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: Thanks to another week full of garbage points, Stafford racked up his second 30+ point fantasy effort in three weeks. Against the Vikings he threw for 329 yards, ran for another 13 and had three touchdowns opposite just one interception.
THIS WEEK: The Packers' defense is just about average against opposing quarterbacks, but they also haven't faced an attack quite like the Lions' No. 1 pass offense. Save for an unlucky fantasy performance against the Jags, over the last few weeks Stafford's been every bit of the top five or six fantasy quarterback he was projected to be this season, throwing for six touchdowns and just shy of 1,000 yards.
ESPN ranks Stafford as the No. 5 QB this week, but I think he'll outscore Peyton Manning.
VERDICT: Start, unless you somehow have Stafford AND another top-five QB.
RB Mikel Leshoure
LAST WEEK: Leshoure had his least productive fantasy game of the year, not counting games he was suspended. He finished with 43 yards on 13 carries (3.3 yards per carry) and had one catch for five yards on three targets.
THIS WEEK: The Packers are a bit above average in holding opposing running backs in check in fantasy, but they have allowed four rushing touchdowns in the last five weeks, including three in their two road games during that span.
Leshoure has lost value in recent weeks, especially in PPR leagues, by the Lions going to Joique Bell more and more in the passing game. If you have confidence in playing him, you probably have confidence in your gut feeling that he will score a touchdown (or two or three). But the reality is that he has only scored in two of seven games, and the Lions will likely be passing quite a bit to keep up with the Packers.
VERDICT: Weak RB2
RB Joique Bell
LAST WEEK: Bell only carried the ball once for four yards, but he caught seven passes (on eight targets) for 44 yards.
THIS WEEK: Bell's an interesting gamble in PPR leagues because the Lions pass so frequently and have established Bell as their go-to back out of the backfield on passing plays. If he were to get double digit carries like he did against the Jags, he'd probably jump above Leshoure in PPR leagues. Unfortunately, that's not enough unless you're absolutely desperate in a deep league.
WR Calvin Johnson
LAST WEEK: He was supposed to be banged up and then he went out and caught 12 passes (on 13 targets) for 207 yards and a garbage time touchdown from Stafford, their first connection for a TD this year. Yeah, he's fine.
THIS WEEK: The Packers' banged up secondary will probably be no match for the Lions. When the Packers have played quality passing attacks this year, they've been torched. In four games, the Packers have allowed 35-plus points to opposing wide receivers and zero were nicknamed Megatron.
WR Titus Young Sr.
LAST WEEK: Four catches on seven targets, 35 yards and a touchdown.
THIS WEEK: If you follow the "experts," you're not to start any Lions wide receiver not named Calvin Johnson, but that doesn't exactly follow common sense. The Packers' secondary is going to give up more than a touchdown to Stafford and they're going to try to not let Johnson beat them. Someone else has to contribute. That means someone else's fantasy team will benefit. We've gone over this before.
Young has three touchdowns in the last three weeks and is averaging over seven targets in the last four. In the Lions' last game against the Packers, which happened to be high scoring, as this is being predicted to be, Young scored twice. Well, I think he has a pretty good game and scores again this week.
VERDICT: WR3 in PPR leagues.
WR Ryan Broyles
LAST WEEK: Broyles only saw one target, catching it for six yards.
THIS WEEK: If it's not for Young, the above reasoning could go here with Broyles, but as the No. 3 wide receiver on the depth chart, we're not going to take that risk, now are we?
VERDICT: Not worth the risk.
TE Brandon Pettigrew
LAST WEEK: For just the second time this season, Pettigrew found the end zone. In all, Pettigrew saw nine targets, catching three for 35 yards.
THIS WEEK: Pettigrew's targets were back up last week, perhaps making you re-hopeful that he's a solid play again, at least in PPR leagues. I admit I might be smitten again. Even though the Packers are slightly above average against opposing tight ends and haven't allowed one to score since Week 5, I'm going to give Pettigrew another chance this week. I think he scores again and I'm starting him over Vernon Davis in one of my leagues.
LAST WEEK: Two sacks and 34 points. Negative points.
THIS WEEK: Stay away. Stay very far away.
VERDICT: FAR AWAY.
K Jason Hanson
LAST WEEK: Three extra points and a 41-yard field goal.
THIS WEEK: If the Packers do manage to stop the Lions from scoring touchdowns, Hanson benefits, because I still think the Lions will get plenty of opportunities to put up at least three points. In other words, he's another steady play.
VERDICT: Top-five kicker this week.
What do you think? Have any fantasy questions? Comment below.