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Lions 2021 NFL Preview: Detroit 2021 Outlook For Fantasy Football + Betting

Frank AmmiranteFantasy Sports & Betting Writer
Posted: Jul 15, 2021Last updated: Jul 28, 2021

Here’s The Game Day’s Detroit Lions 2021 Preview: 2020 Recap, Team 2021 Outlook, 2021 Betting Tips and 2021 Fantasy Football Outlook.

Detroit Lions 2021 NFL Preview: Detroit 2020 Recap, 2021 Team Outlook For Fantasy Football & Betting

Detroit Lions 2020 Season Recap

  • Final record: 5-11 (1-7 Home / 4-4 Away)
  • Division regular-season finish: Fourth in NFC North
  • Result: Missed Playoffs

The Detroit Lions turned in another mediocre season in 2020, missing the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. This led to major coaching changes as well as a trade of long-time quarterback Matthew Stafford. It’s clear the Lions had to tear it down and start over, so expectations are low heading into a rebuilding season in 2021.


2021 Detroit Lions Offseason Changes

Detroit Lions 2021 Offseason Departures

  • QB Matthew Stafford (Rams)
  • WR Kenny Golladay (Giants)
  • WR Marvin Jones Jr. (Jaguars)
  • K Matt Prater (Cardinals)
  • LB Reggie Ragland (Giants)
  • WR Mohamed Sanu (49ers)
  • LB Jarrad Davis (Jets)
  • S Miles Killebrew (Steelers)
  • S Duron Harmon (Falcons)
  • WR Jamal Agnew (Jaguars)
  • OL Oday Aboushi (Chargers)

Detroit Lions 2021 Free-Agency/Offseason Additions

  • QB Jared Goff (Rams)
  • DL Michael Brockers (Rams)
  • WR Tyrell Williams (Raiders)
  • RB Jamaal Williams (Packers)
  • WR Breshad Perriman (Jets)
  • CB Quinton Dunbar (Seahawks)
  • TE Josh Hill (Saints)
  • LB Alex Anzalone (Saints)
  • K Randy Bullock (Bengals)
  • HC Dan Campbell (Saints)
  • OC Anthony Lynn (Chargers)
  • DC Aaron Glenn (Saints)

Detroit Lions 2021 NFL Draft Picks

  • OT Penei Sewell, Oregon (Round 1, Pick 7)
  • DT Levi Onwuzurike, Washington (Round 2, Pick 41)
  • DT Alim McNeill, N.C. State (Round 3, Pick 72)
  • CB Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse (Round 3, Pick 101)
  • WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC (Round 4, Pick 112)
  • LB Derrick Barnes, Purdue (Round 4, Pick 113)
  • RB Jermar Jefferson, Oregon State (Round 7, Pick 257)

Detroit Lions 2021 Outlook

The Detroit Lions project as one of the worst teams in football after downgrading at quarterback from Stafford to Jared Goff and at wide receiver with Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. to Breshad Perriman and Tyrell Williams. This offense could struggle to score points, which is a problem given their mediocre defense.

Goff benefitted from former coach Sean McVay’s innovative scheme and could struggle with a vastly inferior supporting cast in Detroit. While running back D’Andre Swift and tight end T.J. Hockenson have upside, the trio of Williams, Perriman, and rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown look like the worst in the NFL.

The biggest strength of this team is their offensive line. First-round pick Penei Sewell has the potential to be one of the best tackles in the NFL, joining Taylor Decker to form an impressive duo of tackles. They also have center Frank Ragnow, who is among the best at his position. As a result, there’s a chance that this unit can mask its other deficiencies on offense.

The defense was also among the worst in the NFL last year, but perhaps we can see some improvement with a new coaching staff. Defensive lineman Michael Brockers can help bolster their front-seven, while second-year corner Jeffrey Okudah can continue to grow into a top corner. While this unit’s arrow is pointing up, they’ll likely remain in the bottom-tier of the league.

The NFC North continues to belong to the Packers with Aaron Rodgers now back in Green Bay. However, the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears have improved, so this could be a three-team race with the Lions on the outside looking in. While they’re unlikely to make the playoffs, they could be a pesky team that steals a few games due to their strong offensive line.


Detroit Lions 2021 Fantasy Football Tips

Goff finished as QB21 in fantasy points per game last season. However, he’ll now be in an inferior scheme with a weaker supporting cast. Having said that, the offensive line is strong, and he could be forced to air it out to play catch-up, making him a potential matchup-based play in redraft leagues.

Swift has RB1 upside because of his elite receiving ability. We could see Goff pepper Swift with check-down targets. The problem is that the coaching staff seems to love Jamaal Williams, who could eat into Swift’s volume. However, running back receptions are among the most valuable plays in football, so we can consider the second-year back a low-end RB1.

Hockensonis in a great spot for a breakout year because there isn’t a clear-cut WR1 on this team, so there’s a path to significant volume. This is a player with top-eight draft capital and the potential to really take off in his third season. Hockenson looks like a top-five tight end this year.

The receiving core looks like one to avoid, as we’ll likely see Williams, Perriman, and St. Brown share targets pretty evenly. I wouldn’t consider any of these players outside of BestBall formats, as starting their ceiling game will be an unpredictable endeavor.


Detroit Lions 2021 NFL Futures Bet Tips

Detroit Lions Over 5 Wins (-104)

The Lions only won four games last year, and they’ve gotten worse since then. But with a new coaching staff and stout offensive line, we could see them as that bottom-tier team that wins a few more games than expected. We also have to remember that we’re getting an extra game this year, so a 6-11 record seems well within reach. The team signaled their intentions to remain competitive by acquiring Goff in the Stafford trade, even if it means treading water as a six-to-eight-win team. The Lions won’t be good, but they won’t be disastrous, either.

Detroit Lions Finish Third in NFC North (+625)

The Lions are heavy favorites to finish last in the NFC North, but this is too much value to pass up. Goff can still allow the offense to function at a competent level, and the offensive line will give him a clean pocket more often than not. While they look like the clear-cut worst team on paper, we’ve seen how injuries can pile up or teams can perform below expectations, so we need to fire up this bet due to the value. Finishing third in the division isn’t a high bar and it’s well within the realm of possibilities, especially if first-year starters Jordan Love or Justin Fields (once he takes over for Andy Dalton) struggle.

Detroit Lions Win Total Over/Under, odds and lines courtesy of BetMGM. BetMGM has a welcome offer for a Risk-Free Bet of up to $600. Use promo code THEGAMEDAY or click here to sign up for a new account.

Author

Frank Ammirante

Before joining The Game Day, Frank spent three years in the fantasy sports and betting industry, writing for websites like RotoBaller and 4for4football. Frank is an active member of the fantasy baseball and fantasy football community, participating in high-stakes leagues like NFBC/NFFC as well as industry competitions like Scott Fish Bowl, RazzBowl, and TGFBI. Frank is a member of the FSWA and IBWAA. Give him a shout to talk fantasy sports and sports betting.

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