Mikel Leshoure: Injury Brings Caution to Long-Term Fantasy Value

Mike Shiekman@TheRealShiekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 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

One game into his NFL career and Detroit Lions running back Mikel Leshoure has hit the injury report.

The Lions back suffered a groin injury towards the conclusion of his team's overtime loss at Tennessee. He is currently questionable for Sunday's game against Minnesota.

The Lions RB was a popular late-round pick at the end of fantasy drafts due to his upside. He would have to sit out the first two games, but whispers out of Lions' camp were that he would get touches when he returned.

He had been picked by the Lions in the draft to be their power option and provide some balance to their offense. And boy, did he impress.

A ton of carries, 100 yards and a touchdown against Tennessee sent fantasy waiver-wire vultures to their computers faster than Usain Bolt.

Should fantasy owners be worried about Leshoure's fantasy value in the long term?

When healthy, Leshoure looks to be the Lions choice for the bulk of carries over backup Kevin Smith. He has the better skill set for an every-down back and he brings a power and toughness that Detroit didn't have previously.

Smith may get more opportunities as a third-down back catching passes, but Leshoure will still get looks in passing formations. He was utilized in pass-blocking scenarios against the Titans, indicating he's the better protector.

Plus, let's not forget the Lions brought in Leshoure with a high-round draft pick. They won't shy away from using a player they paid for. More so than Kevin Smith, at least, who the Lions brought in as a free agent midseason in 2011.

On the other hand, Leshoure already missed his rookie year after tearing his ACL in the 2011 preseason. The ongoing injury issues labeled him a potential injury risk heading into 2012.

The Lions may be more careful with Leshoure going forward, but at 1-2, they're going to need him to contribute.

If he's good to go on Sunday, Leshoure is a bonafide RB2 and a quality option the rest of the way. That's reality.


Mike Shiekman is a Breaking News Writer for Bleacher Report. He loves to give fantasy football players lineup advice. Follow him at @TheRealShiek