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No one was picking the Detroit Lions to win their division this year, with such proven powers as Green Bay, Minnesota and, er, Chicago, standing in their way. But the Lions, after years of misery, had something like a buzz about them coming into this season, with a solid receiving corp, a promising running back and a second-year quarterback who was not afraid to fling it.
I liked QB Matthew Stafford in particular as a pre-season sleeper pick for the draft, but he was injured in Week 1 and the Lions have been up and down ever since. With Stafford's stellar return in Week 8 (four TDs), the fantasy stock value shot up for a whole pride of Lions.
Here's who you should be picking up or trading for:
Matthew Stafford, QB: I thought he'd shake the rust off quickly, and it appears he did just that. He's got a tough match-up against the Jets this week, but should be locked in as a fantasy starter for games against Buffalo, Dallas and Chicago. Still available in 49% of Yahoo! leagues.
Calvin Johnson, WR: He caught three of Stafford's four TDs last week, and should play up to his second-round draft pick status the rest of the way. Good luck prying him away from his current fantasy owner.
Brandon Pettigrew, TE: He may have the most to gain as Stafford will look for him when Johnson is heavily covered. There's a cautionary note here because fellow TE Tony Scheffler occasionally gets in on the passing game, too, but Stafford and Pettigrew started connecting frequently late last season.
Jahvid Best, RB: The rookie held the fort for the Detroit offense while Stafford was out, actually managing more receiving yards than rushing yards. A more balanced offense means he may have the element of surprise more often.
The news after Week 1 of the NBA season is that none of the "Three Kings" are among the top-ranked fantasy players thus far. Dwyane Wade is third in total points and LeBron James is fifth, but unless you count James' league-leading 25 turnovers, none of them leads a stat category. Russell Westbrook, PG, Oklahoma City was the Week 1 fantasy stud, with 67 points, 20 rebounds, 22 assists and eight steals.
* ESPN's Talented Mr. Roto is not going to waive Randy Moss, despite the fact Moss has been waived by Minnesota. But TMR is in a 14-team league, and if you're in a 10-team or 12-team league, there must be somebody else available. You can wait for Moss to land a job, but if Tom Brady and Brett Favre couldn't get much out of him, who will?
* Bleacher Report recaps Week 8, and looks ahead to the second half of the season.
* The Big Lead spots LaGarrette Blount as a big waiver wire pick-up after his big performance in Week 8.
* FanHouse says Steven Jackson's best days are over. Doesn't someone say that about this time every year? The difference this year is that QB Sam Bradford is improving every week, and Jackson isn't being counted on to carry the load.
* Fantasy Football Toolbox has the bad news on Kenny Britt. His season could very well be over due to injury just one week after he was the most celebrated WR waiver wire pick.
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