Each week this season, I will provide fantasy football advice about which Detroit Lions to start or sit. Even if you don't have any Lions on your fantasy team(s) or really just don't care to have another opinion messing with your ultimate decisions, this could very well serve as a preview of sorts for what to expect come game day.
QB Matthew Stafford
LAST WEEK (Week 4): Stafford threw 51 times for 319 yards, but failed to throw a touchdown for the first time since Week 1 in 2010, snapping a 21-game regular season streak. Stafford did find the end zone on a QB sneak, though, and he had 14 total yards rushing.
THIS WEEK: The Eagles are ninth in the NFL in opposing passing yards (209 yards per game) and have only allowed six passing touchdowns in five games while picking off the same number of passes. Coming into the season, the Eagles posed as one of only three "red" or "stay away" games for Stafford. Now, the Lions think they might be able to exploit some of the Eagles' coverages and ESPN still thinks Stafford's a top 10 player this week, but if you're going to stray from Stafford, this is probably the week. You might regret it, though.
VERDICT: I'm going with him.
RB Mikel Leshoure
LAST WEEK: After running for 100 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries in his NFL debut, he saw half the carries and only picked up a quarter of the yardage with no touchdowns. He also caught four balls for 37 yards out of the backfield.
THIS WEEK: For as good as the Eagles are against the pass, they've been every bit as good against the run. Only two teams have rushed over the century mark and opponents only have one rushing touchdown in five games.
Opponents haven't really stuck with the running game like the Lions might, though. If Leshoure is to see 26 carries, it'd be the most by a single ball carrier against the Eagles this season. Leshoure's also going to get dump offs, so he obviously adds value in PPR leagues.
VERDICT: Deep PPR play.
WR Calvin Johnson
LAST WEEK: Calvin was targeted 12 times again, but he only caught five balls for 54 yards with no scores.
THIS WEEK: Megatron says it's no more Mr. Nice Guy.
VERDICT: That's good enough for me.
WR Nate Burleson
LAST WEEK: Burleson saw eight targets, caught five of them for 51 yards and ran the ball once for eight yards.
THIS WEEK: There should once again be plenty of targets to go around, making Burleson an interesting thought at a FLEX spot. But the Lions insist they're going to keep trying to establish the run game and get Burleson's backup, Titus Young, more involved. This isn't the worst matchup Burleson has seen this season, but it's not good, either.
VERDICT: Hopefully you have better FLEX options.
WR Titus Young
LAST WEEK: Young saw a drop off in targets in Week 4 with only three, catching just one of them for 19 yards.
THIS WEEK: So the Hail Mary wasn't the "break" to Young's "break out," but the Lions continue to say that they will try to get him more involved. Unfortunately, Young missed more practice time with a knee injury and I don't see major production from him against the Eagles.
VERDICT: Although he may be able to get loose over the top a couple times, this is not the right week to get ballsy.
TE Brandon Pettigrew
LAST WEEK: Pettigrew had seven catches (nine targets) for 67 yards. Drops continue to be a problem.
THIS WEEK: Pettigrew is a top 10 TE who sees top 5 targets. While drops may continue to be a problem, it's really only keeping him from being a stud fantasy TE. He remains Stafford's safety valve and a safe play week to week.
TE Tony Scheffler
LAST WEEK: After missing a week due to injury, he caught a pass on three targets for 19 yards against the Vikings.
THIS WEEK: Who knows how many targets he's going to get week to week, but the Lions do use the two tight end formation quite a bit. You should probably have a better option, though.
VERDICT: Not if you don't have to.
LAST WEEK: Two more special teams touchdowns allowed, a couple sacks and no turnovers.
THIS WEEK: Michael Vick turns the ball over more than anyone in the NFL, but until the Lions can prove they can stop a quarterback and a kick/punt returner, they're a desperate play.
K Jason Hanson
LAST WEEK: 2/2 FGM/FGA and an extra point.
THIS WEEK: The Eagles' defense has forced opposing offenses into 12 field goal attempts over five games. The Lions offense is good enough to guarantee Hanson a couple opportunities at the very least.
VERDICT: Not a bad matchup.
What do you think? Have any fantasy questions? Comment below.