UPDATE 4/2: Mikel Leshoure is currently facing a felony charge for marijuana possession. With a chances of a suspension looming, take my information below with extreme caution.
Finding a fantasy football sleeper in the Lions' backfield hasn't been easy. Since Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson burst out on the scene, the Lions have been primarily known for their high-octane passing offense. In 2011, Stafford threw for 5038 yards and a whopping 41 touchdowns, with Megatron catching 16 of those. But what about the running game? Kevin Smith was just signed to a one-year deal and Jahvid Best is expected to participate in OTAs after dealing with concussion problems in 2011. But there is another player that not many people have been talking about since he suffered a season-ending Achilles' tendon tear before the 2011 regular season even started.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Mikel Leshoure.
Leshoure was supposed to be a strong sleeper option last Summer before he was knocked out for the year. A big back at 6'0/227, Leshoure was penciled in as Best's backup and had a good chance at being the team's main redzone option. And since Best's career has been hit-and-miss, many experts, including myself, thought he stood a good chance at claiming the starting job from Best sometime during the season. Of course, that never happened.
Could Leshoure bring that momentum into the 2012 season? That's a big question mark, but he is someone I would take a flier on at the end of my fantasy draft, especially in larger leagues. It's yet to be determined if Leshoure will be ready for training camp, but he has made it known that he will be "100 percent to go" in time for the season opener. So while he won't be someone you will be able to start right out of the gate, he could be a player you could draft and stash, sit on him for a bit and hope he becomes valuable some time during the season.
There will be some owners who question my love for Leshoure, considering he will likely wind up being the third stringer behind Best and Smith. But when you look at those players, do they really have that much more talent than Leshoure? Best is one concussion away from an early retirement. And while Smith was re-signed after a surprising comeback last year, his resume' has been spotty since his rookie season back in 2008.
So while I don't think Leshoure will be a 1000-yard rusher coming off such a big injury, I'm willing to take a chance on a guy who had tons of talent coming out of college last year.
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