Mikel Leshoure: Detroit RB's Fantasy Football Stock Will Rise in Coming Weeks

Ben Chodos@bchodosCorrespondent IISeptember 23, 2012

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 30:  Mikel Leshoure #25 of the Detroit Lions heads back to the sideline after scoring a first quarter touchdown while playing the Buffalo Bills during a pre season game at Ford Field on August 30, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions may have lost to the Tennessee Titans, but Mikel Leshoure has given the Lions and fantasy football something to look forward to as the 2012 NFL season continues.

The Lions erased a 14-point deficit in less than 90 seconds after completing a Hail Mary to Titus Young in the end zone as the clock ran out to send the game into overtime. But the team failed to convert on fourth-and-inches deep in Tennessee territory after the Titans had kicked a field goal, thereby losing the game. 

While Detroit lost in heartbreaking fashion and certainly has plenty of mistakes on which to reflect, Leshoure was a bright spot. He carried the ball 26 times for 100 yards and a touchdown. 

Leshoure was a second-round pick out of Illinois in the 2011 NFL draft. He gained 1,697 rushing yards and scored 17 touchdowns in his senior year, and was looked to as the player to give the Lions a much-needed boost in the backfield during his rookie season. 

But Leshoure tore his Achilles tendon in preseason, and his NFL debut was delayed for a year. His regular-season debut was further pushed back when he received a two-game suspension for two arrests this offseason.

After Leshoure’s performance, he appears to have been worth the wait. The Lions did receive decent production from Kevin Smith earlier this year, but he is not the type of back that is a consistent threat to receive 20 or more carries and gain at least 100 yards. 

Leshoure, at 6’0” and 227 pounds, is a player who can run effectively between the tackles and be an every-down back. The Lions will still be a passing team going forward, but the second-year man will give the offense balance.

There is still no word on the injury Matthew Stafford sustained in the game against Tennessee, according to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert. But if Shaun Hill starts the Lions’ next game against the Minnesota Vikings, Leshoure will receive more action than in a normal contest.

Even if Stafford is active against the Vikings, Leshoure is now the starting running back for the Lions, and his skill set warrants significantly more action than Smith was receiving.

He will continue to get touches and rack up yards, and that will cause his fantasy stock to rise as the season continues.