Before each game this season, I will provide fantasy football advice about which Detroit Lions you should start or sit. Even if you don't have any Lions on your fantasy team(s), this might still be useful in projecting how the week will pan out for the Honolulu Blue and Silver.
Of course, same caveats as last year apply: I'm just a regular NFL fan who has an armchair where I like to sit and read a lot and develop opinions.
These are some of my opinions for Week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals:
LAST WEEK: I said to start Stafford and that he would finish top 8. He finished a peg back from that at No. 9, passing for 357 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception. He also ran for 5 yards.
THIS WEEK: Last December, Stafford put up a grand total of 3 fantasy points against the Cardinals. Don't think he hasn't forgotten that nightmare before Christmas, but also don't expect the Cardinals to not bring the pressure again.
Stafford thrived vs. the Minnesota Vikings when not facing the blitz (68 percent and over 8 yards per attempt); however, the Cardinals will blitz and blitz often. Another poor road performance is certainly not out of the question.
That said, if you have Stafford on your team, you likely don't have a serviceable replacement, and history has never repeated itself, right? After an encouraging Week 1 performance, I just feel like you need to stick with him and see.
VERDICT: Start. Top 8. For real this time.
RB Reggie Bush
LAST WEEK: Despite dislocating his thumb, pulling a groin and dealing with a hip injury, Bush still caught 4 passes (on 8 targets) for 101 yards, including a 77-yard score, and he ran 21 times for 90 yards. Bush was the No. 2 ranked running back.
THIS WEEK: Banged up or not, the Lions do not seem eager to decrease Bush's workload any, which is good for his fantasy value, but may not be good for his health long term.
The Cardinals were No. 28 against the run in 2012, but they held the St. Louis Rams to 67 yards rushing in Week 1. Coincidentally, Bush's only career game against the Cardinals, last fall, resulted in him gaining only 67 all-purpose yards. That game stands to this day as one of only three games in Bush's career in which he wasn't targeted once out of the backfield.
Bush will get targets out of the backfield -- plenty of them -- and he will likely have more than 67 total yards this week.
VERDICT: Start. Top 10 PPR again.
RB Joique Bell
LAST WEEK: I'm ashamed I did not include Bell, but after scoring twice, catching 5 passes (on 6 targets) for 67 yards and another 25 yards on the ground (AND an awesome touchdown celebration), Bell deserves mention this week. Bell was the No. 4 ranked fantasy RB last week! So the Lions had No. 2 and No. 4. Who would've thunk?
THIS WEEK: I've already touched on the Cards defense against the run. It could be really bad or pretty good. It's hard to tell this early.
What we do know is that Bell is going to catch passes and get more involved in the Lions offense, especially if Bush is at all limited due to his three(-plus?) injuries. Bell vultured a couple touchdowns from Bush in Week 1, but I would guess that Bell starts to get the initial call in tough-yardage situations going forward. Relying on touchdown-dependent players can be a dangerous game, though.
VERDICT: PPR flex. (For what it's worth, though, a co-worker asked me if he should start Julian Edelman or Bell in his flex spot -- I said Edelman.)
WR Calvin Johnson
LAST WEEK: Yet another touchdown reversed due to the Megatron Process Rule and another within inches prevented the usual monster fantasy game. Johnson finished with only 4 catches for 37 yards on a team-high 9 targets. He's in another commercial, too.
THIS WEEK: For as bad as Stafford was against the Cardinals last year, Johnson turned out okay to the tune of 121 yards on 10 catches. I expect Stafford to rely on Johnson again this year.
A year after Patrick Peterson called himself the best corner in the league before facing Johnson, Bruce Arians is now saying Peterson could be a top wideout on offense and is currently toying with that idea. Here, Megatron gives free lessons.
VERDICT: Automatic start still. Touchdown.
WR Ryan Broyles
LAST WEEK: Inactive. Good sit.
THIS WEEK: Most likely another inactive.
LAST WEEK: I said he could be a bit of a sleeper this year, but to sit him in Week 1. Turns out, he would've been a crazy, albeit better play over Johnson, as he caught all of his 6 targets for 78 yards.
THIS WEEK: With Broyles probably out again and Pettigrew continuing to disappoint, Burleson remains the immediate beneficiary of teams locking down on Johnson and Bush. The Cardinals gave up 299 passing yards to the Rams last week and I can't see them giving up fewer to the Lions. I expect Burleson to have similar numbers to what he produced in Week 1, but you should have other, more confident options.
VERDICT: A low-end PPR flex play in deeper 3-WR leagues. Mostly, just sit.
LAST WEEK: Here I thought all the glowing reports of Pettigrew being in the best shape of his life were going to mean he's a different player, but he showed in Week 1 that not much has changed. Pettigrew caught 2 balls for 6 yards on 4 targets and lost a fumble. Hey, at least he didn't drop any passes!
THIS WEEK: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, well, you're not going to fool me again. And I feel like I've used that George Bush line on Pettigrew before. I'm done did fooled. [sic]
VERDICT: Sit. Maybe release?
LAST WEEK: I said Akers would be a top 10 kicker last week and he was No. 7. He made all 4 of his point after attempts and 2 field goals, one from 30-39 yards and another from 40-49 yards out.
THIS WEEK: One leg that finished ahead of Akers last week was the kicker who played these Cardinals -- Greg "The Leg" Zuerlein. I see a lot of points being put up on the board, so you just have to guess whether or not there will be enough field goals to make it worth it. I think Akers is a safe play.
VERDICT: Safe start, as he should be top 10 again, but you might be able to find top 5 in free agency by playing the right matchup.
LAST WEEK: I said the Lions D/ST could be a fine play and they rewarded my faith with 10 fantasy points via 3 interceptions, 3 sacks and a fumble recovery. They would've had more points, but a pick-six was called back due to Ndamukong Suh's penalty. The Lions D/ST finished No. 8, and three teams ahead of them would've been even crazier starts, in my opinion.
THIS WEEK: Even though the Rams had a respectable output in Week 1, the Cards dropping 38 points on the Lions last year is enough for me to stay away from this road matchup. I'll cash in on my winnings from last week and gamble elsewhere this week.
What say you? Leave your thoughts in the comments.