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 the Week 11 road matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers:
QB Matthew Stafford
LAST GAME: I said to start him, but a couple names I liked better did not fare as well (Tony Romo and Andrew Luck). Stafford passed for 219 yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception, good enough for Top 10 status.
THIS WEEK: This is my least favorite matchup of the season for Stafford. The Steelers are fourth against the pass in terms of yards (201.3) and are seventh in opponent passing touchdowns per game (1.1). The latter average is under 1.0 when the Steelers are playing in front of their own fans. They were similarly stingy last year as well.
Of course, the pass-happy Stafford has faced tough opponents and turned out just fine in the past. The fantasy numbers favored the Bengals pass defense against Detroit, and Stafford lit them up (357 yards, 3 touchdowns). Cleveland, on the road, too. So I'll say again, unless you have another top quarterback to handcuff Stafford, you will want to roll the dice with him.
RB Reggie Bush
LAST GAME I guessed Top 15 PPR, but fewer catches, yards receiving and not getting into the end zone made Bush only a so-so producer. He didn't kill you, though, because in addition to 3 catches and 8 yards, Bush ran for 105 yards.
THIS WEEK: The Lions should be able to run against the Steelers, if they dedicate themselves to it. The Steelers are 29th in opposing rushing yards per game (127) and touchdowns (1.3). They're better against the run at home, and the Lions are worse on the road, but it's hard to put too much stock into that. Bush is a weekly play and the Steelers' defense is bad against the run.
RB Joique Bell
LAST GAME Bell only had 41 yards rushing and no catches. Good sit.
THIS WEEK: I should just copy and paste this week to week: As long as Bush is healthy, Bell shouldn't be considered much in fantasy beyond deeper PPR leagues. This week, however, with the Steelers prone to giving up points to opposing running backs, I'd say you could do worse than Bell. I'd still sit him in most of your leagues unless you've got a Cowboy or Ram on bye.
WR Calvin Johnson
LAST GAME: 6 catches. 83 yards. 2 touchdowns. Mega-game.
THIS WEEK: I will copy and paste this one, though: You know how in some leagues you can't drop players that the league deems to be a "Keeper"? They shouldn't let you bench Megatron.
(Fun fact, though: In Johnson's only regular season game against Pittsburgh in his career -- Oct. 11, 2009 -- he had 1 catch for 2 yards. That would be a real fantasy dud, huh?)
WR Kris Durham
LAST GAME A deeper-league play would've been saved by the 6 points he got with a touchdown, but that was the only catch he made (on his only target).
THIS WEEK: With the return of Nate Burleson on the horizon, Durham's time as a viable fantasy option may be coming to an end.
TE Brandon Pettigrew
LAST GAME: Pettigrew was a Top 10 tight end last week with 5 catches and 70 yards.
THIS WEEK: One good game isn't going to sway me into thinking Pettigrew is all of a sudden this reliable fantasy tight end. You might not get burned by him in PPR leagues, but I'd play Heath Miller over him this week.
K David Akers
LAST GAME: 3 extra points and a missed field goal. You couldn't have done worse unless you had the Colts kicker. Let's hope you played the waivers.
THIS WEEK: I love this matchup for Akers. The Steelers pass defense is going to be good enough to get some stops, but the Lions pass offense should be good enough to get it into Steelers territory before some of those stops. The Steelers are 25th in the NFL in opponent field goals per game and the Lions are seventh in red zone scoring opportunities per game (3.7). I think Akers will have at least 3 field-goal attempts.
VERDICT: Pick him up and play, if you can.
LAST GAME: I said sit and that would've been smart again. An interception, but no sacks and 19 points against.
THIS WEEK: Road games still tend to scare me for the Lions.
What say you? Leave your thoughts in the comments.