XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT
Week 8 closes out with the Raiders visiting the Lions for a 46.5 total game in which Detroit is favored by 7.5. The Lions have averaged about 25 points per game this season but about 33 per game at home since 2022, which is insane. All teams have home/road splits, but the Detroit offense has some of the most extreme. With a sample size of over a season, I think it’s fair to say there’s some amount of validity to this and that it isn’t just random variance. The Lions are set up perfectly for an offensive explosion at home in a soft matchup, while the Raiders . . . well, they got Jimmy Garoppolo back? Yay? And at least their offense is highly concentrated? This is a fun one to dig into.
On the Detroit side, things are set up perfectly for a Jahmyr Gibbs explosion. The Lions are without David Montgomery, and backup Craig Reynolds played just 9% of the snaps last week while Gibbs handled 87%. Assuming the Lions play from ahead, I would imagine Reynolds has a bigger role with maybe 20-30% of the snaps, but Gibbs is still in an elite spot. The matchup is great, he’s a huge home favorite, and he has a solid passing game role. DraftKings has also somewhat comically priced him at just $8,600, which seems insane since he scored 27.6 points last week, but okay. He’s likely to be the most popular play on the slate, but it’s hard to really argue with him not being the best play on the slate unless you just want to take a “well, football is weird” stance. Reynolds at $3,200 is reasonably priced for an RB2 and he could see more run in a blowout victory, which means he correlates nicely with the Lions defense.
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In the passing game, the Lions will trot out Amon-Ra St. Brown, Josh Reynolds, and then a carousel at the WR3 position. ASRB is obviously elite and in an elite matchup. As the most expensive player on the slate, the only uncertainty I have around him is the volume in a game the Lions may well win handily. While he has seen 12 and 15 targets in two 20-6 wins against the Bucs and the Falcons, those are both matchups that skew towards attacking via the air, while this matchup is quite easy on the ground. He’s still a fine play, but with more risk associated due to his price, and he could end up only seeing 7-8 targets instead of a double digit day. Reynolds makes for a risky but reasonable upside tournament play, as he won’t be the primary target (his high on the season is seven targets), but he’s the WR2 for a high-flying offense that is at a price point that generally leads players to go underowned. He’s not a safe play, if he comes in at around 20% ownership or so, I’d estimate his chances of being in the optimal lineup are meaningfully higher than that so I would want an overweight position. At WR3, Kalif Raymond, Antoine Green, and Jameson Williams are rotating, which just saps away the upside. Williams is the most talented and I would expect his role to grow as the season goes on, but he’s already priced in anticipation of that growth as the most expensive of this trio. He’s fine if you want to take a stand that this is the week his role expands meaningfully. Raymond and Green, I will mostly be off, because neither is very good and they’re both quite low in the pecking order with the Lions heavily utilizing their running back and tight end in the passing game – both can be treated as punt plays with Raymond the preferred of the two.
At tight end, Sam LaPorta is crushing the old “rookie tight ends can’t succeed in the NFL” stereotype, currently fourth in the league in fantasy scoring at the position. $7,400 is a little too cheap for the overall TE4 on the season. He’s second on the team in targets with 49 (WR2 Reynolds has just 30) and this is a spot I want to heavily invest in. Backup TE Brock Wright is seeing his role diminish as the Lions have been opting to use more 3-wide sets and is an MME punt play.