Lions @ Broncos
Final Score: Broncos 35, Lions 10
Writer: Matthew Bevins (@MattQBList on Twitter, TheLongSpring on Reddit)
The Detroit Lions traveled to Denver this week as we watched the Broncos win a home game with very heavy hearts. Early on in the week, the unexpected, and extremely saddening passing of Demaryius Thomas hit the wire, leaving us with stories aplenty highlighting the immense character of an incredibly sweet person lost far, far too early in their lifetime. The Broncos started their first drive with no wide receivers in their package formation in honor of Demaryius. If you’d like to see the gesture, please check in on the clip included after this section. The game was ended expectedly output-wise, and honorably for Demaryius Thomas, as the Broncos led this game from the first game score and never looked back. Let’s dive in and see what we gained from a game that likely was looked upon for some highlights that may create or upend many’s fantasy implications!
— NFL (@NFL) December 12, 2021
Jared Goff: 24/39, 215 yards, TD, INT | 2 rushes, 10 yards
The more and more we see of Jared Goff in the league, the more I’m perplexed at times this fellow was hovering somewhere in the top-10 range for portions of seasons as a fantasy contributor. Goff has very little in terms of weapons to make much happen in Detroit, as is highlighted by a current 1-11 record, but he’s also not the type of player who is going to make your squad better by having him (fantasy life OR real life). At times, there were some passes made in this game where you can see some of what made him a name to mention as a fantasy bench hand (watching the zippy pass to Kalif Raymond in the first half, to highlight his only passing touchdown, for starters), but for the most part, Goff will remain sitting on your waiver wire, collecting dust like a 7-11 rolly hot dog until some weary passenger makes the grave mistake to pick it up when they have no other alternative. Goff has barely any touch to his passes and is revealed as a non-franchise player, but as a good friend of mine mentioned, the Lions have structurally built a team to fail. You can leave Goff on the rollies for the remainder of the year.
Godwin Igwebuike: 8 carries, 25 yards
Craig Reynolds: 11 carries, 83 yards
The running back situation in Detroit was something to behold, as D’Andre Swift continues to work his way back from a shoulder injury that sprung up two weeks prior and leaves at the very least some worry the team may shut him down with not much left to gain from him playing for the remainder of this season. To add insult to injury, Jamaal Williams ended up missing the game unceremoniously, as at some point during the end of the week he was announced as a COVID out. The team had just Godwin Igwebuike and Jermar Jefferson as active rushers up until Saturday morning but ended up calling up Craig Reynolds from their practice squad. Reynolds disappointed deep league and daily fantasy players alike by stepping in as the lead running back, as Jefferson saw zero touches in the game. Reynolds actually looked somewhat dynamic on the ground and set up Kalif Raymond‘s first touchdown rush with a few hard-hitting carries on the Lions’ lone touchdown drive. Reynolds ended the game toting the ball for over 8 yards per carry and could be seen as the man to have in very deep roster leagues if Swift doesn’t make it back, or ends up getting shut down, and we still have no Jamaal Williams for next week.
Amon-Ra St. Brown: 12 targets, 8 receptions, 73 yards
Josh Reynolds: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 72 yards
Kalif Raymond: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 31 yards, TD
Brock Wright: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 20 yards
Shane Zsyltra: 6 targets, 2 receptions, 18 yards
Tom Kennedy: 1 target, 1 reception, 7 yards
KhaDarel Hodge: 1 target
Taylor Decker: 1 target, 1 reception, -2 yards
The Detroit Lions have become a “who, what?” of a receiving crew, as they continue to bubblegum and duct tape their way week to week through their target share. Kalif Raymond and Amon-Ra St. Brown seem to highlight a low expectation target share in Detroit, as Raymond has become their gadget play guy, and may actually have carved out a role for himself regardless of how this team looks post drafting in the year 2022. T.J. Hockenson was an unexpected out for the game, so the routes were broken up between St. Brown and Raymond. As mentioned earlier, Raymond punched the lone touchdown ticket in the second quarter on a snazzy little route running trick play where he broke out in motion as if he was going to take the ball on an end-around pitch, and instead, Goff caught him with a leading pass going to the other sideline. This was a pretty cool play to watch, and something that maybe the offense in Detroit could flesh upon, as there isn’t much else to look at that could be seen as successful. Amon-Ra likely has some value in your dynasty leagues and was a buzzy name in rookie drafts this season, as he capped his day off with 8 receptions, and has clearly become Goff’s first choice to look for. It’s highly unlikely anyone wants to trust any of these players in their fantasy playoffs, but names are here to watch for late in the back half of your drafts for next season.
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) December 12, 2021
Teddy Bridgewater: 18/25, 179 yards, 2 TD
Teddy Bridgewater, a fantasy siren, constantly tantalizing folks like myself before he crashes you into the proverbial shores. Bridgewater ended the game with under 200 yards through the air and showcased what he’s ended up doing best and what has kept him from losing his job at any point to Drew Lock…checking down passes to two very good running backs. The fantasy output and expectations for folks like Noah Fant and Courtland Sutton, who at times pretty recently were mentioned around fantasy circles as high upside fellows with pretty decent floors, now have no floors to speak of and are just hopefully going to be around when the Broncos finally decide what makes the most sense for their quarterback situation. Bridgewater isn’t a bad quarterback, per se, and at times, even makes some plays that will interest or excite, but there’s a very low ceiling for where his fantasy game seems to be. One of his two passing touchdowns was a forward pass to Javonte Williams that likely should have completely ended up with ALL fantasy production points going to Williams, as he made a highlight reel, some say even Madden’esque spin move to evade defenders and extend what many would make a short five-yard reception, into a full-scale touchdown. See below. And let Teddy continue to simmer on your waiver wires.
Javonte Williams 𝐂𝐀𝐍𝐍𝐎𝐓 be stopped 🤩
That's 2 TD's (+500) on the day for the young stud
— FanDuel Sportsbook (@FDSportsbook) December 12, 2021
Javonte Williams: 15 carries, 73 yards, TD | 2 targets, 1 reception, 10 yards, TD
Melvin Gordon: 24 carries, 111 yards, TD
Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams right now are a two-headed monster heating up for many going into or beginning many’s fantasy playoff races, and no one could be here for it more than me. Gordon, who has started to become the leader of the “Frank Gore, how are you STILL doing this every year” fan club, just continues to add excitement and points to fantasy lineups with force and tact, as he led the backfield by nine carries, and an additional touchdown to Javonte Williams’ output. The team is actually doing what many teams have been looking to do all season to lighten workloads and keep their rushers fresh. While Gordon is seen as the “lead” back, both continue to slug out more than 10 rushes per game, and while Gordon had two touchdowns, Williams is making the case to be one of the most intriguing young rushers in the game, as his rushing touchdown came with an added effort across the goal line, and his reception touchdown was one of the prettiest looking plays we’ve seen in a bit (peep the highlight above). Gordon and Williams are going to continue to split carry work, but this may be the lone 1-2 backfield in the league you can play both without much worry, as they’re both likely continuing to take the 10 plus carry role to the bank.
Noah Fant: 4 targets, 4 receptions, 51 yards
Jerry Jeudy: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 47 yards
Tim Patrick: 5 targets, 2 receptions, 21 yards
Courtland Sutton: 2 targets, 1 reception, 9 yards
Albert Okwuegbunam: 5 targets, 5 receptions, 41 yards, TD
Diontae Spencer: 1 target
The receiving game of the Broncos seems to be understandably an afterthought at this point, as the team uses it almost entirely as a way to spell the defenses away from teeing off on Williams/Gordon carries, which is absolutely understandable. Jerry Jeudy was unceremoniously the leader of the target, and likely has a decent amount of dynasty value still, but has had a very subpar return from his injury, but the true issue seems to lie in the fact that Teddy Bridgewater may just never end up the greatest fantasy passer and has hamstrung both Jeudy and Courtland Sutton‘s value so far. While there was some touchdown passes to be found there today (two to be exact), this isn’t really the MO of this team, and likely even if we see some passing value, there is likely going to be a running back’s name to be tied to it, for the most part. It’s really tough to rely on any passing production here, as there is some very intriguing fantasy talent left here for the future, but it likely won’t shine while Teddy is under center. “Albert O” continues to be the tight end in Denver with the most value, as he scoops up the other touchdown pass received from Teddy, while Noah Fant attempts to push his numbers up and soaked in four targets that he converted on all of.
— Matthew Bevins (@MattQBList on Twitter, TheLongSpring on Reddit)