Stock up: Kenny Golladay
If there was any question that Matthew Stafford missed his secret weapon with questionable nicknames, then that question was not really that smart and swiftly put down on Sunday as Golladay showed just how valuable he is.
Golladay didn’t have a monster day, not like DeAndre Hopkins did for Arizona. For the most part, Matthew Stafford spread the ball around fairly evenly between Golladay, T.J. Hockenson, Marvin Jones Jr. and Jesse James (more on him later).
Nevertheless, with Stafford proving himself less than stellar, he’s going to rely on weapons like Golladay. There is no shame in this: too often we think of the quarterback as the fulcrum upon which all turns, but in practice it blurs at times. It’s a position well ballyhoo’d and dissected, but any quarterback requires hands to be open, available and able when the ball is placed in a given direction.
If Stafford continues to use Golladay as his security blanket, then it can only mean good things for the Lions wide receiver, his future contract considerations and any and all fantasy owners.
Stock up: Jamie Collins Sr.
Collins had a hell of a day, and he played 54 snaps for the defense. He’s been the shot in the arm the Lions linebackers need, and he’s looking dependable and consistent as we move towards the closing match of the first quarter of NFL play.
It’s been said before that Collins and safety Duron Harmon have been the leaders of the defense, and leadership in the NFL starts with making plays and firing up their respective units. In this regard, both Collins and Harmon have been active and empowered. If the Lions defense wants to keep doing things like it did against Kyler Murray on Sunday, they’ll need their leaders.
Stock down: D’Andre Swift
He played just six snaps! Six! No carries on those six, and one of those snaps he took a Stafford ball off the back of his helmet. F&(%ing incredible!
Nobody was really standing out in the run game. Adrian Peterson had volume, but proved less than efficient with it all. But after a Week 1 stat line where we believed Kerryon Johnson was the odd man out, Swift’s absence from the field speaks to a reversal of fortunes and expectations.
Perhaps this is just another experiment in the long list of Frankenstein monsters. For now, we can’t suggest buying into Swift’s rookie season.
Stock up: Tracy Walker
There was some consternation about Walker after last week, and it sounded like Walker would find himself in a platoon situation.
But the snap counts are out from the Cardinals game, and Walker played 100 percent of the snaps. That feels like a hell of a nod of confidence that Walker is still the fulcrum for the defensive backfield.
In general, the Lions safeties had a hell of a day. As Jeremy pointed out in his report card, the safeties limited damage from both the Cardinals passing game and the ground attack (no passing play more than 30 yards, no rushing play more than 15).
Stock down: Darryl Roberts
DeAndre Hopkins moved around the field, which gave fits to both Roberts and Jeff Okudah. But it’s hard to avoid a stock evaluation when you give up two touchdowns to Andy Isabella.
Stock down: Halapoulivaati Vaitai
Vaitai found himself blown up, blown past and blown down. The right side of the offensive line was less a turnstile and more like one of those thin, clear plastic dividers you just push to the side as you walk past. Vaitai gave up two sacks in the first half alone, then cost Marvin Hall a surefire touchdown with an ugly holding penalty.
There’s no good way about it. Joe Dahl’s injury has set dominoes in motion on the line’s renewed psychosomatic failures. Vaitai is playing out of position, but such an explanation isn’t going to save Stafford from demolition when Vaitai fails to pick up defender screaming past Lions jerseys.
Stock up: Jesse James
James not only appeared out of nowhere, but he was almost as productive as Hockenson. If the Lions could find a way to implement both tight ends to the fullest of their capabilities, it could mean a shot in the arm for the offense.
Stock down: Jarrad Davis
Davis was healthy and did not start on defense for the first time in his professional career.
Is that histrionics? A set of conditionals meant to spell doom for his career? Not when you have snap counts to back up a dismal picture.
Like Swift, Davis is vanishing from the field, playing only just 15 snaps against the Cardinals. Davis is losing playing time to Jahlani Tavai. When he did show up, Davis failed to show any flash that could warrant a reason to reverse this trend.