By Bryan Sweet, DFW Senior Writer and Co-Owner, @FantasyFreakDFW



Marvin Jones entered the NFL as a fifth-round pick out of California in the 2012 NFL Draft.  During that 2012 season, Jones was in and out of the lineup along with appearances on the injury report, costing him five games during his rookie year.  Jones had his coming out party in 2013, specifically in week eight against the Jets with eight catches (on eight targets) for 122 yards and four TDs.  Jones would finish the year with 10 TDs and 712 receiving yards.  A foot injury cost Jones the entire 2014 season, but he went on to produce an even better 2015 yardage-wise with 816 but just four TDs.  During the free agency period, Jones elected to sign with Detroit despite being offered a nearly identical deal from the Bengals.  Jones wanted the opportunity to prove himself as a #1 WR, and he likely would never get that chance playing opposite A.J. Green in Cincinnati.  Jones’ deal is for five years and is worth $40 million with $20 million guaranteed.




marvin2bThe retirement of Calvin Johnson left a Megatron-sized hole at the WR position in Detroit.  The Lions acted swiftly once free agency began, signing the best available WR in Jones.  Jones will get the opportunity to prove to teams, and fantasy owners, that he has the ability to be an impact #1 WR in the NFL.  Johnson’s departure leaves 149 targets unaccounted for, and the main beneficiary would appear to be Jones.  Assuming Jones sees 80% of those targets, he’s looking at about 120 targets.  Based on his career averages, that would put Jones in line for about 75 receptions, 950 yards and eight TDs.  We might have to drop those projections some (maybe 10%) to account for the fact Jones will be facing the opposing team’s top defender most of the time.  Even at that, Jones looks primed for a solid fantasy WR2 season and is a viable target in the middle rounds of 12-team leagues.


Jones can’t be expected to replicate the numbers Johnson did during his time with Detroit, and he likely won’t be asked to.  Detroit has a plethora of pass-catching options, including Golden Tate, Theo Riddick, Brandon Pettigrew, and Eric Ebron to go along with Jones and through their collaborative effort will offset the loss of Johnson.  OC Jim Bob Cooter seemed to be the catalyst to Detroit’s late-season emergence and has been named the full-time OC heading into the 2016 season.  The Lions have all the components to be a potent offense in 2016, and should provide Matthew Stafford with the weapons needed to finish as no worse than a high QB2 next season.


Jones was a key contributor to the Bengals in 2015, but was frequently the third option behind A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert.  In addition to the loss of Jones, Cincinnati also lost #3 WR Mohammed Sanu to the Falcons, opening the door for Brandon LaFell to be the next man up.  OC Hue Jackson is also in another zip code, taking over the head coaching duties in Cleveland.  Individually, the losses of Jones, Sanu and Jackson would be palatable, but all three would indicate a decline in production from Cincinnati’s offense.  A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert will continue to operate as a #1 options at their respective positions.  Jeremy Hill regressed last season, often being outplayed by Giovani Bernard, and both will continue to negatively affect each other’s value.  Andy Dalton may see more attempts under new OC Ken Zampese, but finishing higher than he did last season will be difficult.