Detroit Lions football on Thanksgiving is a tradition that Michiganders love. The rest of you may despise watching the Lions lose year after year while you gorge yourself during the most American of holidays. Here in the mitten state, we wouldn’t know what to do without it. It saves us. You’ve got a house full of your family’s kids running around, wiping their snot on everything they run past. Mindless small talk with distant family members that will eventually slip into that awkward silence.
That’s when the Detroit Lions save you. “Well, Lions are still embarrassing,” “Yup, same ole’ Lions.” You’ve got years of ineptitude, mixed with a few non-exaggerated tales of the unfathomable exploits of Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson to bail you out of a terrible conversation. Now, you can ignore your sister’s two kids climbing on you and running their booger-laden fingers through your hair before yanking it. Not that I’m bitter or anything because now it’s Lions time. Thanksgiving 2013 was different.
A Thanksgiving Miracle
Usually, when the Lions played the Packers on Thanksgiving, it ended the same way most Packers vs. Lions games end: with gut-wrenching sadness, but not in 2013. Aaron Rodgers was out for the game, and the Lions obliterated the Packers inside Ford Field in downtown Detroit, 40-10. Reggie Bush (remember him?) rushed 20 times for 117 yds. and caught another 5 passes for 65 yards. Vintage, versatile, Reggie Bush had saved Thanksgiving.
That was the last time a Lions player has rushed for 100 yards. They say it during every broadcast, so Lions fans are sick of hearing it, but can you blame the broadcasters? That was five years ago, that’s outrageous. LeGarrette Blount was in his first season with the Patriots… the first time around. Now it’s his turn to try and crack the rushing curse that plagues the Honolulu Blue and Silver.
Reality vs. Fantasy
LeGarrette Blount is what Detroit has been lacking: a power running back who can blast for a first down on 3rd and two. A battering ram that can lower the boom on the goal line to get us six instead of the patented Lions field goal. Ameer Abdullah hasn’t been able to do it. When Theo Riddick is in the game, the defense knows it’s a pass. Joique Bell could do it but not like Blount can. When Blount was finally given a workhorse load in 2016, he plowed across the goal line 18 times. EIGHTEEN. For the Lions’ fan base, we’d be ecstatic with like seven.
LeGarrette Blount as a great addition to the Lions’ offense. Where so many drives stalled on third-and-short, now the Lions will be able to stay on the field. That’ll give more opportunities to Golden Tate on screens to shake and bake past his defender. Blount will keep safeties closer to the line of scrimmage, giving Marvin Jones the opportunity to rip the roof off the defense and come down with more of his majestic sideline grabs. This is a good move by Bob Quinn to improve the Detroit Lions. This is not a good move to improve your fantasy teams.
Goal line or Bust
The Lions will still draft a running back in the first two rounds of this April’s draft. Bob Quinn passed on a deep running back class last year and got plenty of flack for it. Ameer Abdullah was coming off an injury, and he wanted to see what he had there, so I get where Quinn was coming from. Well, he saw it and now knows he can’t pass up another potentially deep class at RB. Blount will be the short yardage and goal line guy, maybe the primary back in the first quarter to try and wear down the defense, but whichever rookie gets drafted, will be the guy by season’s end.
Sounds like a good situation for the Lions, but a headache for your fantasy roster. Blount will be limited by the rookie, and likely very touchdown-dependent. The rookie will be capped by the limited touches they’ll receive with a veteran back like Blount in the same backfield. There’s going to be a handful of weeks in 2018 when LeGarrette Blount could win you the week. You’ll just need to get lucky and hope it’s the same week as one of your starting RBs is on their bye, so you have Blount in your lineup.
That’s a situation I’ll be looking to avoid. If Blount does come out of the gate rockin’ and rollin’ then I would sell high on him in a heartbeat, a la Mike Gillislee in 2017. The LeGarrette Blount signing is likely to only make your job as a fantasy owner harder, with less relevant RB options, but at least as a Lion, he’ll make my Thanksgiving that much more enjoyable.