Obviously the biggest fantasy impact for the Detroit Lions this week is the availability of Matthew Stafford. At this point it is anyone’s guess if he will be able to suit up this Sunday, and it is difficult to examine the rankings of Lions skill players right now as experts are torn on how to evaluate the team.
Stafford is a backend QB1 play if he is active. The running backs probably get some additional usage if he is out, although I will continue to only recommend playing D’Andre Swift (RB15) despite Adrian Peterson’s stubborn persistence and Kerryon Johnson’s rare touchdown last week. Meanwhile, Marvin Jones (WR27) is the lead receiver as long as Kenny Golladay is out, and maybe this is the jumpstart he needs.
On the Vikings side, there is a range of legitimacy across the positions. Kirk Cousins (QB17) is a bye week or injury fill-in at best, but Dalvin Cook (RB1) is in contention to be the top fantasy back this season. Both Adam Thielen (WR10) and Justin Jefferson (WR17) have been keeping the Minnesota passing game on track after the departure of Stefon Diggs, though Irv Smith (TE19) is still trying to work his way into the picture.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Which Lions-Vikings players will boom and bust in fantasy this week?
As expected, T.J. Hockenson (TE5) has really taken a step forward this season and is just about a top-five option at tight end. He still has plenty of room to grow, but the Lions clearly trust him and are continuing to work him into the offense. If Stafford is indeed out this weekend, that could lead to additional work for the sophomore, but he should be a strong play either way.
On the other side of the ball, I am a little skeptical of Thielen this week. I think the Lions will try to take him away as best as they can, and the Vikings may be content giving the ball to Cook 20-25 times and let him win the game on his own. It is a little dangerous ever expecting Detroit to shut down a receiver, but I think the experts might be a little too optimistic on him this weekend.