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Defenses & Dragons: Week 9 Detroit Lions fantasy pick of the week

And then there were two.

NFL: Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the Lions have lost one fantasy asset, as the team said goodbye to Golden Tate on Tuesday. Tate leaves Detroit as WR19 on the season, ahead of both Marvin Jones (WR27) and Kenny Golladay (WR28). While Tate’s value probably takes a dip in Philadelphia, all Lions fantasy options—aside from Matthew Stafford—should improve with one fewer mouth to feed.

Even with two main receiving options instead of three, it still is a bit of a mystery as to which Lions receiver will be the favorite each week. Golladay had a great start to the season, but he has been fairly quiet the last two times out. The top receiver on this team is should now be Marvin Jones, and he is the Week 9 Defenses & Dragons Player of the Week.

FantasyPros Ranking: WR19 (0.5 PPR)
FanDuel Pricing: WR22 ($6500)

Against the Vikings, wide receivers are the way to go. Only two running backs have topped 15 points against them, and as good as Kerryon Johnson is, he still is a rung below Todd Gurley and Alvin Kamara, who both notched 23 points against Minnesota.

However, receivers have had a little more luck, with a much higher ceiling and an acceptable floor as long as the targets are there. Seven players have reached double digits when playing the Vikings, and while Minnesota is no pushover, their secondary yields more fantasy production than the run defense.

Jones has had a somewhat frustrating season, missing a many deep shots from Stafford and becoming somewhat touchdown-dependent. This might be a viable fantasy strategy, though, as he continues to see a high dosage of end zone targets and has already hauled in five scores on the year.

Last week, Jones had a season-best game against Seattle, hauling in 10 catches for 117 yards to go with his two touchdowns. With Tate out of the picture, he should continue to see a good volume of targets, with some surely coming as bombs downfield. Jones only needs to connect on a portion of these to rack up a healthy number of yards, and he should be more than fine this week against Minnesota.

Prediction: 6 receptions, 70 yards, 1 touchdown; 16.0 fantasy points

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.