Detroit Lions (0-1, 1-0 ATS) at Green Bay Packers (0-1, 0-1), MNF, 8:15 p.m.
Implied Team Totals: Lions 18.5, Packers 30
Spread/Total Movements: 11.5, 48.5
Weather: 70 degrees, 40% chance of rain, 10 mph winds
Lions Injuries to Watch: RB D’Andre Swift (groin), WR Tyrell Williams (concussion, doubtful), CB Jeff Okudah (Achilles), LT Taylor Decker (finger, IR)
Packers Injuries to Watch:LB Za’Darius Smith (back, on IR)
Brolley’s Lions Stats and Trends
The Lions are 7-1 ATS in their last eight meetings in this series.
These teams are 4-1 toward the under in their last five meetings in this series.
Detroit is 8-3 toward overs in its last 11 games.
The Lions offense ran through its RBs last week with D’Andre Swift turning in 19/104/1 scrimmage on 69% of the snaps and Jamaal Williams hanging 17/110/1 scrimmage on 35% of the snaps. Swift ran 41 routes compared to 20 routes for Williams, but Jamaal did get the team’s long goal-line carry. Swift managed just 122/1 scrimmage in two games against Packers last season while Williams will play in his first of two #Revenge Games this season.
Jared Goff racked up 29.9 FP in garbage-time last week in their mostly one-sided loss to the 49ers in his debut with the Lions. He completed 38/57 passes for 338 yards, three touchdowns, and one INT in Detroit’s furious comeback from a 24-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Goff should be playing in a negative game script again this week as 11-point road underdogs against a defense that allowed Jameis Winston to throw for five TDs on fewer than 150 passing yards for the first time in NFL history.
T.J. Hockenson dominated this passing attack last week with 8/97/1 receiving on 11 targets, and his massive production came against a 49ers defense that defended TEs the best last season. The Packers allowed 6/39/2 receiving to Saints TEs last week while Hockenson posted 10/105/1 receiving on 15 targets in two games against Green Bay last season.
Goff attempted 57 passes last week but no Lions WRs had more than three catches with Tyrell Williams (concussion) leaving early. Kalif Raymond (46 routes) and slot WR Amon-Ra St. Brown (45) led the group in routes. Trinity Benson (39) and Quintez Cephus (24) followed behind but they also led the group in targets with six with Cephus scoring the only touchdown in the group.
Brolley’s Packers Stats and Trends
Even with last week’s debacle, the Packers are 7-2 ATS in their last nine September games.
The Packers are 6-0 ATS after losses under Matt LaFleur.
The Packers are 4-1 toward overs in their last five games.
Aaron Rodgers will have to tell everyone out there in Packer Land to “R.E.L.A.X.” this week after Green Bay posted the worst performance in Week 1. The Packers mustered NFL Week 1 lows of three points and 229 scrimmage yards in an embarrassing season-opening 38-3 loss to the Saints. Rodgers averaged just 4.8 YPA and he threw two INTs on 28 attempts after throwing just five INTs on 526 attempts last season. The Packers have earned a longer leash than most offenses since they have a long history of producing high-end fantasy options and this offense has a great bounce-back spot against a Detroit squad that allowed 41 points to the 49ers in Week 1.
Davante Adams was the only player to get to double-digit FP in the season opener with 5/56 receiving on seven targets, which was worse than any of his full-game performances from 2020. He posted 7/115/1 receiving on 10 targets in his lone full game against the Lions last season, and the Lions just lost Jeff Okudah (Achilles) for the season.
Green Bay didn’t have a single player perform above expectations against the Saints, but Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s usage was the most encouraging development from their Week 1 stinker. He saw a team-high eight targets (23% share) but he turned his looks into just 3/17 receiving with an aDOT of 19.5 yards. MVS and Allen Lazard each finished with the second-most routes with 25 so they appear to be firmly ahead of Randall Cobb (11). MVS posted 9/149/1 receiving in two matchups against the Lions last season.
Robert Tonyan managed just 2/8 receiving on four targets in last week’s debacle. His two missed connections with Rodgers were the most he’s had in 11 games (postseason included), and he never had a catch rate at 50% or worse last season. Tonyan caught all seven of his targets for 61 yards and two touchdowns against the Lions last season.
Aaron Jones finished with just 7/22 scrimmage on 49% of the snaps last week while A.J. Dillon posted 5/26 scrimmage on 28% of the snaps — Kylin Hill got run at the end of their blowout loss. San Francisco RBs posted 149/2 scrimmage last week while Jones posted performances of 22/236/3 and 17/75 scrimmage in two games against the Lions last season.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Week 1 – Pace (seconds in between plays): 21.4 (4th)
Week 1 – Plays per game: 88 (1st)
Week 1 – Pass: 72.7% (7th) | Run: 27.3% (26th)
Week 1 – Pace (seconds in between plays): 23.6 (17th)
Week 1 – Plays per game: 57 (29th)
Week 1 – Pass: 73.2% (6th) | Run: 26.8% (27th)
Week 1 vs. the Saints might have been the worst loss of Aaron Rodgers’ career as it marked only the third time that Rodgers’ Packers have lost by 30 or more points since 2008. Good news, though! Green Bay gets an extra day to prepare against Detroit – a defense that Rodgers & Co. put 31 and 42 points on last season. This is the bounceback of all bounceback spots. Obviously we can’t glean too much from last week’s tendencies for either team because both dealt with double-digit deficits all game long, but this matchup is the second-slowest on the slate in adjusted combined pace that uses data across the last 17 regular season games. Green Bay was bottom-3 in pace last year and played especially slow when they built a lead, so this is likely another spot where Detroit is going to have to play catch up and potentially get all of their fantasy scoring in Garbage Time as 11-point underdogs.
(Note: We’re dealing with very small sample sizes early in the season – so I’m saving the deep dive into play-calling tendencies until Week 4.)
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
New Lions OC Anthony Lynn utilized three-wide sets on 71% of snaps last week. And it also appears he will continue with the previous regime's usage of Gap-heavy run blocking.
It’s also worth pointing out that rookie T Penei Sewell — who struggled mightily in the preseason while playing right tackle — really held his own against a tough 49er front in Week 1 when playing his natural position, left tackle, for the injured Taylor Decker (finger). The Lions might have some decisions to make once Decker is able to return. For now, they’re casting any questions aside.
On the flip side, the Packers offense simply did not have an opportunity to provide reliable data on any tweaks they might have made for Week 1 during the 38-3 mauling they took from the Saints. In a gamescript like that, it’s hard to come away with anything actionable.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
For the Lions, it looked all off-season like former NFL RB Anthony Lynn would live up to his roots and run his offense through the backfield. And damn, it’s nice when expectations come to fruition.
In what ended up being the highest-scoring affair of Week 1, the Lions made a valiant second-half comeback attempt after going down 31-10 at the half against the 49ers. Detroit ran a ridiculous 92 plays, which allowed D’Andre Swift (11/39 rushing | 8/65/1 receiving) and Jamaal Williams (9/54/1 rushing | 8/56 receiving) to both go off. In fact, Williams finished as the RB3 on the week (25.0 FP) while Swift finished as the RB the RB4 (24.3 FP).
Two teammates finishing inside of the top-5 RB scorers rarely happens and obviously the Lions won’t run over 90 plays every week (average is about 65 plays/game), but this duo is going to continue to co-exist together with these types of roles. Swift ended up getting more snaps than Williams by a wide margin because the Lions were in hurry-up mode (68% to 35%), but both backs got snaps on the field at the same time and Williams got 17 touches on his 32 total snaps. So, when Williams was on the field, he got the rock 53% of the time.
Perhaps most encouraging was Swift’s usage. He ran a route on 65% of QB Jared Goff’s dropbacks, which is a massive change in his role compared to his rookie season when he went into a pass route on just 48% of the Lions pass plays. While this is a true 1A / 1B committee, Swift playing in a high-volume receiving role is going to offset losing carries and goal-line totes to Williams. Further helping this backfield’s outlook is the fact that Williams, Swift, and TE TJ Hockenson are the Lions only good weapons until one of their receivers breaks out. Swift and Williams are going to get tons of touches. Both are RB2s in this matchup, and keep in mind it’s a Williams #RevengeGame (by all accounts, he’s beloved in Green Bay, but I’m sure he’ll want to show out). The Packers also put LB Za’Darius Smith (back) on IR this week.
As for Goff and any receiver outside of Hockenson, I’m staying away. Goff might be a sneaky bet to lead the NFL in pass attempts given how awful Detroit’s defense will be (and they lost Jeff Okudah last week), but there are so many good options on this QB slate that I doubt you have to go dumpster-diving in one-QB leagues.
I am going full-steam ahead on all my Packers — Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones, and Davante Adams all profile as high-end fantasy options this week. I like TE Robert Tonyan a little less, but mostly because I think Rodgers and his perimeter receivers will hook up frequently in this one.
One guy I want to highlight — Marquez Valdes-Scantling. While the entire Green Bay offense took a titanic dump in Week 1, MVS’ usage suggested that his strong training camp carried over into the regular season. He saw a team-high eight targets (23% share) but he turned his looks into just 3/17 receiving with an aDOT of 19.5 yards. MVS and Allen Lazard each finished with the second-most routes with 25 so they appear to be firmly ahead of Rodgers’ boy Randall Cobb (11). MVS posted 9/149/1 receiving in two matchups against the Lions last season. MVS is a dart-throw FLEX.
If the game script of this one goes as expected, AJ Dillon should get the ability to close things down in the second half, but again, it’s hard to know exactly what Green Bay’s ideal RB rotation looks like because they played their most unideal game possible in Week 1.