*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
This was a quality win for the Lions. Miami was 4-2 coming into this game…a little lucky, but a ‘tough out, so to speak. Going to Miami is always a danger as wealthy football players tend to enjoy the Miami nightlife a little ‘too much’. The Computer said the Lions were one of the 10 best teams in the NFL weeks ago, and they’ve won three of their last 4…could’ve/should’ve been five of their last 5.
They changed their offense for this game like a smart Belechickian disciple does…heavy emphasis on the run (35 carries for 248 yards) for not being known as a running team and then with Miami trying to stop their great WR trio…Matt Stafford punched in two scores to red zone-awesome TE Michael Roberts. Miami played a tough game, but Detroit just came into the excessive heat, played very smart, tough football. I am so impressed with the Lions right now.
The Lions traded for DT Damon Harrison from NYG today…furthering the push the Lions are on to win the NFC North. The NFC North is the toughest division in the NFL. The space between first and worst is an inch (in talent terms). The Lions and Bears have the advantage of an easier schedule to capture the flag…the Bears with the easier path. We project the Lions 9-7 right now.
Miami is tough. They are losing too many players to injury, but they’re scrappy on defense and we make fun of Brock Osweiler, but he’s thrown 6 TD passes and just 2 picks this season. He looks better than/no worse than Tannehill to me. We projected Miami falls short of the playoffs at 8-8, but that changes if they can somehow knockoff Houston this Thursday.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- If you only takeaway one message from this recap – let it be this one…something I’ve said for two+ weeks now: Miami has totally changed how they use Kenyan Drake (6-72-1, 4-15-0/8). He’s gone from lead RB/Marlon Mack-lite to Alvin Kamara-lite…to Tarik Cohen-lite in the past 3-4 weeks. Drake is a very undervalued asset right now!
Most people think he ‘lost his job’ to Frank Gore (10-29-0, 1-4-0/1). He did, in a sense…but he more had his job changed. He now gets half the carries by makes up for all that with increased passing targets. 3.0 targets the first 4 games of the season, the then switch…8.3 targets per game the last three games.
Here’s the thing…Drake caught 4 passes for 15 yards in this game. Big deal, right? Here’s what ALMOST happened…
Early in the game, split out as a solo flanker, ran a slant pattern in the red zone…connect and it might have been a catch and keep running TD. Drake couldn’t hang on to the bang-bang pass.
Later, Drake got a flare pass out of the backfield in the red zone, thrown behind him…a possible catch and run TD play if thrown properly.
Later, lined up as a flanker again, went deep, Osweiler put it right on him for a 30+ yard pass play (might have been a 60+ yard TD) but the DB covering popped Drake’s arm as he went to catch the bomb…Drake tried to one hand it but couldn’t.
Later, a Drake wheel route out of the backfield and jetted deep on a 40+ yard bomb, he had a step on the LB and SAF, but Osweiler threw it a yard too far missing a TD opportunity.
Four separate shots at big plays and/or TD passes. Instead, a boring 4 catches for 15 yards. Drake was almost the Offensive Player of the Week. Most people are willing to dump him to you as a generic RB2. Take advantage if you can! Before Matthew Berry finds out and dog whistles the masses.
-- Most people would rather have Kerryon Johnson (19-158-0, 2-21-0/3) because 100+ YARD GAME!!! Nothing attracts the masses to an RB more than a 100+ yard game. 94 yards…boring. 57 yards rushing 62 yards receiving…boring. Plus, Kerryon is a ‘rookie’ so he’s an even more magical, desired unicorn.
I’m pro-Kerryon for FF 2018 now, even though I don’t think he’s a very good NFL RB. Give him a hole and a thousand carries and watch him go…like 50-100 other RBs, most of whom never get the chance because they committed the crime of going to a mid-major or D2 school instead of an SEC one. The Lions have a great O-Line, which revs up Kerryon for holes to run blindly through – like that one rookie year Jeremy Hill was an awesome RB.
Johnson had a 71-yard run in this game, untouched. His first carry of the game was for 20 yards, virtually untouched until his tackled at the end. Minus these two plays any RB could have run…17 carries for 67 yards…3.9 ypc.
I say this, so you know Kerryon isn’t special. David Johnson is special, and he literally hasn’t seen a hole this entire season…because defenses gear up to stop him and his O-Line is terrible. Defenses are not designed with stopping Kerryon as their primary objective. Kerryon is riding a wave now, and it works for FF. He’s an RB2 who has RB1.25 value to use/trade. Fine to use, but OK to trade in case the clock strikes midnight on him -- but sell HIGH. The masses love SEC rookie runners (Michel, Chubb, Kerryon). In another year, they will hardly care about them – rather pursuing the next crop of rookie RBs unicorns.
-- Michael Roberts is (3-48-2/3) being used a red zone/end zone threat but not as a featured TE weapon. He played the third most snaps of Lions TEs in this game. This season he has 4 targets, 4 catches, 3 TDs. He has a ‘role’.
If he breaks out to ‘weapon’, I’ll be excited. I don’t see it happening yet. But we’re taking baby steps towards it.
-- Kenny Golladay (2-37-0/2) had a down game, along with the rest of the passing game…because the running game yielded 35 carries for 248 yards. I’m a buyer of Golladay at WR3 prices right now. Tough schedule ahead but he doesn’t always draw the top coverage and he tends to work over the top of it.
Tough FF playoff schedule potentially Weeks 15-16 with BUF-MIN…IF he draws White-Rhodes.
-- Albert Wilson is done for the season. Danny Amendola (6-84-1/7) seems to have come to life with Osweiler and the Miami battered WR corp.
Jakeem Grant (2-22-0/2) is a dark horse sleeper here as Miami’s Tyreek Hill…that they never use right/enough. They might be forced to now.
-- Lions DE Romeo Okwara (6 tackles, 1 sack, 2 TFLs) the past four games: 3.33 tackles, 1.0 TFLs, 1.0 sacks, 1.5 QB hits per game. Something activated in him a few weeks ago and the Lions have found themselves a starter.
Snap Counts of Interest:
38 = Kerryon
21 = Blount
07 = Abdullah
41 = Willson
21 = Toilolo
19 = Roberts
36 = Drake
25 = Gore
03 = Ballage
42 = Romeo Okwara
31 = Jerome Baker