Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- Guard/tackle Billy Turner and cornerback Jaire Alexander are the only players on the league’s COVID list for the Packers; tackle David Bakhtiari started the week with a limited showing before being downgraded to a “DNP” on Thursday as he attempts to return from an extended absence, while defensive end Keke Kingsley has yet to practice this week.
- Tackles Taylor Decker and Penie Sewell are joined by linebacker Austin Bryant on the league’s COVID list; fullback Jason Cabinda is the only player yet to practice this week for the Lions.
- Although the Packers have secured the number one seed in the NFC, any players they completely rest would go a full three weeks between their Week 17 game and the Divisional Round.
How green bay Will Try To Win ::
The Packers don’t necessarily care as much about winning as they do about making it through this game healthy while getting some live game repetitions along the way. Why is that the case? Since they have the one-seed locked up, the main decision for the Packers this week is whether or not to rest their starters in a meaningless game. That said, any starters that fully rest would go a full three weeks between live NFL action, as they would have last played in Week 17 and wouldn’t until their Divisional Round game. This puts head coach Matt LaFleur in an interesting spot, as he has to play the risk-reward game in order to come to the decision he feels is the best for his team. Although we don’t know for sure (at least not right now) what his final decision will be, the situation that makes the most sense is to get his starters some live game reps before pulling them in the second half. That will be my assumption for the remainder of this write-up. We know the Packers are going to play slow, we know they are going to remain balanced as far as play-calling goes, and we know they should carry top-end efficiency for as long as the starters are in. The matchup with the Lions presents a situation that they should be able to beat anywhere on the field.
Running back Aaron Jones has had his practice reps managed since returning from his missed game with a knee injury. His high in running back opportunities since returning to the lineup has been just 18 opportunities, and I wouldn’t expect more than a handful here. Some will point to AJ Dillon being the likeliest beneficiary, but he has become such an integral part of this offense that I don’t see him taking on much of an increased role even with Jones unlikely to see much run, meaning we should see between six to 10 opportunities from each before they make way for Patrick Taylor, who saw six opportunities last week with Kylin Hill on IR. The matchup on the ground is pristine, yielding a robust 4.645 net-adjusted line yards metric, leaving the only concern the lack of certainty surrounding expected workloads. That would be a different discussion should Jones and/or Dillon rest, in which case the remaining member(s) of this backfield become highly intriguing.
It’s a similar story for the passing game here, as I’d expect Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Josiah Deguara to play about half of the game. They should give way to Jordan Love, Equanimeous St. Brown, Juwann Winfree, Amari Rodgers, and Tyler Davis, likely leaving all members of the Packers passing game highly reliant on efficiency and touchdowns as a means of generating any fantasy utility. The matchup through the air is another pure one, as the Lions have been routinely victimized by deep passing on a league-average completion rate allowed. Should we get a more concrete answer before kickoff of what to expect with respect to personnel usage, we can adjust those thoughts based on who would be on the field this week.
How detroit Will Try To Win ::
The Lions come into their season finale battling through injuries, inconsistent quarterback play, and mass underperformance (outside of D’Andre Swift earlier in the season and Amon-Ra St. Brown later in the season). This is an organization with a lot to figure out in the offseason, but one that has a coaching staff hungry for improvement. They would like nothing more than to end their season with an emphatic victory at home against their divisional rivals. That is, assuming they don’t think the Jaguars can beat the Colts, in which case a victory would be a monumental failure (they currently hold the second overall pick in next years draft and can secure the first pick with a loss and a Jaguars win, however unlikely that may be). We’ve talked about this all season, but this Lions offense is built around the power run and intermediate passing games (of course, they’d like to be more aggressive downfield but are largely incapable of doing so based on the shortcomings of their quarterback room). Their year-long situation-neutral pass rate sits at a low 47%, which jumps all the way up to 63% when playing from behind this year. They run the league’s second-slowest situation-neutral offense, which jumps all the up to the second-fastest offense in the second half.
D’Andre Swift, Jamaal Williams, and Craig Reynolds split the backfield work last week (Swift’s first game back from four missed games) at a 57%/32%/22% clip, and I’d expect that split to remain rather sticky this week. It simply doesn’t make sense to run Swift into the ground, nor does it make sense to sit him entirely. That should lead to somewhere between 12 to 15 running back opportunities for Swift and Williams, with Reynolds left to fight for the six to eight remaining opportunities from the backfield. The matchup on the ground yields an above-average 4.415 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Packers defense ranked second-worst in that regard. The Packers cede only 21.5 fantasy points per game to opposing backfields, primarily due to facing the third-fewest rush attempts against (the combination of routine positive game script and an extremely slow pace of play simply mute the rushing output against).
Amon-Ra St. Brown has seen 11 or more targets in five straight games, which have come with a mixture of Jared Goff and Tim Boyle at quarterback. His crisp routes, ability to separate within five yards of the line of scrimmage, and quickness have made him the favorite target of both quarterbacks and the only real threat from this offense of late. Furthermore, the slot wide receiver has now scored five total touchdowns in his last five games (four receiving and one rushing). It bears mention that his price has come up to almost-prohibitive levels for a pass-catcher with a 6.9 aDOT, but there is nothing here to preclude him from once again cracking double-digit targets. Expect Kalif Raymond and Josh Reynolds to return to their starting perimeter roles after missing last week on the league’s COVID list, each typically floating around 70% snap rates. The tight end room has been a mess since TJ Hockenson was lost for the season, with all of Brock Wright, Shane Zylstra, Jared Pinkey, and Ross Travis playing significant snaps over the previous four weeks (who?).
Likeliest Game Flow ::
We’re likely to see the Packers score two to three touchdowns in the first half, assuming the starters end up playing (which, again, I think is most likely here). This should make this game environment a familiar sight for the Lions, who have shown to be extremely aggressive in the second half of games they trail. Expect the Lions to increase their pace of play to extreme levels, their pass rates to above-average levels, and their desperation in the second half. It is also likely the starters for the Packers don’t touch the field in the second half, providing a viable opportunity for the Lions to claw their way back into the game. Whatever production the Lions can muster is likeliest to flow through Amon-Ra St. Brown and the running backs.
- The Packers have clinched the one-seed and only bye out of the NFC.
- The Lions have long been eliminated from post-season contention and currently hold the number two pick in 2022’s NFL draft – they could secure the first overall pick should they lose, and the Jaguars win this week.
TOP PLAYS OF THE WEEKEND
SORTABLE GREEN ZONE TOUCHES
TEAM & PLAYER DK POINTS
DFS+ Interpretation ::
By Alex88 >>
- Tied for third highest total of Week 18
- GB’s implied total of 24.25 is the ninth highest
- The spread (GB -4) dropped seven points Monday afternoon even though Matt LaFleur told reporters about this game that they would “approach it like any other,” indicating Vegas not buying that the starters would have meaningful roles
- DET’s implied total of 20.25 is the 12th lowest
- GB has the best ATS record (12-3), DET ranks tied for third (10-6)
- GB has scored 24+ pts in each of the past six games: 31 // 36 // 45 // 31 // 24 // 37
- Their opponent scores the past six games: 34 // 28 // 30 // 30 // 22 // 10
- DET has scored 16 or fewer pts in three of their past six games, and 29 or 30 pts in the other three
- Their opponents scores the past six games: 16 // 27 // 38 // 12 // 20 // 51
- On the season, GB ranks 10th in ppg (26.2) while DET ranks 29th (18)
- GB’s defense ranks eighth (20.9) while DET ranks 30th (27.3)
- As a team, GB has nothing to play for after clinching the #1 seed last week
- DET is locked into a top two draft pick, with a chance at the first overall if JAX can upset IND
- Aaron Rodgers does have a few contract incentives he could theoretically earn, so he could see some playing time
- Love ranks 72nd in PFF passing grade this season
- Lone career regular season start came in Week 9 @ KC after Rodgers tested positive for COVID
- Stat line from that game: 19/34:190:1:1 for 12.9 DK pts
- 2021 preseason stat line: 24/35:271:1:1
- DET ranks 20th in DK ppg allowed to QBs (19)
- Just two QBs in the last eight games have scored 20+ DK pts vs. DET
- DK pts (stat line): Kirk Cousins 24.2 (30/40:340:2:0) // Russell Wilson 27.84 (20/29:236:4:0)
GB Passing Attack
- On Wednesday, Davante Adams said he didn’t expect to play the full game (per NBC Sports Edge)
- With nothing to play for, the starters are unlikely to see the field beyond a few series
- Backup WRs in the regular season (stat line): Equanimeous St. Brown (7/11:76:0) // Juwann Winfree (5/10:42:0)
- WR leaders in the preseason (stat line): Amari Rodgers (13/17:87:0) // Malik Taylor (14/16:185:0) // Reggie Begelton (7/12:80:0)
- Begelton was released in the final roster cuts before the regular season
- All four remaining tertiary WRs are priced at the DK minimum in Week 18
- DET ranks 21st in DK ppg allowed to WRs (35.9)
- Notable opposing WR scores: Darnell Mooney 20.5 // Mooney 21.5 // Justin Jefferson 22.4 // Davante Adams 23.1 // Christian Kirk 24.4 // DK Metcalf 30.9 // Deebo Samuel 35.9 // Jefferson 38.6 // Cooper Kupp 40.6
- TE snap share: Marcedes Lewis 43.7% // Josiah Deguara 32.3% // Dominique Dafney 20.7%
- Targets per game: Deguara 1.9 // Lewis 1.7 // Dafney 0.3
- Only Deguara has scored double digit DK pts this season
- DET ranks 24th in DK ppg allowed to TEs (14.2)
- Notable opposing TE scores: Tyler Conklin 12.6 // Dallas Goedert 13.2 // Zach Ertz 13.4 // Robert Tonyan 14.2 // Cole Kmet 14.5 // Albert Okwuegbunam 15.1 // Mark Andrews 18.9 // Kyle Pitts 19.2
- Preseason stat lines (attempts:yards:TDs:FUMs): Patrick Taylor 23:89:0:1 // Kylin Hill 19:64:1:0 // Dexter Williams 17:82:0:0
- Taylor and Hill are priced at the DK minimum in Week 18
- Starters Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon have combined for seven 20+ DK pt performances this season
- DET ranks 30th in DK ppg allowed to RBs (28.3)
- There have been 10 instances of an RB scoring 20+ DK pts vs. DET this year
- Jared Goff has missed the past two games, and was limited in practice on Wednesday
- On the season, he ranks 29th in PFF passing grade
- Tim Boyle has started in the last two games
- Stat lines: @ ATL (24/34:187:1:1) // @ SEA (22/37:262:2:3)
- GB ranks 25th in DK ppg allowed to QBs (19.4)
- Notable opposing QB scores: Joe Burrow 20.34 // Jared Goff 20.44 // Justin Fields 21.36 // Taylor Heinicke 22.22 // Matthew Stafford 26.98 // Kirk Cousins 28.24 // Jameis Winston 29.62 // Tyler Huntley 35.9
DET Passing Attack
- Snap share: Amon-Ra St. Brown 72.9% // Kalif Raymond 67.1% // Brock Wright 41.2% // Josh Reynolds 37.6% // Shane Zylstra 31.2% // Trinity Benson 26.7%
- Target share: St. Brown 19.4% // Raymond 11.8% // Reynolds 8.2% // Benson 3.9% // Wright 2.7% // Zylstra 1.2%
- St. Brown is one of six players since 2010 to have five consecutive games of 8+ receptions (per Sam Hoppen)
- Among all WRs in the past five weeks, he ranks third in targets, fourth in yardage, fifth in target share, and seventh in WOPR (per Koalaty Stats)
- He’s also rushed six times for 49 yards and 1 TD in the last five games
- His 25.6 DK ppg ranks third in that time
- He’s scored 20+ DK pts in four of the past five games: 23.5 // 24.8 // 26 // 38.4
- Raymond is the only other starting WR to hit 20 DK pts this season
- Preseason stat lines for remaining non-starter WRs: Tom Kennedy (8/10:107:0) // Javon McKinley (3/3:50:1) // Quintez Cephus (5/6:50:1)
- GB ranks ninth in DK ppg allowed to WRs (34)
- Adam Thielen’s 22.2 DK pts & Justin Jefferson’s 40.2 in Week 11 are the last time a WR scored 20+ vs. GB
- Neither Wright nor Zylstra have scored double digit DK pts this year
- GB ranks 22nd in DK ppg allowed to TEs (13.4)
- Six opposing TEs have scored double digit DK pts vs. GB: Ricky Seals-Jones 11.1 // Gerald Everett 14.3 // George Kittle 17.1 // Travis Kelce 17.8 // TJ Hockenson 20.6 // Mark Andrews 38.6
- Prior to Week 17, HC Dan Campbell said that D’Andre Swift would be cut loose
- Swift saw just six snaps @ SEA
- Jamaal Williams led the RBs in snaps with 12 (11:22:1)
- Craig Reynolds was second with seven (4:4:0)
- Preseason RBs still on the roster (stat line): Jermar Jefferson (18:72:0) // Reynolds (15:87:2) // Godwin Igwebuike (15:46:2)
- All three are priced at $4,300 or lower in Week 18 on DK
- GB ranks seventh in DK ppg allowed to RBs (21.4)
- Just three opposing RBs have scored 20+ DK pts vs. GB: Najee Harris 21.1 // Dalvin Cook 22.5 // Nick Chubb 30.4