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Fantasy football: Calvin Johnson seeking TDs; owners seeking answers

Lions wide receiver CalvJohnshas racked up 558 yards this seasbut has found end zone just once. | Rich Schultz~Getty Images

Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson has racked up 558 yards this season but has found the end zone just once. | Rich Schultz~Getty Images

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Updated: November 18, 2012 6:49AM

Something strange is going on in Detroit, and it has nothing to do with Hockeytown not having hockey.

Calvin Johnson, the No. 1-ranked wide receiver entering the season, is fourth in the NFL with 558 receiving yards. He’s averaging a whopping 15.9 yards per catch. He’s one of the most difficult matchups in the red zone because of his size (6-5), strength and jumping ability.

So how in the name of Herman Moore does he have just one touchdown catch and none from Matthew Stafford, who connected with him for 16 touchdowns last season (Shaun Hill had the honor of throwing a touchdown pass to Johnson while Stafford was hurt in Week 3)?

Lions coach Jim Schwartz has said defenses are aiming to slow the passing game. More defenders are dropping into coverage, and the Lions haven’t been able to counter. They still are looking to Johnson a ton. Before being targeted 13 times Sunday against the Eagles, Johnson was targeted 12 times in three consecutive games.

But the touchdowns aren’t coming, and the problem could snowball if the Lions don’t get their act together. They visit the Bears on Monday and the Seahawks next week. Both have allowed only five touchdown passes, tied for the second-fewest in the league. What’s more, the Bears’ defense ranks third overall and the Seahawks’ fourth.

You’re not benching Johnson. He still has three games with double-digit points, including his 22-point outing in Week 3 (164 yards, one touchdown). But you might have to lower your expectations if the next two games don’t go well. The Jaguars follow, but the competition ratchets up with the Vikings, Packers and Texans. Before you know it, it’s December.

You have to prepare for the worst. Chris Johnson owners have to adjust their rosters while the Titans running back tries to find himself (I’m painfully aware of the search). If you own Calvin Johnson, your wide receiver depth is probably thin. That has to change. Try to improve your second or third receiver to supplement your scoring.

Trading Calvin is an option, but you’d have to get a bounty in return considering where you drafted him. You wouldn’t exactly be selling high, either. Plus, Megatron hasn’t been nearly the bust that CJ2K has, so you might actually hurt yourself more at wide receiver than help yourself at another position.

Ride out Johnson’s scoring slump, but have the reinforcements ready.

Box-score bits

The Browns took wide receiver Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft, using their 2013 second-round pick. That says a lot about what they think of the Baylor product. He has five catches for 181 yards and three touchdowns in the last two games. He looks like a big-play waiting to happen, albeit for the Browns.

◆ William Powell appears to be the Cardinals running back you want — if you want a Cardinals running back. He outgained LaRod Stephens-Howling 70-22 on two more carries (13-11) on Sunday. Likewise, Alex Green outcarried James Starks 22-5 for the Packers, though Aaron Rodgers carried the day.


Bye weeks: Falcons, Broncos, Chiefs, Dolphins, Eagles, Chargers.


Redskins at Giants: No. 5 offense at No. 3 offense. With six teams on bye, look here for help.


Seahawks at 49ers: No. 4 defense at No. 1 defense. This doesn’t figure to be pretty.


Colts QB Andrew Luck: Expect a bounce-back against the Browns’ 30th-ranked pass defense.

Buccaneers RB Doug Martin: The Saints are back from their bye. Running backs around the league rejoice.

Jets TE Dustin Keller: He’s back in the lineup. Get him in your lineup against the Patriots’ 28th-ranked pass defense.


Vikings QB Christian Ponder: His pace figures to slow against the Cardinals, who are third in sacks and third in completion percentage against.

Lions RB Mikel Leshoure: The Bears have allowed a league-low 279 rushing yards to running backs.

Jets RB Shonn Greene: Movie line: “It’s not so much me as it’s Roenick.” Translation: “It wasn’t so much Greene as it was the Colts.”



WR Percy Harvin: 11 catches, 133 yards

WR Andrew Hawkins: 5 catches, 35 yards

RB Darren McFadden: 98 total yards, TD run


WR Vincent Jackson: 4 catches, 66 yards, 2 TDs

RB Marshawn Lynch: 52 total yards

RB Alfred Morris: 56 total yards, TD run

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