What We Saw: Lions at Packers

Aaron Jones owns the Detroit Lions.

Lions @ Packers

Final Score: Packers 35, Lions 17

Writer: Corey Saucier (@Deputy_Commish on Twitter, /u/Lights_Kamara_Action on Reddit)

 

It was Packers’ RB Aaron Jones‘ world on Monday night – the rest of us were just living in it. Some other guy named Aaron played pretty well, also. The Packers put their Week 1 beatdown by the Saints behind them as they cruised to an 18-point victory against the Lions on Monday night – but it wasn’t so certain a contest at halftime. Lions’ QB Jared Goff stood toe-to-toe with Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers in the first half – and even led the Lions to a 3 point lead at halftime with a crisp two-minute drill. But in the end, the Packers dominated both sides of the ball in the second half, put to rest any whispers of Rodgers’ lack of ‘inspiration,’ and provided bountiful blessings upon their fantasy managers. Goff and the Lions’ offense got out to a lightning-hot start, scoring on three of their four first-half drives. RB D’Andre Swift showed his ability to run with top-tier vision and explosive burst all at once – but the Lions abandoned the run so quickly in the second half after Green Bay took the lead, it made my head spin. What does all of this look like for your team? Were you able to squeeze out a Monday night miracle? Let’s dive into what we saw:

 

Detroit Lions

 

Quarterbacks

 

Jared Goff: 26/36, 246 yards, 2 TD, INT, Fumble | 4 carries, 46 yards

 

Lions’ QB Jared Goff was asked about his trade from the Rams to the Lions last offseason as part of the Monday Night Football telecast and he gave us this absolute gem of a quote, “It puts a little chip on your shoulder. I’d be Lion if I said it didn’t.” Way to work in those team-name-animal puns, Jared. As mentioned above, Goff looked fantastic to start out. He wasted no time in taking a deep shot, connecting with WR Quintez Cephus on this 46-yard bomb on the Lions’ opening drive:

 

 

I searched high and low for one of the most glorious play calls I’ve ever seen – a surprisingly designed option run for Goff which he took for 17 yards. In garbage time, Goff added a 26-yard rush (his career high), mostly slow-looking scamper down the right sideline. When Jared Goff is the leading rusher on a team featuring both D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams, it’s safe to assume that it isn’t a good sign. It wasn’t. All in all, though, Goff seems like he can provide slightly more fantasy value than he did last year in L.A., but he isn’t quite worthy of starting consideration just yet.

 

Running Backs

 

D’Andre Swift: 8 carries, 37 yards | 5 targets, 4 receptions, 41 yards

Jamaal Williams: 7 carries, 25 yards | 3 targets, 3 receptions, 12 yards

 

As I mentioned in the opener, the Lions completely abandoned the run early in the second half – and maybe just a little too early for those with shares of RB D’Andre Swift in their starting lineups this week. Swift was out-touched by RB Jamaal Williams 9-8 in the first half, and both backs combined for just 5 touches in the second half. Neither backs were able to break any big plays, and neither made much impact in your fantasy lineups, either. While Swift’s 4 receptions and nearly 80 scrimmage yards helped to salvage a somewhat respectable outing in PPR formats, it was a far cry from his explosive outing in Week 1, and many of his yards actually came at the end of the game with the Packers’ defense sitting around waiting for time to expire. Williams seems to be in no man’s land while receiving enough just enough work to steal away from Swift’s value, while not receiving quite enough work to create any value of his own. Swift could very well have a tough time bouncing back next week against a Ravens’ D that has been stout against the run thus far.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

T.J. Hockenson: 9 targets, 8 receptions, 66 yards, TD

Quintez Cephus: 7 targets, 4 reception, 63 yards, TD

Amon-Ra St. Brown: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 18 yards

 

With their WR1 Tyrell Williams sidelined in the concussion protocol, WR Quintez Cephus and TE T.J. Hockenson found themselves in Jared Goff’s crosshairs perhaps slightly more than usual. At least, that could be said for Cephus. Other than Detroit’s opening possession, Cephus actually had a quiet 2 catches for 12 yards. Cephus was dynamic on that first series though, first connecting with Goff on the bomb seen up above and then putting the exclamation point on that possession with this sneaky, 5-yard TD grab:

 

 

What is becoming more apparent, however, is that Hockenson is primed to be the stud of this pass-catching group this season. He’s now gone for 50+ yards and a TD for two straight weeks for the first time in his career – and does anyone see that ending soon? He added this beautiful, over-the-shoulder catch in the back corner of the end-zone:

 

 

Green Bay Packers

 

Quarterback

 

Aaron Rodgers: 22/27, 255 yards, 4 TD | 4 carries, 6 yards

 

R-E-L-A-X is the advice to always remember from the ever-mercurial Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers. After a Week 1 that saw Rodgers’ output limited to one of his worst ever outings as a pro, Week 2 served up some familiar home cooking. Rodgers responded with a vintage performance – firing four TDs to go with 5 incompletions on the night to stomp the Lions out in the second half. Rodgers didn’t need to heave the ball downfield a ton considering three of his four TD passes went to RB Aaron Jones. But Rodgers was still kind enough to take the time to show us he’s still capable of this:

 

 

Rodgers has a tough matchup next week against San Francisco, but after his redemption on Monday night, he is firmly back into must-start territory.

 

Running Backs

 

Aaron Jones: 17 carries, 67 yards, TD | 6 targets, 6 receptions, 48 yards, 3 TD

A.J. Dillon: 5 carries, 18 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 8 yards

Kylin Hill: 2 carries, 8 yards

 

Packers’ RB Aaron Jones was really bad last week against the Saints. He averaged just over 3 yards per touch in that contest and finished with just 22 total yards. I was anticipating Jones as a strong bounce-back candidate on Monday night, but I didn’t exactly predict he would finish with four TDs:

 

 

 

 

Jones started picking up chunk yardage plays right off the bat. We also saw multiple snaps in the first half with both Jones and Dillon on the field. Jones lost his father over the offseason, and has said that he is dedicating this entire season to his father’s memory. After the game, Jones mentioned that he had lost a necklace that he was wearing containing some of his father’s ashes. I really hope the grounds crew ends up finding it for him.

And while it’s still plenty early in the season, so far, it seems that RB A.J. Dillon has yet to challenge Jones for touches as Lions’ RB Jamaal Williams has historically done in Green Bay. If Jones can hold on to this percentage of Green Bay’s RB workload, he should easily finish as an RB1. It’s also at least slightly ironic that Williams is now challenging Swift for touches in Detroit, instead. Rookie RB Kylin Hill mixed in for only a couple of touches from scrimmage, but he did give us this amazing kickoff return – during which he both thumped his own guy and then hurdled a kicker:

 

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Davante Adams: 9 targets, 8 receptions, 121 yards

Robert Tonyan: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 52 yards, TD

Randall Cobb: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 26 yards

Marquez Valdes-Scantling: 4 targets

 

Packers’ WR Davante Adams failed to make much of an impact in the first half – finishing with just three grabs for 29 yards. We saw Adams line up more in the slot in the first half, in fact, his first reception of the night came on a 20-yard catch-and-run from the slot that featured a couple of filthy jukes. Even with so much of the scoring action going to Jones out of the backfield, there was still plenty of love to go around for the Packers’ pass-catching group. Continuing his usage trends from last year, TE Robert Tonyan is still posting insanely efficient numbers for Green Bay. 14.2 PPR points on just three targets is absolutely ridiculous, but when you make catches like this, the ridiculous seems routine:

 

It’s worth mentioning that all three of Tonyan, Adams, and WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling were targeted multiple times on plays that resulted in defensive penalties. It is also worth mentioning that even though Valdes-Scantling finished Monday night’s game without a catch, all of his targets were 1-on-1 going deep – including a late shot from Rodgers up by 18 with 3:30 left to go that was just out of his reach.

 

Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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