Hey guys, Sean here. I'm stepping in for Brian for this week's fantasy post.
Thanks to the Chicago Bears' general mediocrity this season, there are plenty of appealing options when it comes to fantasy football matchups for the Detroit Lions this week. Case in point: Chicago has given up the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, the most points to opposing tight ends and the most points to opposing kickers. In other words, Matthew Stafford, Eric Ebron and Matt Prater have favorable matchups on paper this week.
The problem with that line of thinking, of course, is that the Lions offense as a whole hasn't done much of anything in the last two weeks. I suppose Prater has, but that's exactly the problem -- the Lions have been unable to score touchdowns. That's obviously bad news for Stafford fantasy owners, and we're still waiting for Ebron to have a breakout performance.
With all of that in mind, I'm putting my trust in the Lions defense and special teams and going with them as the matchup of the week. Even with their shaky performance against New England last week, the Lions rank first in points allowed, and they've produced 17 takeaways this season (13 interceptions and four fumble recoveries). That's only good enough for 15th in the NFL, but that leads me to my biggest reason for putting faith in the Lions D/ST this week: Jay Cutler is a turnover machine.
On the year, the Bears have the fifth-most turnovers in the NFL with 21 total, and Cutler is responsible for most of them. He's thrown 12 interceptions and lost six fumbles, and he's had five other fumbles that ended up back in the hands of the Bears. In other words, he's constantly creating opportunities for takeaways for opposing defenses, and the Lions are poised to capitalize on Thursday.
One final point on this matchup: When the Bears came to Ford Field last year, Ndamukong Suh sacked Cutler and forced a fumble that was recovered and returned for a touchdown. It certainly wouldn't be surprising if the defense finds the end zone again this year, and given the way the offense has been playing lately, that might actually be the Lions' best hope for ending their touchdown drought.
PREVIOUS MATCHUPS OF THE WEEK:
Week 1: Calvin Johnson vs. Giants - 7 catches (11 targets), 164 yards, 2 TD
Week 2: Golden Tate vs. Panthers - 5 catches (8 targets), 57 yards
Week 3: Reggie Bush vs. Packers - 12 carries, 61 yards, 1 TD, 6 catches (8 targets), 38 yards
Week 4: Eric Ebron vs. Jets - 3 catches (4 targets), 34 yards, 1 TD
Week 5: Lions D/ST vs. Bills - 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 TD
Week 6: Golden Tate vs. Vikings - 7 catches (12 targets), 44 yards
Week 7: Matthew Stafford vs. Saints - 27/40, 299 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT, 1 yard rushing
Week 8: Matthew Stafford vs. Falcons - 24/47, 325 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 9 yards rushing
Week 10: Reggie Bush vs. Dolphins - 4 carries, 20 yards, 1 catch (1 target), 5 yards
Week 11: Matthew Stafford vs. Cardinals - 18/30, 183 yards, 1 INT
Week 12: Eric Ebron vs. Patriots - 2 catches (7 targets), 23 yards
Editor's Note: FanDuel is hosting a Thanksgiving Day-only $2,000 fantasy football league for SB Nation. It's $5 to join and first place wins $200. League starts Thursday 12:30 PM ET and ends the same night. Here's the link.