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Defenses & Dragons: Week 2 Detroit Lions fantasy player of the week

There are always points to be had, even in blowouts.

New York Jets v Detroit Lions Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Week 1 was a game to forget for the Lions. The defense was horrible, the offense looked clueless, and an offseason’s worth of hope evaporated in less than three quarters. Just as Detroit fans are feeling frustrated and demoralized, fantasy owners of Lions players are feeling slightly queasy as well.

Only three Lions reached double-digit fantasy points against the Jets, which even feels high given the struggles on Monday night. Somehow, one of those players was Matthew Stafford, who salvaged 10.0 fantasy points despite throwing four interceptions and battling some injuries.

The other two players were Golden Tate and Kenny Golladay, who each saw at least 12 targets during the blowout. With Marvin Jones also playing a large role in the offense, some wonder if there are simply too many mouths to feed in Detroit. Nevertheless, the Defenses & Dragons Player of the Week is Golden Tate.

FantasyPros Ranking: WR19 (0.5 PPR)
FanDuel Pricing: WR17 ($7100)

This week, the Lions will take on the San Francisco 49ers, who are coming off a loss to Minnesota. Like Detroit, the Vikings have a strong receiving corps with multiple players fighting for targets. In Week 1, Stefon Diggs scored the touchdown, but his three receptions and 43 yards were second to the six catches and 102 yards by Adam Thielen.

Similar to the Detroit trio, both Diggs and Thielen are quite versatile, although the latter is more likely to play out of the slot. Against the 49ers, it was Thielen who quarterback Kirk Cousins kept finding on shorter throws, and he ended up targeting him 12 times. While he did not find the end zone, Thielen had a productive day with 13.2 fantasy points.

Tate excels in this type of work, and he was solid against the Jets. Although it would have been nice for him to convert his 15 targets into more than seven catches, his 79 yards and touchdown resulted in a team-high 17.4 fantasy points. This is well within his range; Tate beat this mark four different times last season.

Given the inaccuracy of Stafford against New York, it may make sense for the Lions quarterback to go back to the basics. Hitting Tate on slants and curls and allowing him to run after the catch is a good way to get the offense back on track. Clearly Tate is someone that Stafford trusts and will pepper with targets. There is no better time for him to do this again than this Sunday against the 49ers.

The rankings are probably fair for Tate this week, but the national perception is slightly scared of the Lions’ poor showing in Week 1. This is an overreaction. Stafford consistently looked to Tate throughout the game, and with a pass-heavy offense, this trend is likely to persist. Also, until Detroit shows any improvement on defense, the game script will be in the receivers’ favor.

Tate is excellent in the PPR and 0.5 PPR formats, and he will get plenty of looks on Sunday. Even without a touchdown, he still will fall within the top 24 at the position. Against San Francisco, though, he has a good shot at the end zone and a higher finish.

Prediction: 9 receptions, 80 yards, 1 touchdown; 18.5 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.