Fantasy Football: Detroit Lions' Mikel Leshoure Impressive vs. Titans

Jamal Collier@@JCollierDAnalyst IIISeptember 23, 2012

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 23: Alterraun Verner #20 of the Tennessee Titans makes a tackle against Mikel Leshoure #25 of the Detroit Lions during the game at LP Field on September 23, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

If you are reading this, hopefully you have already successfully traded the Detroit Lions' Kevin Smith away from your fantasy team. You may have even moved him for his Week 3 opponent’s counterpart, Chris Johnson.

Because in Week 3, Smith appears to be out of a starting job. It looks like he was just keeping the spot warm for another guy on the roster.

Second-year running back Mikel Leshoure has completely taken over the starting running back position for the Detroit Lions against the Tennessee Titans.

Smith was active for the game, but did not receive a carry.

Leshoure missed the first 18 regular season games of his young career after a torn Achilles derailed his entire rookie season. He then had to serve a two-game NFL suspension at the start of this season.

But Leshoure began his career with an impressive performance against the Tennessee Titans that saw him carry the ball a whopping 26 times for his first 100-yard game and rushing touchdown.

The magnitude with which Leshoure dominated the carries for the Detroit Lions suggests that he is the team’s preferred rusher. That means he should be the No. 1 option from the Detroit backfield for your fantasy lineup.

Smith, meanwhile, appears to be simply a handcuff option to the sophomore.

A second measure of Leshoure’s possible ability to help fantasy owners down the road is the fact that he got many of those carries after the Lions fell behind against Tennessee.

Matthew Stafford threw the ball 42 times and completed 33 of those, but Leshoure had about two-thirds as many rushing attempts as Stafford had passes before he left the game.

That’s not too bad for a team that is perceived to prefer throwing the football first and asking questions later.

The Lions play against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4. Minnesota has yet to allow a 100-yard rusher this season.