Game Previews: All Fantasy Relevant Players For Week 5
Packers vs. Lions
Who will be Healthy?
As it stands, Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Geronimo Allison, Jimmy Graham, and Randall Cobb are all questionable for Sunday’s draw against Detroit. It seems likely that Rodgers, Adams, and Graham will play, but Allison (concussion) and Cobb (hamstring) will be game-time decisions. If neither can play, Marquez Valdes-Scantling will be a last minute add worth streaming as he participated 71% of the team’s offensive snaps and should see an increased role if he is thrust into a WR2 role.
Will Aaron Jones Finally Take Over the Running Game?
For the second week in a row since his return from a suspension, Aaron Jones increased his snap count. Jones was on the field more than any other back with 29 snaps (Jamaal Williams, 28 & Ty Montgomery 20). Although Jones is still splitting carries evenly with Williams, it is clear that he is gaining traction in Green Bay’s offense. Despite an otherwise stout pass defense, Detroit is weak against the run and could provide an opportunity for Jones to fully breakout.
Is Aaron Rodgers a “set it and forget it” in Week Five?
To his credit Aaron Rodgers gave up his first turnover of the season in Week Four and has cobbled together enough of an offense to win three games this season. Rodgers, however, has yet to throw over 300 yards in a game, he is nursing a lingering knee injury, his top receivers are ailing, and Aaron Jones is looking like a capable alternative to Green Bay’s passing game. Oh, and Detroit has a pretty solid pass defense albeit inconsistent at times and like Green Bay is a ball possession team (31:38 / 31:37). Rodgers will be started nearly universally in Week Five, but there is cause for concern as Detroit could be a darkhorse to stifle the already stumbling Rodgers.
A home game against a divisional opponent is a good place to try for a season turn-around, and that’s exactly what the Lions need right now. Matt Patricia knows it. The fans know it. I know it. You know it. He’s a dude, she’s a dude, we’re all dudes. So going into this week you had better believe there’s something special going on under the hood of Lions’ practices and film sessions. Will it result in a win? I’m going with unlikely, here, although the Packers offensive injury report is definitely uplifting. Either way, let’s break it down.
Stafford had his lowest pass attempts on the season last week. Does that trend continue?
No, and even if it does he had a monstrous fantasy week in Week Four against Dallas so it isn’t the end of the world if he puts up another 300+ passing yards and multiple TDs.
One of the key points of last week’s 30 pass attempts had less to do with Matthew Stafford than it has to do with Ezekiel Elliott. Zeke tore the Lions to shreds, and their usually incredible clock control dwindled to nothing. By the end of the game the numbers came back to earth and the two teams split game time pretty evenly, but Dallas still ran 65 plays against Detroit’s 53.
The truth is that we should be focusing more on how many completions Stafford had last week, which, at 24, was only a few below what we expect from him every week.
Probably the most important thought coming out of Week Four was how well he did against a pretty solid Dallas pass defense, tearing apart the pass rush with quick completions for good yardage. Stafford looked excellent, and the Packers pass defense is pretty similar in most metrics to the Cowboys.
The Packers’ injuries will be talked about a bit more in the wide receiver section, but they’re all good news for Stafford. I expect we’re going to be looking at another game similar to San Francisco in Week Two. Lots of throwing, decent completion percentage and probably a bit better yards/attempt.
Expectations vs the Packers:
Matthew Stafford Floor: 21/35, 240 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
Matthew Stafford Ceiling: 35/45, 370 yards, 3 TDs
How much does T.J. Lang’s injury affect the run game? Is Kerryon startable yet?
Big time, unfortunately. It’s hard to measure statistically because of the absolute circus of injuries on the offensive line since T.J. Lang joined the team, but on the tape there’s a clear difference between Lang on the field and Lang off the field in terms of run blocking specifically.
The Packers run defense isn’t great, however. Actually, they’re pretty bad. Not Lions bad, but overall they’re probably in the bottom third as a run defense. While the Lions are sitting at 30th in the league in yards/rush against, the Packers aren’t doing much better at 22nd. Add on the missing Muhammad Wilkerson and you might have a recipe for success moving the ball on the ground. However, Wilkerson is the only member of the front seven that’s injured in any way at all.
The main reason I’m staying away from Kerryon Johnson for one last week is because of game script. Green Bay’s opponent only rush 24 times per game on average, and with a pass happy team like the Lions you have to expect slightly fewer run plays. Kerryon still isn’t the official lead back, so even if they run the ball 25-30 times you can’t project much more than 15 runs for him. And 15 would be awesome, because he’s great, but I lean closer to 10 rushes for Kerryon on Sunday. Meanwhile, LeGarrette Blount is pretty much fantasy irrelevant at this point and will no longer be featured in the projections section. Theo Riddick will always have value in PPR and half-PPR leagues, but he’s also starting to trend toward irrelevance, setting a new floor each and every week.
Expectations vs the Packers:
Kerryon Johnson Floor: 7 rushes, 40 yards
Kerryon Johnson Ceiling: 15 rushes, 110 yards, 3 receptions, 35 receiving yards, 1 TD
Theo Riddick Floor: 4 receptions, 20 yards
Theo Riddick Ceiling: 10 receptions, 120 yards, 1 TD
The receiving corps matches up very well this week. What are the odds of all three receivers hitting triple digits?
The odds are pretty low, but they aren’t zero. With Detroit’s defense going against a finally healthy Aaron Rodgers and Stafford going against a very unhealthy Green Bay defense, we could see a major shoot-out. That being said, three 100-yard receivers in a game requires two things in particular: pretty much no one else catches a football, and all three receivers barely break 100 yards.
I see this as more of a Marvin Jones-blows-up type of game than a nice even distribution. Since coming to Detroit, Jones has three multi-TD, 100+ yard performances. Two of those are against Green Bay, and the other is another divisional match-up with Minnesota. In his four games against Green Bay as a Lion, he is averaging 5.5 receptions on 8.25 targets with 117 yards and 1.25 TDs. That’s an average of 24.7 PPR points. His worst game against them was 5 receptions for 76 yards, which is a pretty great floor to have.
In addition, I mentioned that I would discuss Packers injuries. Kentrell Brice and his back-up Jermaine Whitehead both hit the injury report at the end of this week, both with questionable status. The Stafford to Jones connection is built on the backs of exploiting misreads by the safeties, followed by deep bomb TDs. I’m not the kind of person to bet on any particular player scoring a TD in a given game, especially on a deep shot, but this looks as safe a bet as any.
This isn’t to write off Golden Tate or Kenny Golladay. Both will be startable, and have pretty much made their way up to must-start territory due to utilization, and either could have a solid game (I would be betting on Golladay, of the two, just due to match-up). I really think Marvin is going to be the biggest piece this week, however.
Expectations vs the Packers:
Marvin Jones Floor: 4 receptions, 55 yards
Marvin Jones Ceiling: 8 receptions, 180 yards, 2 TDs
Kenny Golladay Floor: 5 receptions, 40 yards
Kenny Golladay Ceiling: 10 receptions, 140 yards, 1 TD
Golden Tate Floor: 6 receptions, 50 yards
Golden Tate Ceiling: 11 receptions, 120 yards, 1 TD
The Lions D/ST at home vs an injury ridden Packers offense?
I’ve gotta stay away from this one. Divisional match-ups can get crazy, and Aaron Rodgers loves nothing more than laying to rest the hopes and dreams of Lions fans worldwide. I would stay far away from this one.
The Lions tight end position received another five targets last week. Any sneaky plays here?
This is a shoot-out waiting to happen, so the final score will probably be a 12-10 Packers victory where they kick four field goals. Such is life. In reality, if the Lions lose this week it’s probably curtains on the season, so I really doubt we’re going to see anything other than a full heart and soul out of this team. But when has heart and soul ever stopped Aaron Rodgers?