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: Stafford struggled again in the "firStaff" but rebounded for a second week in a row in the second half. He finished with 230 yards, a touchdown, a bad pick and a nice run.
THIS WEEK: Despite the suspect performances, he hasn't been killing your fantasy team. The strong second halves are enough for me to not be concerned at all, yet. In Week 3, Tennessee provides Stafford an opportunity to break out of his mini funk. The Titans have already faced a couple tough passing teams -- Tom Brady and Philip Rivers -- and allowed above-average performances. Calvin Johnson told the media this week that if the Titans implement the coverages they've been watching on tape, the Lions passing game should have a big game. Just watch out for Kamerion Wimbley.
VERDICT: Automatic start still.
RB Kevin Smith
LAST WEEK: Surprisingly, you could've done worse than Kevin Smith last week against a very tough 49ers defense, like Chris Johnson. With the 49ers geared to stop the pass, the Lions tried to establish the run game. Smith carried the ball 16 times for 53 yards and had another three targets out of the backfield (two receptions, 17 yards).
THIS WEEK: As you all know, Mikel Leshoure is back and I can't imagine Jim Schwartz not deploying him early and often. However, Smith is expected to start and get his share of touches. Tennessee's allowed opposing running backs to rack up 295 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns and will likely key in on the Lions' passing game, like most opponents will do. ESPN's projecting Smith to have a nice, start-worthy week, and despite having my doubts because of Leshoure's return, I think you need to see how the RB situation plays out before outright benching Smith.
RB Mikel Leshoure
LAST WEEK: Suspended
THIS WEEK: Nobody knows exactly how much action Leshoure will see, but there's reasonable excitement in the air. The expectations are that he will see the majority of his time on the field during short-yardage downs and goal-line situations, giving the Lions a tough-yardage back they haven't had since James Stewart. But this makes him a tough play in fantasy because the majority of his points will come from touchdowns. If you think he will score a touchdown or two, he's probably worth a start in deeper leagues. I think he'll score a touchdown in his debut.
VERDICT: Touchdown! Play him in deeper leagues.
Keepers - A Look At Fantasy Football In Week 3!
WR Calvin Johnson
LAST WEEK: For the second week in a row, he was kept out of the end zone. Of course, that didn't stop him from having eight receptions (on 12 targets) for 94 yards.
THIS WEEK: Johnson is expected to go up against average corner Jason McCourty, but despite the Titans getting blown out twice, they still have not allowed a touchdown to an opposing wide receiver. I have to believe that will end this week via a Megatron trip to the end zone.
VERDICT: Have I ever told you before how hard you should start Calvin Johnson every week?
WR Nate Burleson
LAST WEEK: Burleson only had three targets in Week 2, which was good for a catch and 11 yards. Burleson also got two carries on reverses but only picked up five yards.
THIS WEEK: Until Titus Young figures it out, Burleson remains the No. 2 WR in a typically pass-happy offense. While I would still roll the dice with Burleson in deeper leagues, Alterraun Verner presents Burleson with a tough matchup this week, assuming that's with whom he matches up. Again, the Titans have done a good job shutting down opposing wide receivers.
VERDICT: Hopefully you have a better option.
WR Titus Young
LAST WEEK: Like Burleson, Young was targeted three times, but he only wound up with a catch and 11 yards receiving. He had no other touches.
THIS WEEK: Young is still owned by 74 percent of ESPN fantasy owners, but that comes with a 12 percent drop this week. He still gives the Lions a great over-the-top threat and, although Ryan Broyles was active last week, the Lions aren't going to give up on him yet, especially with Stafford's first half problems. All it takes is one big-yardage play and he's a decent fantasy play.
VERDICT: Gutsy until he shows some life, but I could see a good game here.
TE Brandon Pettigrew
LAST WEEK: After seeing the most targets (10) in Week 1, Pettigrew only saw four in Week 2 and finished with three receptions, 18 yards and a touchdown.
THIS WEEK: Pettigrew will continue to be Stafford's safety valve in the passing game. The Titans have allowed FIVE touchdowns to tight ends in the first two weeks, including three to Dante Rosario last week. I think Pettigrew makes it at least six this week.
TE Tony Scheffler
LAST WEEK: After eight targets in Week 1, Scheffler saw three in Week 2. He finished with a catch, 13 yards and an injury.
THIS WEEK: Doubtful.
*Heller might be this week's Rosario surprise if you're already weak at TE and want to take a gamble.
LAST WEEK: 27 points, a fumble recovery and three sacks.
THIS WEEK: The Titans have made opposing defenses look good -- I mean really good -- through two weeks. Their quarterbacks are a mess and Chris Johnson is averaging 1.1 yards per carry.
VERDICT: One of the better matchups this week
K Jason Hanson
LAST WEEK: 4/5 FGM/FGA and an extra point.
THIS WEEK: I don't think the Titans are going to force the Lions into too many field goals, but worst-case scenario, there's a repeat of last week where Hanson is attempting multiple field goals and getting you points there.
VERDICT: If you like points.
What do you think? Have any fantasy questions? Comment below.
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