Lions' Best, Leshoure loaded with upside 

June, 14, 2012
I'm guessing many of you don't know much about Detroit Lions running back Mikel Leshoure. Perhaps you'll click on his name to look at his 2011 stats, but you won't find any. Leshoure was a second-round pick by the Lions in 2011, and he tore his left Achilles tendon in August, negating his rookie season. He claims he's healthy now and ready to contribute, but he won't be helping the Lions or any fantasy owners the first two weeks of the 2012 season after being suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

So basically, you might be wondering why a fellow in trouble with the law and health matters is worthy of discussion in June. I'll tell you: It's because the Illinois product has skills, and unlike the speedier, electrifying Jahvid Best, I'm not particularly concerned about his long-term health as it relates to producing fantasy relevance. Best could be a top-10 running back if not for concussion woes, but they clearly still exist, and the team's depth must be explored for fantasy purposes.

[+] EnlargeJahvid Best
AP Photo/Rick OsentoskiJahvid Best averaged 4.6 yards per carry in 2011.
Leshoure is no guarantee to get opportunity. For one, Best really could be one of the "best," but he has to stay on the field. Last season he delivered a pair of 20-plus-point fantasy performances in the first five weeks, but soon after that he was gone. Best missed 10 games, and it wasn't exactly his first concussion. Best's college career at Cal was also affected by them. I've initially ranked Best just outside the top-30 running backs for this season, likely worse than most, but would be willing to select him earlier depending on the makeup of my team. The upside is clear. If I have significant depth or three reliable, consistent running backs on the roster, or if it's a point-per-reception format, I'll take Best earlier. He's talented when he gets into open field, catches many passes and is certainly fun to watch.