Kenny Golladay, T.J. Jones, More Fantasy Outlook After Marvin Jones Jr.'s Injury

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistNovember 16, 2018

FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2017, file photo, Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate runs to the bench after rushing for a 40-yard touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns in Detroit. The Lions host the Minnesota Vikings in a Thanksgiving game that should drastically alter the NFC North race. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez, File)
Jose Juarez/Associated Press

Fantasy owners will get a look at the Detroit Lions offense without wide receiver Marvin Jones after he was ruled out for Sunday's Week 11 game against the Carolina Panthers

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported the update Friday.

Jones' ascent to fantasy stardom took time. This is his seventh NFL season after being a fifth-round draft pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2012. He joined the Lions in 2016 and racked up 2,031 yards and 13 touchdowns on 116 catches over the past two seasons. 

That production is no longer available to Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and fantasy owners.

Jones did fall down Stafford's list of favorite targets this season thanks to the breakout performance of Kenny Golladay, but trading Golden Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 30 opened up a lot of targets. 

Tate averaged 93 receptions for 1,056 yards and five touchdowns in his four full seasons with the Lions.

Among receivers still on Detroit's roster, Jones leads the team in targets (62) and touchdowns (five). 

Golladay was a popular sleeper pick coming into this season thanks to his big-play potential. The 25-year-old has lived up to that hype already with 601 yards and a career-high four touchdowns.

Given how easy and comfortable the chemistry has been between Stafford and Golladay, there's every reason think the second-year wideout will be even better with Jones out of the lineup. 

Prior to Week 8 against the Seattle Seahawks, Yahoo Sports' Brad Evans highlighted some advanced numbers that show how important Golladay has been to fantasy owners. 

"On 19.9 percent of the Lions' target share, he's scored three times and averaged 4.8 receptions and 77.5 yards per game," Evans wrote. "His appreciable standing in yards per target (10.8, WR7) and deadliness after the catch (WR18 in YAC) has transformed him into one of the game's premier long-bomb threats."

The Lions' new No. 2 receiver will likely be T.J. Jones, who was used sparingly before Tate was dealt. He had 36 yards on three receptions but could end up receiving the bulk of snaps out of the slot that Tate previously occupied. 

One potential downside of the Lions finally finding a competent running game—they rank 23rd in the NFL with 101.1 yards per game, their first time over the century mark since 2013—is Stafford doesn't have to do as much as he used to. 

With fewer targets to go around, Stafford will likely remain focused on the receivers he trusts. Jones has been with the team since 2014 but has only had more than one season with more than 10 receptions. 

Because of the uncertainty around T.J. Jones, who is available in virtually all Yahoo fantasy leagues, fantasy owners can stash him on the bench for one week to see how he will fit into the offense.