Monday Night Football
Detroit @ Seattle
Reeling on offense to the extent that players have begun publicly calling out OC Joe Lombardi, the Lions have all the appearances of a dumpster fire. Things won’t improve Monday night in Seattle, where the home team is coming off a Week 3 shutout win in which difference-making SS Kam Chancellor returned from an extended holdout. Ten-point road dogs in a game with a 43-point Vegas total, Detroit’s team total is a pathetic 16.5 points. That’s only slightly more than Jimmy Clausen‘s Bears were assigned in this same spot last week. … Reverting to his wild and erratic ways behind a mishmash offensive line, Matthew Stafford leads the NFC in interceptions (5) with six turnovers through three games. Particularly with dynamic rookie Tyler Lockett supplementing their scoring via kick and punt return TDs, fantasy owners should be very excited to tee up the Seahawks’ D/ST. … Joique Bell literally has 22 yards on 20 carries this season. Per PFF’s Pat Thorman, Bell has forced one missed tackle on 20 rushing attempts. For perspective, Adrian Peterson forced ten missed tackles last week alone. I have no idea why Joique remains a part of the Lions’ offense, but his presence is rendering Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddickvirtually unusable in fantasy leagues. Theoretical lead back Abdullah failed to play over 47% of Detroit’s snaps in each of the first three weeks. All Lions RBs should be left on fantasy benches against a Seattle defense that held Rams, Packers, and Bears RBs to 237 scoreless yards on 65 carries (3.65 YPC) in Weeks 1-3.
Friday Update: Held out of Thursday and Friday’s practices with an ankle injury, Bell’s Week 4 status is in doubt. If Joique cannot play against the Seahawks, both Abdullah and Riddick would get bumps in usage. While I wouldn’t be excited to play either of them in a fantasy league at Seattle, Abdullah could end up running away with the Lions’ feature back job if he capitalizes on increased opportunity. Detroit’s running game has been nonexistent to this point. It desperately needs a spark.
Stafford’s target distribution in Weeks 1-3: Calvin Johnson 34; Golden Tate 25; Eric Ebron 20; Riddick 18; Lance Moore 11; Abdullah 10; Bell 5. … In last week’s win over the Bears, Seattle left Richard Sherman at LCB all game with Marcus Burley covering the slot in nickel packages. If Lombardi is smart — and the jury is out on whether he is — he’ll move Megatron around in an effort to get him matched up with Burley and RCB Cary Williams. Johnson is far from an ideal daily fantasy play this week, but season-long leaguers should be able to hang their hats on volume. Johnson has seen target totals of 17 and 13 the past two weeks. … “Revenge game” narrative for Tate? On paper, Tate would seem to have the best matchup of the Lions’ pass catchers, as he ordinarily mans the slot when Detroit goes three wide, and therefore would predominately run routes against Burley. Still, with scoreless lines of 4-24, 6-80, and 5-57 through three weeks, Tate is on the fantasy WR3 fringe. … Chancellor’s return upgrades the Seahawks’ tight end coverage after they allowed a combined 7-122-1 stat line to Rams TEs in Week 1 and 3-23-1 plus a two-point conversion to Richard Rodgers in Week 2. Bears tight ends managed 5-36-0 on Seattle last week. Seventh in fantasy tight end scoring entering Week 4, Ebron is on the TE1/2 fringe against the Seahawks. He’s not an especially attractive streamer.
With a team total of 26.5 points, the fantasy outlooks are much more favorable for Seahawks players. Though not quite to the extent of the offense, Detroit’s defense has taken a big step back early this season. … In Weeks 1-3, Philip Rivers, Teddy Bridgewater, and Peyton Manning combined to tag the Lions for an efficient 79-of-101 passing (78.2%), 882 yards (8.73 YPA), five touchdowns, and three interceptions. The Lions have only four sacks through three games. Russell Wilson has attempted 30 or more passes in each of the first three weeks after doing so only seven times in 19 games last season, including playoffs. A top-ten fantasy quarterback so far this season, Wilson is an every-week QB1 and a potential Monday Night Hammer in DFS tournaments, where he’s a lock go to low owned. … More reasons to give Wilson a long Week 4 look in daily fantasy are Marshawn Lynch‘s (calf/hamstring) possible absence and Detroit’s stout run defense, which held Chargers, Vikings, and Broncos RBs to 288 yards and four TDs on 81 carries (3.56 YPC) in Weeks 1-3. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Lynch is “50-50” to play on Monday night. Lynch played sparingly in last week’s win over the Bears while impressive UDFA Thomas Rawls dominated the workload over Fred Jackson, logging a 51% snap rate to F-Jax’s 31% with 16 touches to Jackson’s four. If Lynch turns out to be inactive, Rawls will be a low-end RB2 option against the Lions. Lynch, as always, will be an RB1 if he gets the green light.
Wilson’s Weeks 1-3 target distribution: Doug Baldwin 20; Jermaine Kearse and Jimmy Graham 18; Lynch 14; Tyler Lockett 7; Jackson and Luke Willson 5; Chris Matthews 4. … PFF has charged burnable Lions slot corner Josh Wilson with eight receptions allowed on ten targeted passes so far this season. Baldwin has a pair of seven-catch games under his belt and is worth a long look as a WR3 play in PPR leagues. … Logging only 68% of Seattle’s offensive snaps the last two weeks, Kearse is losing time to Lockett and Matthews. The Seahawks’ receiver rotation behind Baldwin isn’t worth fantasy consideration beyond Lockett in return-yardage leagues. … The Lions have played leaky tight end coverage, ceding 5-74-1 to Ladarius Green in Week 1, 5-30-1 to Kyle Rudolph in Week 2, and 6-54-1 to Broncos TEs Owen Daniels and Virgil Green last week. DFS players willing to go a bit contrarian should give the Wilson-Graham stack a serious look. While Graham obviously isn’t producing like he used to in New Orleans, he does rank sixth among tight ends in catches (14) with an end-zone trip in two of Seattle’s first three games.
Score Prediction: Seahawks 24, Lions 13
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