Last week the Detroit Lions faced what looked to be a strong defensive team in the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals proved to be tough against the run, but Matthew Stafford, Golden Tate and first-year pass catcher Kenny Golladay got it going through the air and led the Lions to a 35-23 victory, despite a pick six on Stafford’s first throw of the game.
The aforementioned, along with the Lions defense, were the top fantasy scorers for the Lions. This week they will visit the New York Giants on Monday Night Football. The Giants are coming off a disappointing 19-3 loss to division-rival Dallas Cowboys, but they were without star receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Let’s get into which Lions players you should trust on Monday, and which players you should avoid.
Who to start: Wide receiver Golden Tate
Last week Tate was the most frequently targeted receiver for the Lions. Stafford threw at him 12 times, and Tate rewarded him by hauling in 10 of those targets for 107 receiving yards. He also carried the ball twice for seven rushing yards. It was a performance that we expect to see from Tate, who was kept out of the end zone, which is typical for him (4 TDs last year). He is a great asset to have in PPR leagues, but he also has a high floor in standard leagues because of how often Stafford looks his way. One of the things you should consider when deciding who to play is touches. Stafford trusts Tate, and the Lions even try to get him the ball on the ground once in awhile. Tate has opportunities to get the ball in his hands, and that’s all you can ask for in a dependable fantasy option. The Giants defense was solid last season, they ranked tenth in total yards allowed, but they were more susceptible against the pass than the run. One final note, Tate had eight catches for 122 yards last year against the Giants in Week 15. Start Tate, he could help you pull off a heroic comeback if you’re behind going into Monday night’s contest.
Who to sit: Running back Ameer Abdullah
It was a tough matchup, there is no doubt about that, but Ameer Abdullah’s two yards per carry against the Cardinals is not going to cut it. Not now, not ever. At the end of the day Abdullah had 15 rushes for 30 rushing yards, and he also added 3 catches for 11 receiving yards. The silver lining was the fact that Abdullah did receive the bulk of the work out of the running backs, but it had to hurt Abdullah owner’s feelings when Riddick scored a touchdown with Abdullah watching from the sidelines. This week’s matchup does not bode well for Abdullah once again. The Giants gave up the seventh least fantasy points to running backs last year. And consider this, just last week the Giants held Ezekiel Elliott to 4.3 yards per carry, and kept him out of the end zone. It’s hard for me to envision Abdullah averaging 4.3 yards per carry against the Giants. He’s not going to get the 24 carries Elliott had. He doesn’t have the offensive line that Elliott has. Abdullah owners, you have been warned.
Under the radar option: Tight end Eric Ebron
Lions fans have soured on fourth-year tight end Eric Ebron. Understandably so, he hasn’t been particularly consistent over the course of his career. Being selected tenth overall in the 2014 draft didn’t help his case. Last year he had 711 receiving yards in 13 games, a solid total for a tight end. But he only caught one touchdown. Two years ago he had five. Ebron and Lions fans would love to see those touchdowns go up this season, and he has a great opportunity to score one this week after a meager fantasy performance against the Cardinals. Two catches for nine yards was a rough outing, but the Giants surrendered the 13th most fantasy points to tight ends last season. Not to mention they just let Jason Witten go wild against them this past Sunday night. Witten had seven receptions for 59 yards and he scored a touchdown. Not bad for an old man. But back to Ebron, he’s going to need some more targets to repeat the success of Witten, but if you’re a tight end streamer, Ebron could give you a serviceable night.