Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions: Thanksgiving Day Fantasy Analysis

Jeremy Alpert@@pyroman1acSenior Analyst IINovember 24, 2011

Week 12 Match-up:  Green Bay Packers (10-0) at Detroit Lions (7-3)

Rankings based on top 32 QBs, 50 RBs, 75 WRs and 32 TEs


Green Bay Packers


Opponent Defensive Ranks

Detroit Rush Defense – 2011: 134.7 Yards Allowed/Game (27th) || 6 TDs Allowed (T-6th)

Detroit Pass Defense – 2011: 193 Yards Allowed/Game (5th) || 10 TDs Allowed (T-3rd)


Green Bay Offensive Cast

Aaron Rodgers (QB Week 12 Fantasy Ranking: No. 1)

2011 Season: 238-of-329 for 3,168 yards, 31 TDs and four INTs || 48 carries for 176 yards and two TDs

The only reason I can see fantasy owners sitting Aaron "It Out" Rodgers on their bench for a game is because they happen to be a Lions fan and also have Matthew Stafford on their team. This is also probably the toughest pass defense he's faced all year, but if his offensive line can give him a little time, I just don't see him failing to produce.


James Starks (RB Week 12 Fantasy Ranking: No. 36)

2011 Season: 120 carries for 541 yards and one TD || 28 receptions for 210 yards and 0 TDs

Starks is not too bad of a play this week with the Lions play against the rush being the weakest part of their defense. If he's hobbled at all, however, he'll either split carries with Grant.


Ryan Grant (RB Week 12 Fantasy Ranking: No. 44)

2011 Season: 73 carries for 267 yards and 0 TDs || Eight receptions for 69 yards and 0 TDs

Grant's value this week completely depends upon James Starks' health. Watch the news before the game to see if Starks will be playing or not before you determine whether or not you can get Grant in there as a so-so flex play.


John Kuhn (RB Week 12 Fantasy Ranking: No. 46)

2011 Season: Nine carries for 15 yards and three TDs || 11 receptions for 46 yards and two TDs

ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 and Greg Jennings #85 of the Green Bay Packers talk on the sideline against the Pittsburgh Steelers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ke
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Kuhn has five TDs on 20 touches this season. That's pretty insane. If you're in a touchdown-heavy league, he's not too bad of a play. Otherwise, why would you have him on your team?


Greg Jennings (WR Week 12 Fantasy Ranking: No. 18)

2011 Season: 53 receptions for 761 yards and seven TDs

Jennings (knee) says that he's pretty close to 100 percent now and should be securely fastened into starting lineups as normal. However, he hasn't gotten the love he would normally see from Rodgers lately as Greg has only caught five balls on 11 targets over the last two weeks—but I expect that to change this week, as Rodgers is going to need him in this tough interdivisional showdown.


Jordy Nelson (WR Week 12 Fantasy Ranking: No. 11)

2011 Season: 40 receptions for 756 yards and nine TDs

Nelson has been on fire of late, catching 16 of the 18 balls thrown his way over the last three games while turning them into 291 yards and five touchdowns.

He rarely drops a pass, has sneaky speed and actually has quite a bit of strength in that 6'3", 217-pound body of his. Basically, he's become a must-start in fantasy leagues.

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23:  Wide receivers Greg Jennings #85, Donald Driver #80 and Jordy Nelson #87 of the Green Bay Packers on their sideline agains tthe Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images


Donald Driver (WR Week 12 Fantasy Ranking: No. 66)

2011 Season: 22 receptions for 233 yards and two TDs

Driver had his best game of the year last weekend, catching four balls for 72 yards against the Buccaneers. That said, he's barely been playable this season, but if you're looking to catch lightning in a bottle, standing next to any Packers receiver is as good of a place to get lucky as any.


James Jones (WR Week 12 Fantasy Ranking: No. 62)

2011 Season: 21 receptions for 356 yards and four TDs

Plain and simple, James Jones cannot catch a football. He's got speed and strength, but to get Aaron Rodgers to trust you, you have to be able to catch his (normally) perfectly thrown balls.

However, like I said with Driver, any of these secondary Packers receivers can produce on any given Sunday—or Thanksgiving Thursday for that matter.


DETROIT - NOVEMBER 20:  Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions warms up on the sides lines during the game against the Carolina Panthers at Ford Field on November 20, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Panthers 49-35.  (Photo by Leon Hali
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Randall Cobb (WR Week 12 Fantasy Ranking: Unranked)

2011 Season: 15 receptions for 234 yards and one TD

The rookie playmaker has a ton of talent, but unless you're in a return-yardage league, Cobb likely isn't worth starting. You gotta love his skills, though.


Jermichael Finley (TE Week 12 Fantasy Ranking: No. 9)

2011 Season: 34 receptions for 475 yards and five TDs

Jermichael has been a disappointment for fantasy owners all season long, but it's tough to take him out of your lineup knowing that he has those three-touchdown games in him.

Unless you have one of the 4G Network guys such as Gronkowski, Gates, Graham or Gonzalez, Finley should still be in your lineup with him being in such a high-powered offense like the Packers.


Detroit Lions

Opponent Defensive Ranks

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 20:  Kevin Smith #30 of the Detroit Lions gets around Charles Godfrey #30 of the Carolina Panthers for a fourth quarter touchdown at Ford Field on November 20, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 49-35. (Photo by Gregory
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Green Bay Rush Defense – 2011: 102.5 Yards Allowed/Game (12th) || 6 TDs Allowed (T-6th)

Green Bay Pass Defense – 2011: 289 Yards Allowed/Game (31st) || 18 TDs Allowed (T-24th)


Detroit Offensive Cast

Matthew Stafford (QB Week 12 Fantasy Ranking: No. 2)

2011 Season: 244/398 – for 2,843 yards, 25 TDs and 10 INTs

Stafford was super-close to being the top quarterback in my rankings this week, but until Rodgers falters, I just can't take him out of the spot.

That said, if you have both these studs on your fantasy team, I wouldn't blame you for starting Second-Half Staff over Rodge seeing how the Packers pass defense has given up the most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season.


Kevin Smith (RB Week 12 Fantasy Ranking: No. 18)

2011 Season: 20 carries for 159 yards and two TDs || Six receptions for 71 yards and one TD

I remember watching this kid play when he was a rookie and knowing there was something special about him—then of course came all the injuries, and Kevin Smith became just another NFL dream smashed to pieces.

But then, as fate would have it, injuries would plague the Lions' backfield and give Smith one more shot to make it work—and he did. Last week's 200-total-yard, three-TD effort was a thing of beauty, and though he won't repeat those numbers against a much better rush D this week, you still should get him in your lineup as a solid RB2.


Maurice Morris (RB Week 12 Fantasy Ranking: Unranked)

2011 Season: 48 carries for 201 yards and one TD || 10 receptions for 89 yards and 0 TDs

Morris has been no more than a backup running back throughout his career, so it really shouldn't be a surprise that he has returned to his proper role so quickly.

Unless you are in a super-deep league, don't bother here.


Keiland Williams (RB Week 12 Fantasy Ranking: Unranked)

2011 Season: 41 carries for 119 yards and one TD || One reception for five yards and 0 TDs

Ugh. After that fumble last weekend against the Panthers, I'm surprised he wasn't cut.


Jahvid Best (RB Week 12 Fantasy Ranking: OUT)

2011 Season: 84 carries for 390 yards and two TDs || 27 receptions for 287 yards and one TD

Best is still out dealing with his post-concussion issues. Keep him stashed on your bench.


Calvin Johnson (WR Week 12 Fantasy Ranking: No. 1)

2011 Season: 59 receptions for 974 yards and 11 TDs

Megatron must have felt like the only man on the planet not getting to celebrate a Stafford-tossed TD last weekend, but no matter. He was cheering harder than anyone else regardless and is one of the true class-acts in the NFL.

That said, Calvin loves going up against these teams in the NFC North, with the Packers being no exception. In seven career games against the Pack, Johnson has eight touchdowns, his most against any team in the league.

With the Packers allowing the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season, how can you deny him the No. 1 slot?


Nate Burleson (WR Week 12 Fantasy Ranking: No. 40)

2011 Season: 41 receptions for 391 yards and two TDs

Burleson has been awesome the last couple of games and should be able to continue his strong play against this weak Packers secondary. Get him in your lineup as either a WR3 or flex this week.


Titus Young (WR Week 12 Fantasy Ranking: No. 52)

2011 Season: 28 receptions for 363 yards and two TDs

Even though Titus has caught a TD in two of his last three games, it's hard to play him as more than a flex due to a rookie's inconsistency.

However, if he's going to have a bust-out game, this one might be the one he does it in.


Brandon Pettigrew (TE Week 12 Fantasy Ranking: No. 10)

2011 Season: 50 receptions for 435 yards and three TDs

After disappearing for a few weeks, Pettigrew got back in the scoring column last weekend on a nice little seven-yard pass in the fourth quarter to go up on the Panthers for good.

Who knows? That could be the catch that gets him going as a top-10 tight end again.


Tony Scheffler (TE Week 12 Fantasy Ranking: No. 24)

2011 Season: 14 receptions for 177 yards and five TDs

Scheffler caught a touchdown for the third week in a row last Sunday, but he still doesn't have more than three catches in any one game yet this season. Start him if you want, but you're looking for that lucky TD more than anything else.



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