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*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
I don’t know if this was so much that the Lions played bad…more so that the Bills have developed into a scrappy team with a good+ defense that’s hard to beat, especially at home. This game was back and forth, and Lions’ kicker Matt Prater missed a 48-yard FG with 5+ minutes left that might have sealed the Detroit win. He missed, and the Bills held on for a 14-13 win.
The Bills are 3-2 in their last 5 games.
In Josh Allen’s last 8 starts…the Bills are 4-4. A lot of lucky wins over bad teams, but wins nonetheless. The Bills are formidable and might finish 6-10 this season.
The Lions may or may not get to 6-10…the once promising season, dead.
For such a dull, meaningless game…and one involving the Bills…a ton of interesting fantasy things happened here.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Zach Zenner (10-45-1, 3-0-0/4) started…
That’s big news.
I didn’t realize that he started AND played the most snaps and had the most touches. It felt like I remember him starting and then disappearing for chunks of the game. For some ridiculous reason, terrible Lions’ O-C James Robert Cooter is getting Riddick-Blount touches, because that’s so important in a lost season…as soon as Zenner gets a little momentum going it seems slow-ass Riddick or slow-ass Blount enter the game and throw off the whole vibe.
This was a big (for DET) move though…Zenner starting with the most touches (and was the most productive RB). I suspect he starts again and leads the way this week…perhaps, with even more touches.
I first thought – I don’t like ZZ versus the Vikings, but I failed to realize the Vikings are terrible against the run lately. Minny has allowed 100+ yard rushing to five of their last 7 opponents and have allowed 150+ rushing yards to their last three opponents (and 200+ to Seattle). The Vikings run defense has collapsed from a top 5 unit to outside the top 12 and falling fast (#13).
Zenner might be a bit of a shock this week.
-- The Bills also went with a UDFA RB getting the most touches for them this game. Marcus Murphy (11-35-0) was forced to start, he got hurt mid-game and then UDFA rookie Keith Ford (14-46-0, 1-7-0/1) took over.
I remembered it live as Ford looking tentative and a bit over his head. On the re-watch, it was a lot better – he was sent up the middle a lot and he picked his spots well in a lot of congestion. There were no ‘wow’ moments, but he did work pretty well in traffic and made the best out of not a lot of space. He’d be a sleeper of McCoy-Ivory can’t go this week…but I think they are both back this week.
-- I’ve probably typed the following declaration 5-6 times this season…Kenny Golladay (7-146-0/8) was unbelievable here. Facing a top shutdown corner (Tre’Davious White), Golladay made several circus catches to produce a monster game.
White did a great job, but Matt Stafford just heaved passes KG’s way and Golladay made highlight reel catches on three of them for 90 of his 148 yards. Golladay was stunning.
I want to fear Golladay this week vs. Xavier Rhodes, but KG is so the #1 WR/the only one for Stafford that he’s going to get targets – and with targets, Golladay has more and more tendency to make hay with them.
One of the best emerging players that I’ve witnessed this season.
-- I went heavy on Isaiah McKenzie (6-53-0/7, 1-4-0) last week, and that move looked utterly brilliant…and then he got hurt and carted off in the 3rd quarter.
McKenzie was on his way to 10+ catches and maybe 3-4-5 carries as Murphy went down and UDFA Ford was pressed into action, but it was stolen from me. I thought it was a major injury but it turns out it was just a cramp and IMK is going to be fine for Week 16. I’m shocked, I assumed he was done for Week 16 and maybe the season.
He’s a play vs. the Patriots as a WR3 with upside again.
-- Robert Foster (4-108-1/5) just keeps producing (as I keep betting against it). Four 90+ yard games in his last 5 games.
I’m not seeing Foster with any breakout performances or ‘wow’ moments – more he’s just fast and getting open with lesser coverage and a big play goes his way and he ends up with numbers. I don’t want to argue against the trend, but I just don’t see any real magic here…just something working for the moment.
-- Lions UDFA rookie WR Brandon Powell (1-4-0, 3-11-0/3) got more work with Bruce Ellington being out. You could see signs of the playmaking ability, but he never really got the ball in a great way to show off. He’s a long shot to matter Week 16.
-- Levine Toilolo (4-28-0/4) is becoming a player for the Lions now…a TE1.5 contender this week.
3.3 rec, 48.0 yards per game the past three games…one bigger week and two not-so-bad ones the last two weeks. No TD shots happening, though.
-- Matthew Stafford (22-29 for 208 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) has fallen off a fantasy cliff.
TD passes in games his last 7 games: 0-2-1-0-1-0-1 (0.71 TD passes per game)
He’s thrown for over 275 yards in a game one time his last 10 games.
-- Kudos to Josh Allen (13-26 for 204 yards, 1 TD/0 INT, 9-16-1)…he ran for another TD this week, salvaging a bad FF effort otherwise.
I think Allen is a terrible QB…no precision or pocket vision under duress but give him time and he can sling it sometimes…and he plays with a lot of energy. He’s everything Sam Darnold is not. They’re both bad…but Allen more fun to watch and has moments of ‘wow.
-- Week 16 Outlook…
The Lions get the Vikings and that’s trouble for a dying passing game, but maybe Golladay overcomes. Zenner v. MIN-D is not bad at all.
The Bills go to NE…which isn’t as scary as it used to be. The Bills play a fun, loose style on offense – you might see Allen with big rushing and Foster/McKenzie doing some work.
Snap Counts of Interest:
41 = Ford
19 = Murphy
26 = Zenner
25 = Riddick
11 = Blount
40 = Toilolo
24 = Willson