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 8 vs. the Dallas Cowboys:
QB Matthew Stafford
LAST WEEK: I said to start him and that he'd finish Top 10. He finished Top 3 with 357 yards passing and 3 touchdowns (0 turnovers). Stafford's strong start propelled him into the No. 2 spot for fantasy QBs.
THIS WEEK: If you're in an ESPN league, when you go to set your lineups this week, you'll see Dallas as the 32nd ranked team against fantasy quarterbacks and then you'll move on to the next position, leaving Stafford as is. That's exactly what you should do. Seriously.
If you must know, though, the Cowboys' ranking is slightly skewed by a few monster games, as the big D's D hasn't allowed a passing touchdown in the last two games and has given up only 446 yards combined.
I don't suspect their recent success will continue against the Lions. Look for Stafford to have another big game this week against his hometown team.
VERDICT: Start. Better than Tony Romo.
RB Reggie Bush
LAST WEEK: I guessed Top 15 PPR, but he was No. 17. Bush had 50 rushing yards on 20 carries and another 44 yards on 3 catches (5 targets). No touchdowns.
THIS WEEK: The 'Boys are 13th against the run, allowing just over 100 yards per game on 4.3 yards per carry. They have allowed only 2 rushing touchdowns all season. But Dallas is 25th in fantasy against opposing running backs because teams have been seemingly taking advantage of the dump-offs against them. In seven games, running backs have a combined 52 catches. This is where Bush will make up for lost fantasy points elsewhere.
Last week on the road against Philadelphia was Dallas' best game since the backfield-less New York Giants in Week 1. Even so, LeSean McCoy was still able to put up some Bush-like numbers with pedestrian rushing yards, but a lot of targets out of the backfield (McCoy finished No. 14 in PPR leagues).
I think, at worst, Bush's receiving will save fantasy owners this week.
VERDICT: Start. Top 15 PPR.
RB Joique Bell
LAST WEEK: Bell had 27 yards rushing and 29 yards receiving on 3 catches (4 targets).
THIS WEEK: Dallas is a good matchup for all the aforementioned reasons, but Bell's playing second fiddle to Bush and it's pure guesswork as to whether or not he'll get enough looks out of the backfield in the right spots to make a play at all worth the risk. At this point, Bell should be strictly an option in the deepest of PPR leagues. An option not necessarily used.
WR Calvin Johnson
LAST WEEK: If there were any questions about his health, he sent a pretty loud message as the No. 1 PPR fantasy player in Week 8. Johnson finished with 9 catches, 155 yards and 2 touchdowns, including one on a toss-up that looked eerily similar to his touchdown against the Cowboys in 2011, but this one was actually better.
THIS WEEK: Auto. Matic.
WR Ryan Broyles
LAST WEEK: 2 catches and 16 yards on 4 targets.
THIS WEEK: I'm considering taking him off this list...
WR Kris Durham
LAST WEEK: I said to sit mostly, but wouldn't be surprised if he saw 8-plus targets. He had 8 targets, catching 5 of them for 41 yards, which would've made him an acceptable start in deeper 3-WR leagues.
THIS WEEK: It's hard to ignore Durham now. In the last three weeks, he has been targeted 28 times. That puts him into WR2 conversations if extrapolated over the course of a season. I'd say he should be owned in all PPR leagues at this point, but it's still hard to say how much you should trust deploying him in your lineups.
VERDICT: Deeper PPR leagues, if you must.
TE Brandon Pettigrew
LAST WEEK: Pettigrew caught the touchdown pass the Bengals seem to be giving out to tight ends each week and saw the most tight end targets on the Lions (7), but he only caught 3 passes for 7 yards.
THIS WEEK: The Cowboys give up the fourth most fantasy points to tight ends, so if you have Pettigrew and you're dealing with a bye week or Jermichael Finley injury, Pettigrew's an interesting option.
Interesting stat: 11 of Pettigrew's 15 career touchdowns have come at Ford Field.
VERDICT: Desperate and deep PPR start.
TE Joseph Fauria
LAST WEEK: After catching 3 touchdowns in Cleveland, Fauria saw more action away from the red zone, but was held to just 1 catch for 15 yards on 4 targets.
THIS WEEK: If you're deciding between Lions tight ends, I still like Pettigrew as the safer play in PPR leagues, but Fauria has shown that he can be the more rewarding play. For what it's worth, Fauria has a higher average ranking on FantasyPros this week, which still falls outside the range of starting.
K David Akers
LAST WEEK: I guessed 6-10 points and he had 6 with a field goal and 3 extra points.
THIS WEEK: The Lions have the third most red zone scoring opportunities while at home and the Cowboys have allowed the sixth most red zone scoring opps in the league over the last three games. There will be scoring in this game, but I suspect there will also be a couple stalled out drives. That's how I will always gauge my fantasy kickers and you should too.
VERDICT: I think Akers is a healthy play at home. Top 7.
LAST WEEK: I picked them up in one of my leagues and they rewarded me with pretty much a wash. No turnovers, a sack and 24 points.
THIS WEEK: Since Romo's susceptible to throwing the ball away when rushed -- Ndamukong Suh knows what I'm talking about -- I'm inclined to believe the Lions may finally be the defense that scores against the Cowboys this year. Of course, that's a lot to gamble on when the Cowboys offense is good and the Lions defense is usually not.
What say you? Leave your thoughts in the comments.