate formed one of the best receiver trios in all of football. However, with Tate in Philadelphia and Jones sidelined, Golladay is now the clear-cut top option in the Lions passing game.

Golladay has already benefitted from Tate’s departure. Over the past three weeks, Golladay has recorded 19 receptions for 281 yards and two touchdowns. What’s most encouraging is that Golladay did this while seeing a staggering 36 targets. With Jones out of the way, Golladay should see even more opportunities in the passing game. Based on volume alone, Golladay should be a solid WR2 for the rest of the season. Don’t bother looking for him on the waiver wire, as he’s owned in almost 100% of leagues. However, you should seriously consider putting him in your starting lineup if he’s on your bench.

Slight Winner: Bruce Ellington

Matthew Stafford can’t possibly target Kenny Golladay on every single pass, can he? The Lions have basically no depth at the wide receiver position, so Bruce Ellington should continue to see consistent targets every game. Stafford has targeted Ellington an impressive 16 times in his two games with Detroit. While he hasn’t done much with said opportunities, players typically find a way to produce if given enough chances.

That said, Jones’ injury won’t drastically affect Ellington’s production. Ellington spends almost all of his time in the slot while Jones is a pure perimeter receiver. Even though they’re both wide receivers, their skillsets are nothing alike. Detroit might call one or two extra plays for Ellington, but Ellington won’t steal Jones’ routes or snaps. Ellington was a bench player before the injury, and he’ll be a low-upside flex piece with Jones gone.

Basically Unaffected: Kerryon Johnson

Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson missed Week 12 with an injury. However, the rookie running back has a chance to make his return as soon as Week 13 against the Los Angeles Rams. While some may think that the rookie can benefit from Jones’ absence, the fact of the matter is that the Lions won’t change their usage of Johnson.

Johnson was already a major part of the offense, and it would be hard for Detroit to involve him more than before. Early in the season, Johnson split time with running back LeGarrette Blount. However, as the season progressed, Johnson established himself as the clear-cut RB1 in Detroit.

Johnson has seen double-digit carries in five of his last six games, and six of his last eight. He’s basically been the workhorse back for Detroit for the better part of two months, even with Jones on the field. The human body can only take so much work, and Matt Patricia won’t want to run his rookie into the ground. The Lions might run more with Jones no longer available, but it’s hard to imagine Johnson getting even more work than he’s already getting. Even if he does see more work, it will probably just be an extra two or three carries a game.

Big Loser: Matthew Stafford

Anyone depending on Matthew Stafford to do anything for their fantasy team should try to find another option. 2018 has already been a disappointing year for the longtime Lion. Surrounded by a talented roster in a traditionally pass-happy offense, expectations were high for Stafford entering the season. Instead, Stafford is in the midst of one of his worst years of his career. On the season, the 10-year NFL veteran has 2,841 passing yards for 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

His numbers took a major nosedive after the Lions sent Golden Tate off to the Eagles. In his four games without Tate, Stafford has tossed just three touchdowns to four interceptions while averaging just 232 passing yards per game. In many ways, Stafford is a product of the players around him, and now he has nobody around him. Anyone hoping for Stafford to bounce back for the fantasy football playoffs should officially abandon that hope today. Find another quarterback on the waiver wire, as Stafford has basically no value moving forward.

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