Fantasy hint: Lions' Mikel Leshoure

September, 18, 2012
9/18/12
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You know by now that I'm far from qualified to give direct fantasy football advice. What I do try to provide when possible is assessments from actual football decision-makers and/or players that should influence your thinking.

That's what we did earlier this month when discussing Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler's affinity for receiver Alshon Jeffery. And that's what I'll do this Tuesday as the Detroit Lions welcome back running back Mikel Leshoure from a two-game NFL suspension.

It appears the Lions are prepared to give Leshoure as much work as his conditioning will allow in Sunday's game at the Tennessee Titans. As we discussed late Sunday night, their current running backs couldn't capitalize on a San Francisco 49ers defense that challenged the Lions to run. And offensive coordinator Scott Linehan seemed awfully excited to get Leshoure back during an interview with the Lions' website.

Linehan noted that Leshoure hasn't played a full four-quarter game since December 2010 but said "he'll certainly be involved heavily in the game plan and we'll go from there."

Linehan added: "People are pretty keyed into our passing game right now, playing man-under, safeties back, make you have to really work to earn to get guys open. It's not so hard to figure out that if you can crease out some runs the way Mikel did in the Buffalo preseason game or even when he made some fabulous one-yard runs in the Oakland game, that can be a pretty good way to go if that's the way people are defending us."

Over time, I think everyone is expecting the Lions to be a pass-first team. But to the extent that defenses invite them to run the ball, they're planning to use Leshoure as much as possible right away. Assuming he has recovered fully from last year's torn Achilles tendon, he is by far the most talented running back on the Lions' roster now. So there you go.

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