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Defenses and Dragons: Fantasy players to watch in Lions-Bears

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A divisional matchup may not yield many fantasy points for either team.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Chicago Bears Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Each week, Defenses and Dragons will highlight two Detroit Lions and two opponents who stand out in the matchup, for better or for worse. It may be a stud who could struggle, or it could be a lower-level guy primed for a big game; either way, these are players who should over or underperform their typical output. D&D hopes to help out with crunch-time decisions by taking a closer look at the matchup through historical stats. All stated scoring assumes six points for all touchdowns and a half point per reception.

Matthew Stafford

Week 10 was yet another impressive performance for Matthew Stafford, who continues to perform like a top-10 quarterback in fantasy this season. Over the past five weeks he is averaging 2.0 touchdowns per game, and he is averaging 22.4 PPG during these matchups. However, he faces an uphill battle this week in Chicago.

Somewhat surprisingly, the Bears have been the sixth-toughest defense against opposing quarterbacks. This has led to Matt Ryan, Jameis Winston, Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton and Drew Brees all putting up less than 20 points when facing the Bears. Stafford may do enough for a Lions’ win, but do not expect gaudy fantasy numbers this Sunday.

Golden Tate

With 7.8 targets per game during his last five outings, Golden Tate has proven that he owns a significant role in the offense. While Marvin Jones has posted some spectacular numbers as well, Tate is the safer play due to consistency. The Lions may not throw a lot against the Bears, but Tate will see enough passes to be a decent fantasy option.

Chicago is difficult on opposing quarterbacks, but have been just average against WR1s. For the Lions, the top receiver role can be debated, but Tate definitely seems like the player who will be given every opportunity to succeed. He is unlikely to be a top-five receiver this week, but he should not scare owners away either.

Jordan Howard

The Bears do not have many offensive weapons, but Jordan Howard is an exception. Howard is an electric talent that has endured ups and downs, but he is a threat whenever he touches the ball. Howard should see a heavy volume of carries against Detroit, making him a good bet in Week 11.

The Lions are still below-average against opposing running backs and looked fairly suspect at many times last week. Given limitations in Chicago’s passing game, expect Howard to be the focal point of the offense. He should be able to easily eclipse his mediocre outing from last week.

Dontrelle Inman

After coming over from Los Angeles, Dontrelle Inman made his Chicago debut last week against the Packers. He was tied for the lead with eight targets and led the team with 88 yards through the air. Given the lackluster competition among other receivers, the Bears’ desire to make a trade and the youth of Mitchell Trubisky, Inman looks like a focal point going forward.

Unfortunately, that may not relate to fantasy production for Inman, especially against the Lions. Detroit has allowed average numbers to opposing wide receivers, but this does not look like a good matchup. Fade Inman and the rest of the Chicago passing offense.