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Monday Night Football Preview: What to Expect Fantasy-Wise from Lions at Packers

Previewing the fantasy football matchups in the Monday Night Football game between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers.

Week 2 of the 2021 NFL season wraps up with Monday Night Football as the Green Bay Packers play host to the Detroit Lions. Here is my fantasy football preview to the game, offering up my starts and sits for Monday night action.

Detroit Lions

QB Jared Goff — Goff is sneakily on the QB1 streaming radar with the combination of the Packers placing DE Za’Darius Smith on Injured Reserve and the Lions’ unveiling a highly efficient passing attack in Week 1. Utilizing 11 personnel (3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 RB) 71% of the time, the league’s eighth highest mark, Goff zeroed in on running backs D’Andre Swift, Jamaal Williams, and tight end T.J. Hockenson. The 1-2 RB punch saw passes come their way on 19% of DET’s throwing attempts with the TEs position receiving 23% of the passing looks, both marks tied for 11th-most in the league. Keeping things simple and short for Goff—his 6.5 average intended air yards was eighth lowest in the league—paid big time dividends. The newly-installed Lions’ passer finished as the overall QB3 in fantasy last week. With a comfortable pocket expected for Week 2, Goff is again on the QB1 radar.

WR Quintez Cephus — Cephus co-led the Lions’ WR group last week, catching 3-of-6 targets for 12 yards and 1 touchdown. Rookie Trinity Benson also saw six attempts come his way but failed to do much with them. With No. 1 WR Tyrell Williams out (concussion), Benson could be fired up in contrarian DFS lineups but place a heavy emphasis on contrarian. Cephus is the far better flex play although he’s not an overly talented receiver.

TE T.J. Hockenson — Hockenson tied Swift for the overall team-lead in targets, hauling in 8-of-11 targets for 97 thunderous yards and 1 touchdown, en route to the third highest .5PPR point total at the position (21.7). Look Dwain McFarland’s way for the specifics but understand that Hockenson’s overall workload was elite. The Lion is officially a member of the position’s top tier.

RB D’Andre Swift & Jamaal Williams — The Lions’ duo rocked the fantasy world last week with both finishing in the top 5 of the running back ranks. A league-high 84 plays surely helped, and can’t really be expected again, but the point has been made; the offense runs through these two. When Swift and Williams weren’t hoovering up their respective 11 and 9 targets, they were shredding San Fran on the ground, toting the rock on 57% of Detroit’s first-half early-down plays. The explosive Swift should be treated as a top-15 back from here on out—and another phenomenal outing against division rival Green Bay would make a strong case for a top-8 RB season-long prognostication. Williams is likely to trail Swift in the passing game by a hair for the rest of the year as Swift is firmly on the CMC/Alvin Kamara receiving back spectrum but he’s a high-volume dual threat nonetheless. Williams is a mid-tier RB2 with easy RB1 upside.

Green Bay Packers

QB Aaron Rodgers — Green Bay strangely strayed from their play-action-heavy game plans in their Week 1 loss to the Saints, finishing bottom 10 in the league (6), after posting a top 10 total (147) in 2020. The Saints D registered a middling eight pressures on Rodgers but fortunately for the Pack, their Week 2 opponent finished with an even less impressive sum: three. The lackluster Jimmy Garoppolo managed to hang 314 passing yards on the Lions in Week 1, and that was largely without WR Brandon Aiyuk on the field. Look for a bounce back performance from the veteran Rodgers in primetime on Monday. He’s safely a top-12 fantasy play.

WR Davante Adams & Marquez Valdes-Scantling — Adams hauled in a respectable 5-of-7 targets for 56 yards but the target total was completely unwarranted. Downfield target MVS somehow finished with a team-high 8 targets, but somewhat predictably caught only 3 for 17 yards. Alpha receivers like Adams who deserve 10 or so targets per week rarely go underutilized two weeks in a row. Rodgers will try to put a smile on Adams’ face this evening with the tried and true method of double digits opportunities. Valdes-Scantling can be started in multi-flex leagues with a low-floor/multi-touchdown ceiling as his potential range of outcomes. It’s a great matchup.

WR Allen Lazard & TE Robert Tonyan — Green Back opted for 11 personnel on 79% of offensive plays last week, third most in the league. Lazard’s 39 snaps were second-most at the position, while Tonyan’s 28 were the most among the tight ends. We’d like to see a little more daylight between Tonyan No. 2 TE Mercedes Lewis’ snap count (15) but 28 with Rodgers is nothing to shake a stick at. Lazard can be used for WR-needy, multi-flex teams but isn’t a great option in solo flex formats. Niners’ TE George Kittle tagged Detroit on a 4-of-5 for 78-yard stat line last week, offering solid TE1 hopes for Tonyan this week.

RB Aaron Jones — Fantasy managers should go right back to the RB1 well with Jones this week after last week’s flop. Once the game was out of hand, GB subbed it’s starters out, resulting in inflated snap totals for backups A.J. Dillon and Kylin Hill. Last week, in-game fill-in RB Elijah Mitchell ran roughshod over the hapless Lions’ defensive pack for the 49ers. Jones should have little issue producing a similar result.

RB A.J. Dillon & Kylin Hill — The backups are not fantasy relevant at this time.

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