Mikel Leshoure: Projecting Lions RB's Week 4 Output vs. Vikings

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistSeptember 25, 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 have one of the most dangerous pass offenses in the NFL, but they will face another tough test in Week 4 against the Minnesota Vikings.

Detroit will need more help from running back Mikel Leshoure.

While Leshoure isn’t Barry Sanders, the second-year back is entering the season healthy after missing his first year in the league with a torn Achilles. The elusive runner is also coming off a two-game suspension for the two drug arrests he had in the offseason (via Brian McIntyre of NFL.com).

Now that Leshoure is back, though, it’s obvious from his numbers against the Tennessee Titans that he is the No. 1 running back on the depth chart.

If you have a chance to acquire the explosive back in a fair trade or pick him up of the fantasy football waiver wire, it is worth the risk.

Make the move now!


Workload Percentage

As seen in Week 4 against the Titans, now-third-string back Kevin Smith was completely fazed out of the game in favor of the tough-running Leshoure. Smith went from averaging almost 15 carries a game to not contributing on one play Sunday.

While Joique Bell got five carries against Tennessee, they were on plays that Leshoure needed a breather instead of being strategic. With another week of practice and conditioning, there is a chance that Leshoure could eat up most of the team’s carries.

It will be Leshoure’s willingness and ability to run between the tackles that will keep him on the field in short-yardage and goal-line situations, but his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield will ensure he is also the third-down back.

Expect plenty of work this Sunday for the Lions star.

Final Word: 80 percent of the snaps.


Final Stat Line

While the Minnesota Vikings will be conscious of Leshoure in the backfield, they are a team predicated on getting after the opposing quarterback with a superior pass rush.

If Matthew Stafford can read what Minnesota is doing and know when to audible to the run, Leshoure should have a field day against a Vikings defense that is vulnerable up the middle.

With the bulk of the workload on his shoulders, look for Leshoure to carry the ball around 23 times and catch another five passes.

If he can scamper for over 175 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown of each variety as predicted, Leshoure will be the fantasy star of Sunday’s game.

Final Word: 23 rushes for 131 yards and one touchdown, plus five receptions for 45 yards and one touchdown.


Check back for more on the National Football League as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s NFL page to get your fill of all things football.