Kickoff: Sunday, October 24th at 4:05 PM ET
Location: SoFi Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
Betting Odds: LAR -15, 50.5 total via Oddsshark
Jared Goff (Sit)
For the first time in his career, Jared Goff will face the Los Angeles Rams – the team that drafted him first overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. Goff has struggled in nearly every game he’s played when Sean McVay wasn’t the head coach. This season, Goff is averaging 6.3 yards per attempt, his lowest since his rookie season. Injuries have decimated Detroit’s WR corps, but Goff has thrown fewer than half of his targets to the entirety of Detroit’s WRs, the majority have been directed to the RBs and TEs. The Rams have shown a susceptibility to the passing game on defense, surrendering 259 yards per game, 21st in the NFL, but there is little chance Goff will be able to take advantage. Pass on Goff this week.
D’Andre Swift (Start, RB1), Jamaal Williams (Start, RB2)
With six weeks of data to look back on, it is obvious that D’Andre Swift has a firm hold on Detroit’s #1 RB role. For the past three weeks, Swift has outsnapped Jamaal Williams 151 to 63 and has 47 touches to Williams’s 34. Williams has been the more effective runner of the two, but Swift is more involved in the passing game. Touches in the passing game have been proven to be more valuable than carries for RBs, so Swift is seeing the more valuable opportunities. Williams is still a big part of Detroit’s offense despite the smaller snap share and should see enough work to finish in the lower-RB2 ranks this week with so many RBs on BYE.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Amon-Ra St. Brown (Sit), Kalif Raymond (Sit), T.J. Hockenson (Start, TE1)
I’ve been a fan of the Lions for as long as I can remember and I can’t remember a time when we’ve had such a mess at the WR position. The preseason #1 and #2 WRs, Tyrell Williams and Quintez Cephus are both out with injury and the team will turn to rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown and former-Titan Kalif Raymond to hold down the top spots at WR this week. St. Brown has been the most involved WR over the past three weeks, seeing a combined 23 targets and turning them into 18 receptions for 161 yards but has been unable to find the end zone this season. Raymond had a two-TD game back in Week 4 but has been mostly invisible outside that game despite seeing six targets last week. Goff’s targets don’t travel far downfield, so while Detroit’s receivers might see a decent number of them unless they can break a tackle or get the benefit of a blown coverage, yards are hard to come by. For this reason, I am hesitant to recommend any of Detroit’s WRs as startable options given how much of the offense runs through the RBs and TEs.
It’s been a wild ride with T.J. Hockenson in fantasy football this season as he’s had games of two receptions for less than 25 yards and games of eight receptions for 60+ yards and a TD. Given the landscape at TE, it’s hard to go away from Hockenson despite the bad games because of the volume he sees in this offense. It’s frustrating to get 4-5 points from your starting TE but the upside of a 20-point game is too large to ignore. Continue to keep your arms and feet inside the ride at all times and start Hockenson once again in Week 7.
Los Angeles Rams
Matthew Stafford (Start, QB1)
Much like Goff, Matthew Stafford is facing the team that drafted him #1 overall for the first time in his career as the Lions fly into sunny Los Angeles this weekend. Stafford has been set free from the recent dysfunction within the Lions’ organization and is playing the best football of his career. Stafford has a trio of weapons at WR and TE and a coach who can play to his strengths throwing the ball to every level of the field and with great accuracy. Detroit is as thin in the secondary as they are at WR and have struggled to slow down the good QBs. Stafford should be able to carve up his old team and roll to an easy victory and carry fantasy managers to a QB1 finish as well this week.
Darrell Henderson (Start, RB1), Sony Michel (Sit, Possible Flex)
Much like the split in Detroit’s backfield, Darrell Henderson has asserted himself as the clear-cut #1 RB for the Rams. When healthy, Henderson has regularly seen three to four times the snaps of Sony Michel and has scored a TD in every game he’s played this season except one. The game script should turn in the running game’s favor as Los Angeles is a two-TD favorite and will likely take the air out of the ball in the latter part of the game to secure the victory. Detroit surrenders more than 130 yards per game on the ground this season which further increases Henderson’s appeal. Feel confident in dropping Henderson in as an RB1 this week.
Michel has been a nice addition to the backfield for the Rams but has been relegated to #2 status with the success Henderson has found of late. Michel has been productive with the opportunities he’s gotten, but he rarely sees more than 10 opportunities per game. There is a chance, however, if this game goes as expected for the backups to see some late run in an easy victory, so Michel might see a bit more than usage than normal. With six teams on BYE this week, Michel’s potential increased usage along with the deficiencies of the defense he’s playing might push him into Flex consideration for some fantasy managers.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Cooper Kupp (Start, WR1), Robert Woods (Start, WR2), Van Jefferson (Sit), Tyler Higbee (Start, TE1)
It’s shaping up to be a career year for Cooper Kupp this season as he’s on pace to shatter his previous highs in nearly every receiving category. Kupp is averaging 11 targets per game and is catching more than two-thirds of them en route to his NFL-leading 46 receptions and seven TDs. Kupp is being targeted further downfield than in previous years and is Stafford’s first read on almost every passing play. Kupp has such a safe floor he’s becoming an auto-start every week. The biggest concern this week is if the Rams get out to an early lead and lean more on the running game, but if that’s the case Kupp was likely a primary reason for the big lead. Start him with confidence again in Week 7.
Affectionately known as “Bobby Trees”, Robert Woods seemed like an afterthought during the first four weeks of this season, but McVay promised to get him more involved, and did he ever. In Week 5, Woods was targeted 14 times, coming down with 12 receptions for 150 yards and all was right with fantasy managers who kept trusting him. However, last week saw another low-target game (5), and his fantasy day was saved by a TD. It’s hard to go away from Woods given the offensive prowess and Detroit’s weaknesses in the secondary, but Kupp is the primary weapon in the passing game and there is no reason for the Rams to alter that philosophy. Woods should be productive enough to return WR2-level production this week, but it might be on the lower end of the scale.
Van Jefferson is the third wheel in Los Angeles’s passing attack but is still capable of producing fantasy-relevant days as evidenced by his 80-yard, one-TD game in Week 1 and his 90-yard, one-TD game in Week 4. Unfortunately, the other four games haven’t been nearly as good and that seems to be the more likely outcome. Unless Jefferson sees some garbage-time production in a blowout victory, it’s hard to trust him in fantasy lineups this week.
The most consistent option in the passing game for the Rams is arguably Tyler Higbee. Free from the shadow of Gerald Everett, Higbee is on pace for one of the best seasons of his career. Higbee only sees a handful of targets per game, but is catching them at a rate of 88% and is the second-best red-zone threat behind Kupp. Much like Hockenson above, Higbee is a valuable producer at the TE position in a pass-heavy offense but doesn’t quite have the volume of Hockenson. However, given the uncertainty of production beyond the top few at the TE position, Higbee provides low-level TE1 production and is a viable starting option in Week 7.