After nine seasons, Calvin Johnson is no longer a Detroit Lion. The man who established himself as the greatest wide receiver in Lions history announced his retirement on Tuesday, capping a career that saw him catch 731 balls for 11,619 yards (including an NFL-record 1,964 yards in 2012) while scoring 84 total touchdowns.
During that time, he was undoubtedly a fantasy football monster. Johnson finished among the top 10 at his position six times and was the top wideout on two of those occasions. The upside is that he is leaving at a position that is arguably the deepest in all of fantasy football. Even without Megatron, fantasy managers still have a slew of top-notch receivers to rely on like Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, Jr. and Julio Jones.
But now that Johnson is out of the picture in Detroit, it will have a far-reaching fantasy impact across the rest of the roster. With free agency set to officially open on Wednesday, wide receiver now becomes a position need for the team. Does this mean Detroit steps up its pursuit of Marvin Jones or Travis Benjamin? Perhaps the team chooses to fill the need through the draft, which would be entirely possible with Laquon Treadwell being forecast to land in their lap with the 16th pick.
Matthew Stafford won't be left unscathed, either. While Detroit's offense has thrown the ball less over the past few years, Stafford still is in the top 10 in pass attempts each season, with an overwhelming majority of those throws going in Megatron's direction. Over the past five seasons, Calvin Johnson has seen 38 percent of the targets in the Lions offense. The next closest player in that stretch? Brandon Pettigrew at 15 percent. In some respects, Stafford will have to relearn the Lions offense now that his favorite target is gone. It might not be all bad -- spreading the ball around should make the passing game a little tougher to scheme for -- but it also means that Stafford might not have a built-in bailout for some of his riskier throws.