Jared Goff (Sit, QB2)
There might not be a bigger Jared Goff fan out there, but even I’m lowering expectations this week. I’ve been a big advocate for starting Goff at home where he performs much better, with 20 TDs – 3 INTs at home compared to 2 TDs – 4 INTs on the road. This is one of his toughest road matchups of the season, against a defense that allows 14.69 points per game (ppg) to opposing QBs, seventh-fewest in the league. If I have no other options I’m considering starting Goff, but I’m lowering expectations and honestly looking elsewhere for better options before I plug him into my lineup.
D’Andre Swift (Start, Mid-RB2), Jamaal Williams (Start, Low-RB2)
Last week was a disappointment for D’Andre Swift managers. After coming off 14 carries in Week 13, Swift’s highest since Week 1, Swift only had 6 carries last week in what was looking to be a favorable matchup. His 4 targets last week were the lowest of the last three weeks. This week he travels to Jersey to face a Jets defense that allows 14.69 ppg to opposing RBs, seventh-fewest across the league (not a typo, the exact same amount of points that they allow vs QBs). I have Swift ranked slightly over backfield co-pilot and rushing touchdown leader Jamaal Williams. Last week was Williams’ first game without a touchdown since Week 9! In some situations I’m okay with starting both Lions’ running backs, but if you can only choose one call me ‘folklore’ because I’m leaning Swift.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Amon-Ra St. Brown (Start, Low-WR1), D.J. Chark (Start, Low-WR2), Kalif Raymond (Sit), Brock Wright (Sit)
This week the Sun God faces his toughest matchup yet, Sauce Gardner and the Jets’ defense that allowed 16.15 ppg to opposing WRs, third-fewest across the league. Even with the bad matchup, I see Amon-Ra St. Brown as a potential WR1 this week. He’s had at least 8 targets every game since Week 7. Before last week he had two consecutive weeks with top 3 finishes. St. Brown is a great example of starting your studs, regardless of matchup.
Hand up, I was wrong about D.J. Chark last week. Chark is averaging six targets a game over the previous three weeks. This past week he BOOMED for 94 yards and a touchdown, his second over the last three games. I still see him as a boom/bust type of player, besides his top 8 finish, he has 0 games in the top 22 all season. I’m raising his floor to Low WR2, but I worry about the tough matchup. Kalif Raymond rides the bench this week. Brock Wright is Brock Wrong. He had one target last week. The week before he had two for 25 yards, good for TE23. If you find yourself needing a TE23 look his way.
New York Jets
Mike White (Start, Low-QB1)
I’m not thrilled about starting Mike White, but I can see the upside. He’s going against a Lions defense that allows 26.38 ppg to QBs, about 2 points more than anyone else in the league. Last week he put up a stinker, a performance worthy of QB22, but you have to remember the slew of injuries he battled through. It sounds like he’s good to go this week, but of course, monitor the health of your players, and if he’s healthy I like him as a sneaky good option. Before last week he had finishes of QB6 and QB7. Sure, he hasn’t thrown a passing touchdown since Week 12, but he still found the end zone with his legs in Week 13. The Lions have the fourth-most passing touchdowns against this season (21). If you’re a team that lost Lamar, have been recently relying on Goff, or a similar situation, I like Mike White as a streamer this week.
Zonovan Knight (Start, Low-RB2), Michael Carter (Sit), James Robinson (Sit)
Bam and then it hits you. Zonovan Knight has been on fire these last few weeks with finishes of RB24, RB11, & RB14. When you see the matchup against the Lions you think, fire up everyone against them. While the Lions give up an average of 16.54 ppg (roughly league average) they’ve been good against the run lately. Here’s a sample of players they’ve faced over their last four games:
- Dalvin Cook, 23 yards
- Travis Etienne, 54 yards
- Devin Singletary, 72 yards
- Saquon Barkley, 22 yards
The Lions have held three of four starting running backs to under 55 yards. With Knight having limited passing game usage (3.3 targets per game) I have my expectations slightly lowered this week.
Don’t start Michael Carter. Here are his last four weekly finishes:
- Inactive (Ankle)
If you’re not as pessimistic and are looking for more upside, his 6 targets last week are more than Knight has ever had. There’s a chance this passing upside continues and he becomes a mainstay of the offense because of it. I’m not ready to start him, but he could be worth a stash.
Look how they’ve massacred my boy! James Robinson is sadly nothing more than waiver wire fodder at this point.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Garrett Wilson (Start, WR1), Elijah Moore (Start, WR2), Tyler Conklin (Start, TE1)
By now we know the Lions are a gift of a matchup against wide receivers, allowing 25.69 ppg (second-highest in the league). In fact, the Lions have allowed nine WR24 finishes over the last four games. I feel very confident starting Garrett Wilson this week. He’s finished with two top-9 performances over the last three weeks and is averaging 10 per game in that span. He looks like a different player with Mike White on the field.
I mentioned it in the Garrett Wilson blurb but it bears repeating. The Lions have allowed nine WR24 finishes over the last four games. Elijah Moore has two finishes of at least WR33 over the last three games. With some help from the Lions, it’s not far-fetched to see Moore finishing in the WR20s this week. I wouldn’t start him for his floor, but if you need a high-upside guy I like Moore.
Tyler Conklin has finished TE15 or higher in two of the last three weeks. The week he finished outside that range (TE36) he had 7 targets. This week he faces a Lions’ defense that’s abysmal against tight ends, allowing 8.54 ppg good for the fourth-highest across the league. Nothing is guaranteed, but I like Conklin’s chances to finish as a top-10 TE this week.