There is no better feeling than nailing your fantasy football TNF start/sit decision(s). The Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers kick off Week 4 in what figures to be a competitive game that could feature plenty of fantasy points. What direction should you be leaning for the fringe options on these teams?
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TNF Start’ Em, Sit’ Em: Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
- Spread: Lions -1.5
- Total: 46
- Lions implied points: 23.8
- Packers implied points: 22.2
Jared Goff, QB, Detroit Lions
Goff has been fantasy-viable for consecutive weeks with a pair of home games. Last season, he averaged 39% more fantasy points per pass at home than on the road, and with a near 21% difference through three games this season, this is simply a trend you can’t ignore.
The former Los Angeles Rams’ signal-caller heads to Lambeau on a short week to face a Packers defense that allowed just 6.0 yards per pass in their comeback win over the Saints. The unit created enough pressure to record four sacks and knock QB Derek Carr (shoulder) out of the game.
Green Bay has yet to play a solid pocket passer for an entire game this season with previous matchups against Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields, Atlanta Falcons QB Desmond Ridder, and the New Orleans QB tandem of Derek Carr and Jameis Winston, but they’re a top-10 defense on both third down and percentage of yards gained through the air.
Goff traveled to Lambeau to end last season and threw 34 passes — none of which resulted in a score. With no reliable rushing upside — yes, I’m aware he ran for a touchdown last week, which was his first in 34 games with the Lions — he can’t overcome an inefficient/low-volume game through the air, and that’s the fear here.
Goff isn’t a top-12 option for me in Week 4.
Jordan Love, QB, Green Bay Packers
Regression caught up to Love in the passing game last week against the Saints with just one touchdown on 44 attempts after throwing six on 52 passes through the previous two weeks, but his involvement in the run game was still noteworthy.
Not only did Love score on an RPO from the 1-yard line, but he also had a 24-yard scamper for the second consecutive week. He didn’t offer much as a runner at Utah State, and that has me questioning the sustainability of this, but it’s a good sign for a young QB who’s looking to get comfortable.
Love remains out of my top 15 this week — even if he’s in a good spot. He’s certainly a name to watch as bye weeks approach, and he gets to work with a full complement of weapons. Still, I’m currently watching from a distance, as opposed to holding him on my bench.
The thigh injury that Montgomery suffered late in Week 2 against the Seahawks cost him Week 3, but he’s set to return. This isn’t an efficient rush attack with (Montgomery: 3.8 yards per carry) or without him (Week 3: 3.7 YPC), making his fantasy volume dependent on volume and scoring equity.
The former could be in question, given the potential for the injury to linger, and the latter isn’t a given, with Green Bay holding the Bijan Robinson/Tyler Allgeier tandem scoreless on 39 touches in Week 2. If he clears all hurdles, Montgomery is a low-end RB2 for me and one that carries a good amount of risk.
Update: Montgomery is active for Thursday Night Football.
Returns on the rookie have been mixed this season, and I worry about plugging him in this week with Montgomery. For the season, Gibbs’ 4.5 yards per carry isn’t bad, and the fact that he got 68% of the RB carries against the Falcons last week is encouraging.
On the downside, if you remove two chunk plays, his yards-per-carry average dips to 3.4. He’s also failed to earn more than two targets in two of three games (Week 3: 6.5% target share). The explosive play is part of his profile, but you must consider that Green Bay didn’t allow Detroit to pick up 15 yards on a single one of their 56 rush attempts last season.
During the first two weeks of the season with Montgomery active, Gibbs was out-carried 37-14 by the veteran — a lack of usage that creates a scary floor. In a shared backfield, Gibbs is a fringe Flex with a wide range of outcomes.
During the first two weeks of the season with Montgomery active, Gibbs was out-carried 37-14 by the veteran — a lack of usage that creates a scary floor.
In a shared backfield, Gibbs is a fringe Flex with a wide range of outcomes. If Montgomery sits again, the rookie gains fantasy stability — with a 42-20 snap edge over Craig Reynolds by way of volume — and would safely be a viable Flex in my ranks.
Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers
Following Jones pulling up lame (hamstring) during the Week 1 blowout of the Bears, there was talk that he could have returned to action if the game was closer. Yet, he’s missed both games since that explosive opener (11 touches for 127 yards and two scores). And for a player who has 15+ carries in just one of his past eight games, the volume is a serious question in his Week 4 return.
Need proof? With the season on the line against these Lions, Jones held just a 15-9 touch edge over AJ Dillon. If he was coming off of a healthy week, Jones would be a top-15 running back for me this week. But when taking into consideration the risk that comes with him playing at less than full strength, he checks in outside of my top 20 right now.
Update: Jones is active for Thursday Night Football.
AJ Dillon, RB, Green Bay Packers
I have a theory about this ground game, and Christian Watson holds the key. Through three weeks, Love leads the NFL in air yards per pass, and that should open up the run game with defenses looking to prevent the big play.
The problem is that defenses aren’t scared about those chunk plays through the air (Love: 53.1% complete). Watson changes that in a big way when he’s right (14.9 yards per catch last season, four games as a rookie with a 45-yard play), and that’ll help a run game that has seen their RBs average just 3.0 yards per carry over the past two weeks.
With this offense as close to full strength as it’s been this season, Dillon falls out of my flex tier and shouldn’t be counted on in anything but the deepest of leagues.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, Detroit Lions
The “Sun God” is playing at a high level with consecutive 100-yard performances — something he only did once during 2022 — but this matchup is a bit of a concern.
Last season, St. Brown averaged just 3.1 yards per target against the Packers, a major downward swing from the 8.6 he averaged against the rest of the NFL. Now, does that mean he’s outside of my top 20? Of course not.
With at least six catches in 11 of his past 12 games, the floor is simply too high to get crazy. With potential efficiency concerns and a profile that doesn’t include much scoring equity (scoreless in 14 of his past 17 games with one road score since Week 17 of 2021), your expectations need to be lowered a touch.
Kalif Raymond, WR, Detroit Lions
The pride of Holy Cross has reached 7.5 half-PPR points in consecutive games and was one of just four Lions to earn a target on Sunday against Atlanta. Raymond’s 19.4% target share was good to see, but there’s nothing sustainable to see here.
Through three weeks, it would appear that this team has found its secondary pass catcher in TE Sam LaPorta, and they don’t need a consistent third option.
Christian Watson, WR, Green Bay Packers
The burner is set to make his season debut tonight barring an unexpected setback to his troublesome hamstring. Given his skill set and the nature of the injury, can you trust Watson this week?
That’s a little optimistic for me, especially since we haven’t seen Love produce consistent accurate deep balls. He’s throwing deep plenty, just with varied levels of success.
Still, Watson did put up 104 yards on five catches against these Lions when they met at the end of last season. The upside isn’t a secret, but the ground-level floor isn’t, either.
He’s currently outside of my top 30 at the position, but I’m more sold on him long-term than I was a month ago, given how Love is attacking defenses downfield.
Update: Watson is active for Thursday Night Football.
Romeo Doubs, WR, Green Bay Packers
When this kid flashes, he does it spectacularly. Whether it was a pretty 30-yard diving toe-tap effort for the game-winning score or a designed clear-out, there’s undoubtedly something noteworthy here.
That said, Doubs’ 55% catch rate is a problem, especially with Watson subtracting from his target bottom line. I’m rostering him for the 27.9% target share he earned last week, but the boom-bust nature of Doubs’ profile has him outside of my comfort Flex zone on a week where all 32 teams are in action.
Jayden Reed, WR, Green Bay Packers
The fantasy community invested in the rookie after his two-score performance against the Falcons, and the Packers tried to pay off your fantasy transaction. Love dropped a 20-yard dime to Reed in the end zone, but he was unable to complete the catch. He tried Reed again on a quick hitter that looked like a two-yard touchdown, but he dropped that, too.
The receiver has earned 20 targets through three weeks, and the scoring opportunities are encouraging, but where his role stands when Watson and Jones are healthy is anybody’s guess. I see the risk in his profile increasing due to a dip in target volume.
I like Reed’s value in dynasty leagues. From the learning-on-the-fly nature of this season to the draft capital spent on him — a second-round pick and 50th overall — he’s going to be allowed to develop. For redraft leagues, however, the floor is going to be too low as the role declines, and that makes him a stash at best in leagues with deeper benches.
Sam LaPorta, TE, Detroit Lions
The rookie has seen his target count increase each week, and he’s the first tight end in NFL history to catch at least five passes in each of his first three career games.
Was LaPorta’s 18.4 fantasy points in Week 3 greatly impacted by a broken coverage 45-yard TD? It was, but you’re still looking at reliable volume, and that’s enough to be a consistent fantasy starter these days. He surpassed his pregame projected catch total in the first quarter.
Remove that defensive hiccup, and LaPorta is averaging just 1.3 fantasy points per reception this season, a rate that points at a concerningly low floor if the volume dries up. Long term, that is possible — Jameson Williams will be back, and I expect Gibbs’ role in the passing game to tick up with reps. But in the short term, you can feel good about sliding LaPorta into your starting lineup.
It's a battle between two teams starting rookie tight ends. Should fantasy managers start Sam LaPorta or Luke Musgrave on Thursday night? https://t.co/6gxqFKWG6H
— PFN Fantasy (@PFNFantasy) September 27, 2023
Luke Musgrave, TE, Green Bay Packers
The rookie led the Packers in catches against the Saints with six on eight targets for 49 yards in his best performance to date. It could have been even better if Love didn’t airmail a potential 62-yard touchdown.
It’s not the first miss of Musgrave on a fantasy-friendly play, and that has kept some managers off his scent. If you play against box-score watchers, 11 catches for 124 yards through three weeks isn’t going to stand out. Understand that his 73.3% catch rate is impressive from a developing QB, and he’s been inches away from big-time production.
He’s inside my top 15 at the position this week (Detroit saw 47.4% of targets against them go to the tight end position in Week 3) and deserves mention with the other impressive members of the rookie TE class for fantasy purposes — even if his numbers have yet to truly spike.
Who Should You Start in Week 4?
Should I Start Jordan Love or Joe Burrow?
Burrow hobbled through Week 3, but he made it through. Now, he gets a plus matchup against the “pass funnel” Titans. Love has been great, especially given the limited health of his supporting cast, and is in a potential high-scoring game.
Give me Burrow. Love may lead the league in average depth of throw, but with that comes low accuracy. That creates a floor that I’m not comfortable with if my other option is facing one of the worst pass defenses in the game.
Burrow fed WR Ja’Marr Chase and WR Tee Higgins 52.2% of his targets in Week 3, and if he repeats that, he finishes as a top-10 fantasy option in Week 4.
Should I Start Luke Musgrave or Kyle Pitts?
I noted Love’s inaccuracies through three weeks, and I do worry about that, but at least he has volume on which we can count. That can’t be said for the Falcons, and even if they air the ball out, Atlanta TE Jonnu Smith is on the field and threatening Pitts’ target share.
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I don’t view either as a “safe” option, so give me the player I think has a greater per-target upside. Love has just missed Musgrave on a few fantasy impactful plays, and if he connects on one of those this week, the rookie will crack the top 10. That’s more hope than I have for Pitts at the moment.
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