Sunday's week three matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions looks like it's ready to be an offensive explosion on the Ford Field turf. Both teams possess dangerous passing games and talented running backs, while there are questions about each defense that will take the field. Ultimately, we hope for the Packers to be victorious, but it will likely need to happen on the backs of a big day from Aaron Rodgers and company.
Here's how we project this week's key fantasy players in Sunday's game.
Aaron Rodgers: Must-start
Against a secondary ravaged by injury and without any big-time playmakers, Rodgers should have a big day.
Matthew Stafford: Must-start
The Lions are a team that always has a ton of volume in the passing game. That doesn't make for great efficiency numbers for Stafford, but the total numbers should be there. Expect Stafford to air it out to Calvin Johnson and company, but also for him to be the beneficiary of good yards-after-catch numbers from his running backs in this game.
Jordy Nelson: Must-start
30 targets in two games - that's the number of passes that have gone Nelson's way this year, more than any other receiver. Much like the next name on this list, Jordy is likely to see a lot of double-coverage this week and moving forward, but his route-running skills and ability to make circus catches mean that he can still make big plays even against good coverage. Start him with confidence against a questionable Lions secondary.
Calvin Johnson: Must-start
There's really no reason to even think about whether or not Megatron should be in your starting lineup, but if you need me to explain, I will. He's a physical nightmare for corners, safeties, and anyone else on any defense. Stafford throws him the ball almost as much as Rodgers goes to Jordy. In his last four games against Green Bay, he has averaged 8 catches on almost 13 targets for just over 150 yards, and he scored in three of those four games. Start him regardless of your feelings about the Packers' corners.
Randall Cobb: Start with confidence as a WR1
If the Lions do indeed roll double-coverage over to Jordy's side of the field, expect Cobb to be the primary beneficiary. He's been the go-to guy in the red zone for Rodgers so far this year, with three touchdowns and each from 6 yards or less. This could be the breakout game for Cobb this year in terms of targets and yardage, though, as he should be able to attack the middle of the field.
(UPDATE: Keep bumping Cobb up on your rankings for this week. Yet another Lions slot corner is injured, as Cassius Vaughn was ruled out on Friday's injury report. We are expecting a big performance from Cobb on Sunday.)
Golden Tate: Solid WR2/WR3
He of the infamous non-touchdown should see quite a bit of single coverage on Sunday with the Packers rolling lots of safety help to Megatron's side of the field. Tate has seen a good amount of targets so far (7 per game) and is probably a good bet to find the end zone at some point on Sunday.
Davante Adams: High-risk/high-reward flex
I'm not going to sit here and say Adams should be started in any particular league, but if you're really hurting for flex options, he gives you a chance for a big day. Given some big opportunities last week against the Jets, he started establishing some of that trust with Aaron Rodgers that is critical to seeing passes come his way. If Adams is given 40+ snaps like he was a week ago, he's a decent candidate to bust a big pass play or two and could find the end zone for the first time - but those snap numbers aren't exactly a given yet.
Eddie Lacy - Start as RB2
Let's face it, if you have Lacy on your team, you probably paid a premium for him either at auction or with a first round pick. So you're probably starting him. Just don't expect a 150-yard, two-touchdown day from the Packers' running back this week - the Lions' strength on defense is in their front seven, much like the Jets' was a week ago. While I don't think Detroit will sell out early to stop the run, I don't think Lacy will have a whole lot of room to maneuver either. I'm thinking Lacy will end up with around 80 total yards with a chance at a short touchdown - decent enough numbers, but not eye-popping.
Joique Bell and Reggie Bush - Great RB2/Flex options
Note that both of these guys should probably be solid RB2s if you're a PPR league. Bell is banged up a bit, having been limited in practice this week, but he's the more likely option to score as he'll get the carries at the goal line. Bush could probably have the better yardage day, though. I'm expecting somewhere around 40-50 rushing yards and 3-5 catches for another 20-30 yards for each player.
None of the tight ends in this game have impressed much this year from a fantasy perspective. For the Packers, Richard Rodgers hasn't showed much as a receiver yet, Andrew Quarless is still inconsistent, and Brandon Bostick is coming off an injury. For the Lions, Brandon Pettigrew has been quiet against the Packers recently (averaging two catches per game the past four against Green Bay), while Joseph Fauria is a touchdown roulette machine and Eric Ebron hasn't been much of a factor yet.
I suggest you look elsewhere if you're desperate for tight end help - find a player like the Chiefs' Travis Kelce or Washington's Niles Paul on the waiver wire instead.
With the offensive explosions we're expecting this week, I suggest avoiding both defenses in this game. If you have to start one, I'd feel better about the Packers' - both teams have solid pass rushes and should get you a couple of sacks apiece, but I think you're more likely to end up with Green Bay's more talented secondary forcing an interception or two out of Matthew Stafford than the Lions picking off Rodgers multiple times.
Mason Crosby - Start
Crosby drilled a 55-yarder at Lambeau Field last week and has been money so far this regular season. That shouldn't change this week, and I think Green Bay's offense will give him a few field goal and PAT opportunities.
Nate Freese - Avoid
Nope. Freese is 2 of 5 so far this year, and hasn't made an attempt longer than 28 yards. Don't go near him with a 20-foot pole this week - in fact, with it likely to be a close game, a missed field goal here or there could be a key turning point.
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