Every week, I’ll be writing a comprehensive primer on every NFL matchup and all of the relevant players, matchups, pace and playcalling notes, and injuries. It covers everything you need to know when setting your lineups. But since that article is massive and requires a full pot of coffee, we’re also going to offer these more focused matchup overviews to help you prepare for Thursday Night Football: Lions vs. Packers.
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Thursday Night Football Primer & Start/Sit Advice
Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers
- DET -1, O/U 45
- Lions vs. Packers Player Prop Bets via BettingPros
Pace and playcalling notes
- The Lions have been a disappointing team from a pace and passing rate perspective this year. They are 21st and 27th in neutral pace and passing rate.
- This game will be one of the slowest of the Week 4 slate. The Packers are 18th in neutral pace while also ranking 24th in neutral passing rate.
Jared Goff: Goff continues to play, hands down, fantastic football. He ranks fourth in passing grade, third in yards per attempt, and fourth in adjusted completion rate. He’s also ninth in fantasy points per dropback. The Packers have held opposing passers to the 11th-lowest yards per attempt, but they are allowing the seventh-highest adjusted completion rate. Goff should have no problems shredding the Packers’ zone coverage (70-83% of their starting corners snaps). Goff has the eighth-highest yards per attempt and second-highest fantasy points per dropback this season against zone. I would worry about the Packers’ pass rush (11th-best in pressure rate and blitz rate), but Detroit has done a fine job keeping Goff clean (ninth-lowest pressure rate faced). Week 4 Positional Value: Borderline QB1
Jordan Love: Love hasn’t been impressive outside of running hot with touchdowns in the first two games. Among 34 qualifying quarterbacks, he ranks 22nd in passing grade, dead last in adjusted completion rate, and has the 13th-highest turnover-worthy play rate. Detroit has been a much-improved defense this season. They have held quarterbacks to the 12th-lowest yards per attempt and seventh-lowest adjusted completion rate. Detroit has permitted the 17th-lowest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Love will have to turn it up to another level that we have yet to see to walk away with a standout day in Week 4. Detroit has utilized zone coverage on 62-66% of their corners snaps. Against zone, Love is 19th in passer rating with the highest turnover-worthy throw rate. Week 4 Positional Value: QB2
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 26, 2023
David Montgomery: It looks like Montgomery will be back this week. He practiced in a limited fashion on Monday and Tuesday. In the first two games of the season, Montgomery averaged 62% of the snaps played with 19 touches and 74 total yards. Montgomery ranks 12th in missed tackles forced per attempt and 26th in yards after contact per attempt (among 59 qualifying running backs). With only one target this season, his value is almost exclusively tied to early down production. The Packers’ run defense has been up and down. While they have held opposing teams to the sixth-lowest explosive run rate, they also have the fourth-lowest stuff rate and have allowed the tenth-highest yards per carry (4.67) to gap runs (Montgomery 56.8% gap). Week 4 Positional Value: low-end RB2/high-end RB3
Jahmyr Gibbs: I’d expect Gibbs’ workload in Week 4 to be comparable to his Week 2 usage. He played 48% of the snaps with 14 touches and 56 total yards. He had a scintillating 56.8% route run per team dropback rate with a 25.7% Target share (nine targets). I don’t know if he sees nine targets, but a median projection of 6-7 targets isn’t insane. Among 59 qualifying running backs, Gibbs ranks fifth in missed tackles forced per attempt and 25th in yards after contact per attempt. Gibbs should enjoy the same gap scheme production on the ground against Green Bay (Gibbs 67.7% gap). Green Bay has allowed the third-most receptions and receiving yards to backs, along with the tenth-highest yards per reception. Week 4 Positional Value: RB2
Packers QB Jordan Love was sure talking like they were going to have running back Aaron Jones back for Thursday against the Lions, and then WR Romeo Doubs just came right out and said it.
— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) September 26, 2023
Aaron Jones: It sounds like Aaron Jones will be back this week. He was able to log limited practices on Monday and Tuesday (hamstring). Jones played 47% of the snaps in Week 1 with 11 touches and 127 total yards. Jones left midway through the third quarter of the game. Prior to his exit in the first half, Jones played 75% of the snaps, so don’t get it twisted. Jones was the workhorse back, with A.J. Dillon spelling him occasionally. Among 65 qualifying running backs, Jones ranks 37th in yards after contact per attempt. All I can say to Jones in Week 4 against the Lions’ run defense…good luck. Detroit has held rushers to the 12th-lowest explosive run rate, the seventh-worst stuff rate, and the third-lowest yards after contact per attempt. The Lions are 14th in yards per carry allowed to gap runs (Jones 55.6% gap). Jones should be able to make up for any rushing shortcomings in the passing game. Detroit has allowed the seventh-best receiving yards and yards per reception to running backs. Week 4 Positional Value: Low-end RB1/high-end RB2
A.J. Dillon: Dillon is a flex play best left on the bench. The rushing matchup is a tough one, and Dillon hasn’t been an elusive runner. Among 59 qualifying running backs, he ranks 38th in yards after contact per attempt with zero breakaway runs and the ninth-lowest elusive rating. Week 4 Positional Value: low-ceiling flex play
Amon-Ra St. Brown: St. Brown looked healthy in Week 3 as he ran a route on 100% of Goff’s dropbacks with a 36.4% Target share. St. Brown remains a locked-in must-play weekly. Among 124 qualifying wide receivers, he is 13th in Target share and eighth in yards per route run (YPRR) as the WR13 in fantasy. St. Brown is seventh in first-read share, immediately behind Tyreek Hill. He should run circles around Keisean Nixon (90.9% catch rate and 130.7 passer rating) on 51% of his routes from the slot. The Packers have struggled to defend the deep ball again this season with the sixth-worst passer rating and adjusted completion rate allowed to passes of 20 yards or more. St. Brown leads the team with five deep targets. Week 4 Positional Value: WR1
Josh Reynolds: Reynolds fell back to earth in Week 3 as he failed to draw a target. He has an acceptable 70.1% route run per team dropback rate, but the rest of his usage metrics are meh. He has drawn an 11.7% Target share, a 19.8% air yard share, and only one red zone target. Reynolds will run about 61% of his routes against Rasul Douglas (62.5% catch rate and 73.4 passer rating) and Corey Ballentine (66.7% catch rate and 92.4 passer rating). Week 4 Positional Value: WR5
Kalif Raymond: The Lions finally woke up and dropped Marvin Jones‘ route run rate to 35.3% in Week 3. Raymond was the big beneficiary, with a 50% route run rate and an 18.2% Target share. That route run per team dropback rate needs to be higher to consider him in fantasy, though. Asking him to reproduce his 35% TPRR (the same as St. Brown) is unreasonable. Raymond could walk away with a good day if he and Goff can connect on a deep shot, though. Green Bay is bottom of the barrel against deep passing. Raymond is second on the team with four deep targets. Week 4 Positional Value: Deep league flex or DFS Showdown play
Christian Watson asked if he’s playing Thursday.
“That’s the plan.”
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) September 26, 2023
Christian Watson: Watson is set to return in Week 4. He didn’t practice on Monday, but he did manage a limited practice on Tuesday. Watson should have a field day against Detroit’s zone coverage (65-66% of their corner’s snaps). Last year, after he was a full-time starter in the offense, Watson had a 17.8% Target share, a 38.1% air yard share, and a 22.9% first-read share (2.70 YPRR). Green Bay is notoriously careful with injuries, so if Watson is active, I’m treating him like he’ll be a full go. Watson will run about 67% of his routes against Cameron Sutton and Jerry Jacobs. Week 4 Positional Value: WR2/3
Romeo Doubs: Doubs leads all Green Bay receivers with a 72.4% route run per team dropback rate. He is also tops with a 20.0% Target share. He has a 25.8% air yard share and 1.70 YPRR. Against zone coverage, Doubs ranks second on the team in Target share (18.0%) and first-read share (21.3%). He leads the team with 2.20 YPRR against zone, which he’ll see plenty of against Detroit. Doubs will run about 80% of his routes against Cameron Sutton (58.8% catch rate and 83.7 passer rating) and Jerry Jacobs (71.4% catch rate and 120.1 passer rating). Week 4 Positional Value: WR4
Jayden Reed: Reed continues to impress as the team’s starting slot receiver (73% slot). He has a 20% Target share, a 23.3% air yard share, and a 2.21 YPRR. The biggest issue for Reed is that Green Bay likes to utilize multiple personnel sets, so his role as the starting slot has his snaps capped (63.8% route run per team dropback rate). Against zone coverage, Reed is third on the team with a forgettable 14.8% Target share and a 17.0% air yard share. Reed will see Brian Branch (64.7% catch rate and 90.7 passer rating) for most of the day. Week 4 Positional Value: WR4/5
SAM LAPORTA is a DUDE!
through three weeks he has body bagged rookie TE narratives and there's no end in sight for his dominance
Among 47 TEs with at least 25 routes
Target share: 3rd-best – 21.4%
TPRR: 2nd-best – 30% (tied – behind only Kelce)
— Derek Brown (@DBro_FFB) September 26, 2023
Sam LaPorta: LaPorta is body-bagging every rookie tight end narrative. Among 47 qualifying tight ends, he ranks third in Target share (21.4%), second in TPRR (tied), and first in YPRR. Yes, I said first in YPRR. LaPorta has been carving out a larger role weekly. His target shares weekly have been 14.3%>17.1%>33.3%. His first read share has followed suit as well, going from 12.0%>5.6%>33.3%. LaPorta is second on the team behind only St. Brown in Target share against zone coverage. Green Bay is 15th and 18th in fantasy points per game and receiving yards allowed to tight ends. LaPorta has reached must-start status. Week 4 Positional Value: Top-six TE
Luke Musgrave: Musgrave’s usage has been in line with TE1 production, but we haven’t seen Musgrave marry the usage with actual production yet. He is eighth in route run per team dropback rate (76.2%), 12th in Target share (15.8%), 11th in YPRR (1.55), and 14th in first-read share among 47 qualifying tight ends. This week could be the monster breakout game that we have been waiting for. Musgrave leads the team in Target share (21.3%) and first read share (23.4%) against zone coverage. The Lions have allowed the most receiving yards and fourth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Week 4 Positional Value: TE1 with huge upside
*All data utilized in this article courtesy of FantasyPros, PFF, SharpFootball Stats, Football Outsiders, FTN, Rotoviz, and Playerprofiler.com unless otherwise specified.*