The 2023 NFL season keeps moving on, and we have a whole slate of games on the television for Thanksgiving! Who are some of the fantasy-relevant players that you need to know whether to trust — or fade — in your fantasy football lineup for the Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions game?
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
- Spread: Lions -7.5
- Total: 47
- Packers implied points: 19.8
- Lions implied points: 27.3
Jordan Love: He has thrown multiple TD passes in consecutive games after doing it just once in his previous six games. Love also has 280+ passing yards in both games, something he hadn’t done a single time this season (Weeks 1-9: 215 passing yards per game).
So yes, I understand deep leaguers wanting to be interested in a shot-taker like Love, who has a few downfield threats capable of elevating his stock in a peak Jameis Winston sort of way. I’m just not taking the bait with his bottom-20 percentile mark in bad throw percentage.
We saw both versions of Love in the first meeting with the Lions – he was beyond awful in the first half (Green Bay trailed 27-3) and salvaged his fantasy day in garbage time with over 70% of his fantasy points in the final 16 minutes.
Does that work for fantasy managers? It does, but for those of us in the evaluation business, that’s not the most sustainable way to get there. I’m not trusting Love in anything but a deep two-QB league where you can afford significant risk.
Jared Goff: Much like Love, Goff had himself an uncharacteristic Week 11. Unlike Love, his fantasy managers were not amused (three interceptions on 35 attempts after throwing just five on 326 attempts).
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I’m happy to go back to the Goff well – he’s my QB10 for the week. Before last week’s dud, Goff had cleared 270 passing yards in four straight, and I expect him to start a new streak like that in this spot against a Packers team that struggles to keep their offense on the field (24th in average time of possession).
Even in a bad game last week, Goff led his team down the field when it counted most and followed a simple process that I look for when ranking the QB position: intelligence. He funneled 68.8% of his targets to his primary three playmakers in the passing game, the best way possible for a pocket passer to pay off our trust.
Aaron Jones: A sprained MCL resulted in Jones being removed from play after just 15 snaps last week, and he is considered week-to-week. It’s been a tough season in terms of health for the veteran ever since he suffered a hamstring injury in the opener, and it’s fair to wonder if he’ll be extended at any point for the remainder of the season.
He’s held at this point, but you’ll want to track Jones’ recovery closely — every roster spot matters this time of year.
AJ Dillon: He saw his role grow once Jones left injured last week, and he gave us 29 yards on 14 carries. Dillon did manage to haul in all four of his targets for 32 yards, something he is going to have to repeat this week and moving forward if he’s going to be a worthwhile fantasy option (3.5 YPC this season, one carry gaining more than 15 yards).
Say what you will about his efficiency, but with Emanuel Wilson also leaving early last week (shoulder), the volume appears to be safe in a game in which the Packers will want to try to keep the explosive Lions off the field.
Do you know what he is (and I expect a loyal reader out there to trademark this and make all the money when it goes viral)?
Yep, I went there. The Packers are going to want to use their 247-pound back as tryptophan and put the Lions to sleep the same way Turkey does good ole Uncle Johnny.
The nickname is elite; I don’t care what you say. Will the production be? That’s a different story; he’s my RB28 and comes with game-script risk but is worth flexing based solely on the number of touches available.
Jahmyr Gibbs: One week means very little with a veteran back coming off of an injury, but two? Two is the beginning of a trend, and with a 36-25 snap edge for Gibbs over David Montgomery, this certainly feels like a backfield that is the rookie’s for the taking.
Gibbs has seen at least five targets in five straight games and rushed for a score in four straight, a massive step forward from the version of him that we saw back in September. In the first meeting with the Packers, the Gibbs/Montgomery duo combined for 46 touches in a blowout victory.
I’m not sure we get that level of usage again, but 30-35 touches are certainly reasonable, and if Gibbs is going to be the lead, that’s more than enough work to have him flirt with RB1 status today.
David Montgomery: Gibbs ended up punching in the short TD last week, but it was Montgomery with the first two red-zone carries (including a direct snap). He has scored in every game in which he has finished (six for six), and in his three healthy games since his Lambeau hat trick, Monty has picked up 301 yards on 43 carries (7.0 yards per carry).
His being passed by Gibbs in touch expectancy shouldn’t stop you from rolling with him in your starting lineup with confidence.
Christian Watson: “Great per target production.” That was the rallying cry for Watson supporters this summer, with the thought being that a player that explosive with a clear path to an alpha role would be fantasy gold.
Maybe. We don’t know. He scored on one of his two catches against the Chargers, but he has yet to establish himself as an above-average target earner, and with the quality of opportunity lacking in this offense, that means that Watson isn’t trustworthy.
Love gave six different players 4-6 targets in the upset win, and until that pattern changes, you realistically can’t trust any Packers pass catcher.
If you have a beat as to who will lead this team in targets and want a peak into the mind of a quirky analyst with a research background, well, this is the place for you!
- 7.7 catches
- 97.8 receiving yards
- 17.6 half-PPR points
Those are the averages for the top target earner against the Lions on Thanksgiving during their six-game losing streak on Turkey Day.
I can hear you already: “Yeah, but whoever leads the Packers in targets this week isn’t all that talented.”
That may be true, but that hasn’t been a deal breaker in terms of that trend. The players to account for those numbers are Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Will Fuller, Cole Kmet, Anthony Miller, and Tarik Cohen. Is Watson that guy? Or could it be a talented rookie…
Jayden Reed: The 32-yard TD run against the Chargers showcased Reed’s speed and upside, but that one play isn’t what has me labeling him as a low-end Flex play this week – it’s his usage.
The Packers offense is sporadic, to say the least, so the fact that they went out of their way to keep the rookie involved (three carries and six targets) speaks to their desire to gain stability by way of getting an athlete in space.
That’s easier said than done, and betting on a Love-led offense is a tough sell. Reed, as is the case with every member of this offense, comes with a wide range of outcomes, but he is my preferred option, and that has him flirting with WR40 in my ranks (a viable Flex play in deeper leagues that require you to start three receivers).
Romeo Doubs: This Green Bay offense lacks an alpha-target earner, but I do think Doubs has an edge in that regard to the other options in this passing game. He has scored in four of his past five games. While that’s a great skill to have, the 58.5% catch rate is scary and has resulted in him being held under 55 receiving yards in six straight games.
Fortunately for those looking to roll the dice on Doubs on Thanksgiving Day DFS, that streak doesn’t include the first game against Detroit (season highs across the board with nine catches on 13 targets for 95 yards).
Doubs is a good player, but with a route win rate (39%) that is well below Reed’s (48.4%), his floor/ceiling combination isn’t quite as likely, and that has him ranked outside of my top 45 at the position.
Dontayvion Wicks ran a route on 62.5% of his snaps and averaged over 6.0 yards per target in the win over the Chargers. Does the rookie need to be rostered? He doesn’t, but the per-catch potential is there, and without an alpha-target earner in Green Bay’s offense, this likely won’t be the last time Wicks posts a viable stat line this season.
Amon-Ra St. Brown: Even with Justin Jefferson expected back, is St. Brown the best fantasy receiver in the NFC North? He has piled up 130 catches over his past 17 games and is adding scoring equity to his already elite profile (he has scored in four of his past six games).
Outside of Christian McCaffrey, the Sun God has a real claim to be fantasy’s most consistent player. St. Brown is a first-round pick next season as well as a potential league-winner the rest of the way this season.
Jameson Williams caught the touchdown pass last week. However, Donovan Peoples-Jones was hardly used (two snaps), and Josh Reynolds still led him in snaps/routes. A second receiver in Detroit will likely offer production in any given week, but the ability to predict who it is going to be is a dart throw at best. Thus, none of them should be counted on at any level.
Luke Musgrave: The idea around Musgrave is reasonably straightforward. He posted a 77.3% route participation rate last week against the Chargers, a role that lends itself to an upside in any given week. Does he pay off that upside anytime soon? He might.
I’m not betting on it in this specific spot, but if you’re a TE streamer who makes the playoffs, this is the type of player I’d be looking at when you’re an underdog. Musgrave holds a fine role, but the wildly inconsistent ways of Love have prevented the rookie from returning much value.
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If you’re throwing darts at the position and in need of upside, you’re wise to embrace variance and aggression. This Packers offense certainly checks both of those boxes, even if the production has yet to stabilize (and likely won’t).
Musgrave is my TE15 this week, sitting near the top of the tight-end blob that runs from TE13-22.
Editor’s note: Musgrave has been placed on injured reserve with an abdomen injury.
Sam LaPorta: Were we a little early in crowning LaPorta as an elite fantasy option?
He hasn’t reached 60 receiving yards since September and has scored in just one of his past five games despite the Lions totaling 124 points over that stretch.
We may have been premature in labeling LaPorta, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a better option readily available. Totaling 58 yards over the past two weeks is a bump in the road for sure, but averaging 7.6 targets per game over his past five is more than enough to justify locking LaPorta in weekly and feeling good about it.
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