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: With 441 yards and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions and 7 yards rushing, Stafford scored 30 points (according to my league's settings) for the third time in five weeks and was the fifth highest scoring fantasy quarterback in Week 12.
THIS WEEK: The Indianapolis Colts have not once held an opposing fantasy QB this year to fewer than 10 points. The closest they came was last week against the Buffalo Bills, which are the 25th passing offense in the NFL in terms of yards per game. The Lions, as you all know, are No. 1.
Coming into the season, the Colts provided Stafford with one of just two green matchups. The Colts are a lot better than expected this season, but they're still 19th against the pass and give up more fantasy points than the average team.
The Colts have only played two top quarterbacks this season -- Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers -- and both put up 30-plus fantasy points. The next best quarterback they faced was Jay Cutler in Week 1 and he threw 2 touchdowns with over 300 yards. If that's not enough to convince you to play Stafford, the Colts will be without starting safety Tom Zbikowski.
Stafford is going to get his.
RB Mikel Leshoure
LAST WEEK: Leshoure found the end zone, saving you from kind of a stinker if you played him, because he only had 32 yards rushing and 27 yards receiving on 2 catches. At least he was better than Vick Ballard, in whom I ill-advisedly put my trust last week.
THIS WEEK: The Colts' fantasy run defense numbers might be skewed by a couple monster weeks they've allowed to the Bears in Week 1 and the Jets in Week 6, but overall their run defense stacks up worse than their pass defense. This from Jerry Reisman's always great "On Paper:"
Overall, they are ceding a whopping 4.8 yards a carry (30th). They've given up the fifth-most runs of 20+ yards (11) and the second-most runs of 40+ yards (5). A fair assessment of the Colts run defense is: average, but prone to giving up a big play.
Leshoure is ranked in the middle of the pack by ESPN experts, but he should be a confident play as an RB2.
RB Joique Bell
LAST WEEK: I missed on Bell last week because he scored a touchdown. Sorry.
THIS WEEK: Still not a fan of Bell unless you're desperate and in a PPR league.
VERDICT: I'm not.
WR Calvin Johnson
LAST WEEK: 8 catches, 140 yards and a touchdown. 17 targets. Stud.
THIS WEEK: Megatron.
WR Titus Young
LAST WEEK: Ass.
THIS WEEK: Clown.
VERDICT: Over him.
WR Ryan Broyles
LAST WEEK: Broyles was my big miss last week, seeing as he caught 6 passes for 126 yards on 12 targets.
THIS WEEK: Shawn Jefferson wants Ryan Broyles to be the black Wes Welker by this time next year. It didn't quite work out that way for Nate Burleson, but I guess it's possible for Broyles, who will continue to see WR2 targets as teams (TRY) to lock down on Megatron.
The Colts are 29th against opposing fantasy wide receivers, so Broyles could look very Wes Welker-y this week.
VERDICT: Confident WR3 or FLEX.
TE Brandon Pettigrew
LAST WEEK: Pettigrew saw the second-most targets for the Lions last week (15), catching 8 passes for 74 yards. He also had a costly lost fumble.
THIS WEEK: The best part of the Colts' fantasy defense is against opposing tight ends, allowing less than the average at ninth in the NFL. That said, they've given up 4 touchdowns in the last four weeks and Pettigrew is going to continue to see targets from Stafford, drops and fumble problems and all.
VERDICT: Top-10 TE.
LAST WEEK: 3 sacks, 1 interception and 34 points.
THIS WEEK: Defenses are scoring above average against the Colts and I feel like the Lions are due for a defensive touchdown, but the odds are that this one is more of a back-and-forth game than not.
VERDICT: Better options out there.
K Jason Hanson
LAST WEEK: 4 extra points and 1-for-2 on field goals.
THIS WEEK: The Lions should have plenty of opportunities to score points this week, which means Hanson will once again have chances to get fantasy owners points.
VERDICT: Top-five kicker again this week.
What do you think? Have any fantasy questions? Comment below.
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