Fantasy football preview: Patriots vs. Lions

Jared Wickerham

The New England Patriots will take on the Detroit Lions on Thursday. We break down the fantasy implications.

The New England Patriots and Detroit Lions will face off for their third preseason game on Thursday. New England and Detroit both have some very solid fantasy options, most of which are already established, but it will be nice to get a good look at them in the third game, regardless. Traditionally, this is when starters see their most playing time before the regular season.

More: For more on the Patriots, visit Pats Pulpit and for more on the Lions, visit Pride of Detroit

For New England, the fantasy options are obvious. Tom Brady is and always has been a fantasy juggernaut. He might not be the top quarterback taken in your fantasy draft, but he'll be one of the top five, that's for certain. He's looked good in preseason action thus far and another near-perfect day is just about expected at this point when Thursday rolls around.

As far as other options are concerned, there's running back Stevan Ridley. He had a fantastic rookie season, putting up 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns. He'll be the starter this year as well, but his backup, LeGarrette Blount, has been playing well and may take some carries from him. Watching how the carries are split should be priority on Thursday.

For the Lions, Matthew Stafford is an obvious choice. He put up 4,967 yards and 20 touchdowns last year, and in 2011 had over 5000 yards and 41 touchdowns. He's got the tools to be your No. 1 quarterback, he just needs to show he's not going to regress further this year.

Until they show something in the running game, you should probably avoid Reggie Bush, but it will be interesting to see how he does nonetheless. Calvin Johnson is and should be the top receiver taken. He's just the best in the league right now. Other receiving options are few and far between at this point.

More from SB Nation:

Fantasy War Room

2013 fantasy football QB rankings

2013 fantasy football RB rankings

2013 fantasy football WR rankings

2013 fantasy football TE rankings

Strategy for drafting team defense

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