ALLEN PARK, Mich.– Congratulations, you’re in the fantasy football playoffs. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re either a daily fantasy player or you’re in the semifinals or finals of your fantasy league.
So clearly, you’ve had a good year. And the Detroit Lions – a somewhat confounding team from a fantasy football perspective – play on Monday night. But, the Lions also face one of the worst defenses in the league.
So a lot of the Lions become intriguing plays for you, the fantasy owner in search of a championship.
Matthew Stafford: Unless you have a top=five quarterback (Cam Newton, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Carson Palmer or Aaron Rodgers), you should be rolling with Stafford this week against the Saints. New Orleans has the worst defensive QBR in the league (78.7), allows 278.77 yards passing per game and according to ESPN metrics quarterbacks have scored 25-plus fantasy points against New Orleans in all but four games this season. So Stafford is a smart play.
Joique Bell: He ran well against St. Louis last week, but don’t expect too much out of him anymore. He has had less than 10 carries in all but one game since coming back from his ankle injury in Week 7, so he has limited chances at best to make something happen. In a playoff scenario, you’re going to have better options and in a daily scenario, he’s still the third-best option out of the Detroit backfield.
Ameer Abdullah: He was less effective against the Rams than he has been in the few weeks before that, but he’s still the best rushing/receiving option out of the Detroit backfield. The Saints are poor defensively so he could be in line for a big game, but he has had only two double-digit fantasy point games in his last seven outings so he’s going to be no better than a flex option for you.
Theo Riddick: The PPR monster is still not going to give you much in a non-PPR format, but he’s continuing to put up consistently good numbers for fantasy purposes. He has been a little bit less consistent under new coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, but he’s still put up 10-plus points in four of the past six outings. He’s going to be your best option of the Detroit running backs, especially if you think the game is going to be a high-scoring one.
Calvin Johnson: Coincidental fact – the last two times Calvin Johnson has played in a game following a one-catch performance he has gone off with 10 receptions and over 125 yards. Both of those games came in the 2010 season, so it’s a while ago now, but there should be a concerted effort to get Johnson involved quickly Monday night. Against a bad Saints defense, he should have the chance to thrive.
Golden Tate: He had his best game of the season against St. Louis, grabbing a season-high nine receptions and scoring twice. He’s put up double-digit fantasy numbers the past six weeks and been much more consistent under Jim Bob Cooter. His volume keeps increasing so he, like Johnson, could be in line for a good day.
Lance Moore: In a playoff scenario, he’s going to be a bit risky this week. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him have a pretty good game against his old team in the Superdome, but he hasn’t played since hurting his ankle and he could see some of his snaps taken by TJ Jones. He would be a better daily fantasy play than banking on him for playoff production.
Corey Fuller: Nope, don’t bother.
TJ Jones: He’s probably not worth starting in any format, but keep an eye on him if you’re in a keeper league for 2016. He could get a lot more work over the final three weeks of the season, so if you’re in a dynasty, see how he does and stash him away for possible usage next season. He’d be too risky a play for this week, though.
Eric Ebron: This could be a big week for Ebron. He should get a lot more work with Brandon Pettigrew on injured reserve, and he had some of his most productive games of the season when Pettigrew was out earlier this year. He’s not going to be a top-flight tight end for you this week, but he’s worth consideration considering the Saints have given up 19 or more points to the tight end group in four of the past five games – including six touchdowns over that span as well.
Tim Wright: He should be active this week, but he’s not going to be worth playing.