Both Calvin Johnson and the Detroit Lions expect that Megatron will suit up this afternoon against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but should that automatically mean that fantasy football owners should start him? Not only has he failed to come even close to replicating last season’s historical numbers, but his injury has limit his production yet again today.
In fact, it may also limit the amount of snaps he plays in for Detroit on Sunday.
Reports have surfaced that the Lions are still likely to play Johnson today, although he may be limited to just playing on third downs or in obvious passing situations. If that is the case, expectations must be tempered even more when it comes to the most talented wide receiver in the National Football League, despite the fact that his numbers are not where fantasy football owners would like them to be through the first half of the 2012 NFL season.
The Lions – like Johnson – have struggled in 2012. The offense has failed to deliver in big situations, and their record is indicative of how they have played. Still, the Jaguars are not a very good football team. That means that Detroit could finally jump out to a lead and coast the second half. If that is the case, expect the Lions not to put Johnson on the field any more than necessary.
Then again, it is almost impossible to predict just how effective Johnson will be if he plays. I would be surprised if Johnson is inactive, although it is not beyond the realm of possibility. If his knee feels worse this morning than it has all week, he may not even play. After all, Johnson has missed the entire week of practice for the Lions.
And then, there is the flip side of the coin. Johnson could play today and score three touchdowns. A player of his caliber does not have to play in 80 percent of his team’s plays in order to put up decent numbers. He could come in strictly in third down or passing plays and catch three or four balls for 40 yards. Of course, two or three of those catches could be for touchdowns, making Johnson one of the best plays even if he is only on the field for less than half of Detroit’s plays.
You have to play Johnson at your own risk. If you have better options, then maybe you roll the dice and sit Johnson, who has struggled this year even when healthy.
Then again, can you really sit the player you drafted in the first or second round for a player who is far less gifted? If Johnson plays, I would play him, regardless of how few snaps he is slated to play. I would rather lose with him in my lineup then by playing an inferior player just because of a hunch.