Heading into a full season with the Detroit Lions, can Josh Reynolds be any kind of factor for fantasy managers?
After a dismal early run last season with the Tennessee Titans, Josh Reynolds was waived and then easily claimed by the Detroit Lions. Reunited with Jared Goff, he averaged 16.1 yards per catch (19 for 306 yards, with two touchdowns) in seven games for the Lions.
The Lions re-signed Reynolds this offseason. At first glance he’s solidly down the pecking order for targets, but with rookie Jameson Williams looking likely to remain on the NFI list into the season there’s an opening the former Ram can step into.
In hypothetical three-receiver sets for the Lions right now, DJ Chark and Reynolds would be the outside guys with Amon-Ra St. Brown the primary slot guy.
Despite a thin wide receiver depth chart, according to Sharp Football, the Lions used “11” personnel (one running back, one tight end, three wide receivers) 63 percent of the time last season. Sprinkle in other usage patterns, and they had at least three wide receivers on the field roughly 70 percent of the time.
Fantasy Football: Can Josh Reynolds be any kind of factor?
In five games with Goff under center last year, Reynolds had 17 receptions for 270 yards and two touchdowns. He topped 50 yards in each of the the first four, and over that stretch (Week 12-15) he was WR16 in standard fantasy scoring (WR16 in full PPR; WR17 in 0.5-point PPR).
Lions head coach Dan Campbell, when you get around the list of nicknames he gave him, is clearly very bullish on Reynolds right now.
Visiting Lions’ training camp earlier this week, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero sort of set the expectation for Williams to make his debut in November. That would be seven missed games if he debuts the first week in November, with the Lions’ bye in Week 6.
Reynolds is not going to be drafted in most, if not all, fantasy leagues–unless the news on Williams’ recovery from a torn ACL gets especially dire in the coming weeks. Even then, he won’t be on the radar outside of the deepest of deep leagues.
But a solid potential role early in the season and a connection with Goff drives a bit of optimism in the right fantasy context. In deeper best ball leagues, where there’d be no lineup decision to make each week, Reynolds could be a very interesting option during the weeks Williams misses.