Get all your rowdy friends together because Detroit is coming to town.
Green Bay has a lot to remedy in the NFC North battle between the Lions and Packers on Monday Night Football. Redeeming a couple dreadful performances that left our Week 1 lineups in shambles tops our wishlist. Of course, the sweetest redemption would be a Green Bay victory laden with fantasy points.
Monday night should offer plenty of production that recently eluded the Packers’ offense -- the type of production that owners banked on when they made Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams and/or Aaron Jones the bedrock of their fantasy teams. Trust us, we empathize with your pain. Let’s all think good thoughts.
Detroit’s defense allowed the fifth-most yards (442) in the NFL in Week 1. San Francisco managed four offensive touchdowns and tacked on two field goals against the Lions in what started as a romp but ended in an unbelievable stream of touchdowns for Dan Campbell’s team. It was fun to watch compared to what went on between New Orleans and Green Bay in Jacksonville. Even more fun if you rostered D’Andre Swift or Jamaal Williams, the running back tandem for the Lions who combined for 49.4 points.
What can we expect from these divisional foes in Week 2? A semi-educated guess: Something similar to Detroit’s 41-33 loss; two teams hastily trading blows, capitalizing on weak, underperforming defense.
In case you’re tuning into our fantasy “advice” (the bunny ears are an admission of our greenness in the fantasy realm) for the first time and thus are unfamiliar with our rhymes, you can scan back to the initial breakdown of our fantasy categories in this Packers outlook. For what it’s worth, if you gambled on Saints tight end Juwan Johnson -- one of our Week 1 “shockers” -- you probably looked like a genius.
Here are our picks for Monday night’s primetime bout:
Packers WR Davante Adams | Confidence Clip: 100%
Of Green Bay’s three studs to put up duds, Adams is our favorite to immediately reclaim his rank atop fantasy leaderboards. Detroit cornerback Jeff Okudah’s season-ending Achilles injury dooms the Lions defense -- not that it was a robust unit beforehand. Adams, after all, was the Packers’ top fantasy play in Week 1 despite seeing the second-most targets on offense (behind Marquez Valdes-Scantling). Even if Detroit deploys two-high safeties in an attempt to minimize big plays, like New Orleans executed so magnificently, we expect Adams to find open grass and feast on an undermanned secondary. Let’s up the ante with a bold prediction: No. 17 makes double-digit grabs and not one, or two but three Lambeau Leaps.
Lions TE T.J. Hockenson | Confidence Clip: 100%
Hockenson is the heartbeat of Detroit’s team. He paced the Lions with 97 receiving yards in Week 1, and looked the part of a player positioned to lead the offense in targets this year. Actually, he should rank among the league leaders in targets and target share. Hockenson really doesn’t have wiggle room not to. Detroit’s top-four wide receivers -- Quintez Cephus, Kalif Raymond, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Tyrell Williams -- are either young or unspectacular and were largely non-factors in the opener. If Hockenson can avoid injury -- he spent the final four weeks of his rookie season on injured reserve and toughed out a toe injury for a good chunk of 2020 -- you should lock him in your lineup and throw away the key.
Lions RB D’Andre Swift/Jamaal Williams | Confidence Clip: 90%
These dudes are interchangeable. Literally. Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn showcased a legitimate two-headed backfield attack last week. Swift was on the field for about twice as many snaps (63 to 32) but Williams cashed in on akin opportunities. Swift logged 19 touches. Williams had 17. Swift compiled 104 yards from scrimmage. Williams was responsible for 110. They both reached paydirt. So, who do you insert in your lineup? Honestly, we don’t think you can go wrong with either and if you handcuffed Detroit’s backfield there’s no reason not to start ‘em both. Hockenson, Swift and Williams all tied for the team lead with eight receptions against the 49ers -- no other Lions pass-catcher had more than three. We envision Williams in particular to pound lanes with beastly authority against his old team.
Lions QB Jared Goff | Confidence Clip: 60%
Goff did wonders with the weapons at his disposal -- there just aren’t enough. If you eliminate an interception that was returned for six, the former Rams quarterback finished 38-for-56 (!!) for 338 passing yards and three touchdowns in his Lions debut. The jumbo numbers are a reflection of an early 28-point deficit, a reality that is bound to repeat itself due to Detroit’s feebleness on defense. But not a reality that has us ready to supplant another quarterback in your lineup -- unless you’re in one of those wretched two-quarterback leagues 😉 (we are, and man, it’s a thrill). The smart move is probably to bench Goff and see if he can replicate his gaudy statline on a weekly basis before elevating him to QB1.
Lions WR Kalif Raymond | Confidence Clip: 50%
Super sleeper alert. Raymond did most of his damage in Week 1 on Detroit’s last-ditch drive to tie the game, hauling in a 25-yard dart from Goff down the seam. He only saw four targets in a contest where Goff attempted almost 60 passes … so that’s certainly not going for him. But frankly it’s that rare involvement that gives Raymond some real sleeper potential in this matchup. Trigger-warning for Packers fans as we hark back to a grim moment from Sunday’s slaughtering: Jameis Winston’s 55-yard connection with speedster Deonte Harris -- who caught just one other pass -- divulged a weakness in Green Bay’s secondary, a weakness that plays to Raymond’s strengths. The fifth-year pro ran a 4.34 40-yard dash coming out of Holy Cross. One route, one shot, one opportunity is all Raymond needs.
Packers WR Allen Lazard | Confidence Clip: 65%
We could put Lazard OR Valdes-Scantling here. But the latter’s coming off a team-high eight targets for the Pack and turned them into three catches for 17 yards -- we really doubt that tickled Rodgers. Anyways, we’ll roll with Lazard as our breakout candidate for Green Bay on Monday night for a few obvious reasons. Detroit’s defense is bad. Rodgers will be out for blood. The Packers likely will score a lot of points. Plus -- oh, there’s more? -- Lazard has a pretty solid track record versus the Lions. Two of the 6-foot-5 receiver’s seven career games with touchdowns have been against Detroit. One more thing: when Green Bay kicked into high gear on its final drive before halftime against the Saints, three of Rodgers’ five passes were directed at Lazard … one went for 14 yards and another drew an illegal use of hands penalty. That confidence in crunch time ought to tell you something. It’s telling us Lazard might be worth a start.
Packers RB Aaron Jones | Confidence Clip: 70%
If you rocked with Jones in Week 1, there’s a good chance he flatlined your whole fantasy squad. Statistics aside, his usage was incredibly disappointing. He was on the field for less than half of Green Bay’s offensive plays (49% or 28 to be exact) and was featured on only five runs. The pass-heavy script and large deficit also aren’t great excuses for his handling. He’s supposed to be Green Bay’s top receiving threat out of the backfield, right? That’s a rhetorical question -- he’s caught almost 50 passes in each of the past two seasons; he has no competition in that department. You have to go all the way back to 2018, his second season in the NFL, to find a game where Jones compiled fewer total yards than he did in Week 1. That year, in a December game against the Bears, Jones carried four times for eight yards and wasn’t targeted … because he exited in the first quarter with a sprained MCL. Matt LaFleur shouldered responsibility for not getting his $48 million man more involved in the aftermath of Green Bay’s opener. Ideally, that gets corrected against a Lions defense which allowed 4.7 yards per carry and 131 rushing yards, the majority of which was gained by a rookie sixth-rounder. What’s that overused but totally true phrase ... actions speak louder than words. We’ll depend on Jones, again, once LaFleur feeds him.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers | Confidence Clip: 85%
The ugly: Rodgers stunk it up in Florida against the Saints, where he posted the fourth-worst passer rating of his career (36.8). The bad: We hate to make assumptions but Sunday’s beatdown sure seemed like the result of an offense training all summer long without its starting quarterback. Do the wrinkles iron themselves out in a week's time? Perhaps versus the Lions defense. The good: Rodgers’ three worst single-game performances came at Buffalo in 2014 (34.3), at Detroit in 2010 (34.7) and at Tampa Bay in 2020 (35.4). Don’t the dates spark some of your fondest Rodgers memories? He was named league MVP in 2014 and 2020 and the Packers defeated Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl in 2010. Yada yada cut to the chase -- what’s it mean for Rodgers’ fantasy bounceback in Week 2? Smells to us like boom or bust, but we’re leaning boom since San Francisco’s passing game carved up Detroit like a Halloween pumpkin.