Mikel Leshoure: Full Fantasy Football Profile, Outlook and Analysis for Lions RB

Lou RomContributor ISeptember 17, 2012

Mikel Leshoure doing what opposing running backs do to the Oakland Raiders, tearing them to shreds.
Mikel Leshoure doing what opposing running backs do to the Oakland Raiders, tearing them to shreds.Cary Emondson-US PRESSWIRE

Mikel Leshoure’s suspension is over and it's time for the Detroit Lions and fantasy football owners to make room for him on their roster. Leshoure missed last season with a torn Achilles tendon and served a two-game suspension this year for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

His suspension was lifted Monday and the Lions are looking forward to him getting the chance to deliver on the potential they saw from him as an Illinois' standout.


At Illinois, Leshoure gained a reputation as a bruising running back who can play every down and deliver the occasional outside burst as well as his prototypical punishing runs up the middle. He holds the Fighting illini's single season rushing record with 1,697 yards in 2010 and was an All-American several times over.

At 6', 227, Leshoure has been described by scouts as elusive, with good vision and a beast when it comes to second-effort yards.

"Backs capable of playing on three downs are going extinct in the NFL. Leshoure has that type of ability with a little work," wrote Walter Football in its 2011 NFL Draft preview.

His negatives, according to scouts, include his off-field trouble, poor blocking skills and a lack of experience taking hand-offs in a traditional offense.


The Lions finesse offense can certainly use a dose of toughness, as highlighted by a paltry 82 yards on 26 carries in Sunday's loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Leshoure could be just the guy to deliver that—for both the Lions and fantasy owners who pick him up this week.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz told the Detroit Free Press on Monday he'll waste no time getting Leshoure in the mix.

“We’ve been waiting to see him for a long time,” Schwartz said today. “We drafted him in the second round, we had high expectations for him ... He’s a good player, he’s healthy and we’re looking forward to get him back on the field.”

Leshoure is eligible to rejoin the Lions Wednesday when the team’s roster exemption expires. The Lions play the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, a team that so far this season has had little success defending the run.

The Titans are giving up 155 yards a game through two games this year.


Leshoure will definitely be rusty this week so there are no promises heading into Sunday's matchup at LP field. It's also possible the Lions may bring in another back to help out this week. According to CBS Sports, the team is hosting free agents Ryan Grant and Steve Slaton Tuesday for a workout.

Come November and December, Leshoure could be a great addition to your Fantasy roster, but for Week 3 I'd call him a bit of a stretch.