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Sleeper Spotlight: Detroit Lions

As part of the premium content package, we’re not only releasing exclusive team capsules (complete with commentary), but also focusing on one sleeper from all 32 teams in the NFL.

These sleepers all have varying levels of “sleeperness,” but all merit a little more talking about than we had room for in the dynasty capsules for each team. Some of these players are deep dynasty sleepers who could merit a spot on your bench in a deep league, while others are players who may contribute a little faster than the deep prospects, but deserve more attention than they may be getting. By definition, a sleeper could mean something a little different to everyone, but we’re simply doing the best job we can to unearth one player from each team who fits the category in some way, shape or form.

We’ll just never insult you with a comprehensive list of “sleepers” that includes such names as Demaryius Thomas, Ryan Mathews or even someone like Stevan Ridley. You’re all too good for that.

While many of these players will undoubtedly fizzle, we figure there’s value in looking more closely at these deeper prospects and players. We invite you to keep an open mind and even re-assess your value on those who may be rostered in your league. You may even consider adding a few of these deeper prospects we focus on this Summer who are free agents in your league – after all, some are destined to pan out, too.

Mikel Leshoure
Age: 22

Just last year, Leshoure was one of the most coveted rookie picks in all dynasty leagues. After all, he was coming off a monster season at Illinois that featured 1,697 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns on a healthy six yards per carry. While Detroit wasn’t the best destination for him in the draft, it still wasn’t bad. At the time, Jahvid Best was looked at as a key piece of a committee in need of a second partner. The Lions also looked like they had all the makings of being an explosive offense and having the player who could be the goal line and short yardage back, at worst, looked very promising.

What a difference a year makes.

The disastrous string of events for Leshoure started last August when he tore his left achilles tendon during a training camp practice, landing him on injured reserve for the year and seriously clouding his future. In both February and March, he was then arrested for marijuana possession, highlighted by him attempting to eat some of the weed in an attempt to avoid detection by the police. Reports then surfaced he had tested positive for marijuana use during his tenure at Illinois.  To make things even worse, he failed to show up for his arraignment for the two charges and had to turn himself in to police. All that led to a two game suspension for Leshoure and serious doubt about his viability in dynasty leagues.

So, why is he on this list?

Leshoure has been completely left for dead in many dynasty leagues. However, his recovery is said to have gone very well, even better than expected. He’s reportedly been practicing hard and still has the ability to cut and has been showing a surprising amount of burst as of late. He may never be the old Leshoure, but if he comes close to 80%-90% of what he was, that’s enough to put him squarely back on the radar.

In addition, Jahvid Best is seemingly one concussion away from seriously questioning his future and Kevin Smith has major health concerns as well. If Leshoure is healthy, he’s going to be back on track to be the short yardage back and possibly much more. When you look at the opportunities that could be there in the dynamic Detroit offense, it’s conceivable to think Leshoure could have a decent impact in dynasty leagues as early as this season.

If you already own Leshoure, you’re basically stuck. There’s no way anybody is going to give you anything relevant to trade for him. You have to just hope he recovers and plays well so you can either enjoy the ride or take advantage of his rising price at the time and trade him away.

However, if you have an owner who has been burned (no pun intended) by Leshoure, they may be willing to accept little back in trade if they think his career is already over. If that happens, you could conceivably have a low risk, high return asset coming back to you.

Ken Kelly
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Bowser
10 years ago

I am liking these team breakdowns, but most of us play in IDP leagues. I would suggest/like to see IDPers included. I think it would make a more interesting article to list Aaron Berry or Amari Spievey. Just my 2 cents.

Bowser
Reply to  Ken Kelly
10 years ago

I certainly didn’t mean to seem like I was complaining. I love all the work you do, and as a free-lance writer I know the work you put in. Thank you again for providing the best fantasy material on the web.

bbwayne
10 years ago

Keep pumping up Leshure and I might have to buy the Premium Subscription for life. Maybe I can get a 1st for him before the season starts.

Brady Lawson
10 years ago

I like most of your sleeper spotlight articles but this is rather Ridley-esque as far as sleepers go.. I suppose they can’t all be deep sleepers.

Brady Lawson
Reply to  Ken Kelly
10 years ago

Ya, not trying to criticize your choice. More just expressing my disappointment with not finding some new player to target. Not to worry, though, just makes me look forward to the next sleeper spotlight more.

Adam Marek
10 years ago

Thanks for the time spent on these write-ups.

Only thing id complain about is the people who complain about what you DONT write about. Instead of taking whats given, and using the info to our advantage. Im new to DLF, but its my number 1 resource now for my dynasty leagues

Thanks again

James Young
10 years ago

So i guess this means Leshoure is a better sleeper than T.Young? Or that T.Young is going to high to be considered a sleeper. Im not sure. but I do believe Young is a better player to have, present and future than Leshoure any day.

Reply to  James Young
10 years ago

In my opinion, Titus Young has an established value and is currently being draft right around where he belongs. I classify a sleeper as someone that clearly outperforms their draft slot, and I think Leshoure’s low ADP sets him up to very easily outperform expectations. Young would have to really pop to outperform his ADP right now, which definitely isn’t impossible with Stafford and gang.

Very good point though chalkkk. Young is shaping up to be a baller in this offense.

bbwayne
10 years ago

Personally, I think K. Smith is the Sleeper to own in Detroit. He looked amazing and hungry coming back last year before is bad ankle sprain. Best is one concussion away from getting his vegetables through a sippy cup and we know Leshure likes to eat his greens. All will have some sort of value on the team, but grab Smith if you have either Best or Leshure. You won’t be disappointed.

Admin
Reply to  bbwayne
10 years ago

Love all the comments on this article…Every few days or so I read through something that makes me truly proud of the community here.

As far as Kevin Smith goes, I’m right there with you. IF (HUGE IF) he can stay healthy, he can be a true every-down back. He is a really nice story & I think he would provide a huge boost to that offense provided he can stay on the field.

Bruce Blalock
Reply to  bbwayne
10 years ago

I too like Kevin Smith as a deep sleeper….IF he can stay healthy – which we can all say about Lion RB’s

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