NFL Week 2 comes to a close with a Monday Night Football matchup between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers at 8:15 p.m. ET.
If you’re unfamiliar with the single-game NFL DFS format, it differs a bit on DraftKings and FanDuel. On DraftKings, you have one “captain” spot and five flexes. The captain will score 1.5x fantasy points, but he also costs 1.5x salary. That means if you want to roster Davante Adams at Captain and take advantage of the scoring boost, you’ll have to pay $17,700 as opposed to $11,800.
FanDuel’s single-game format features one “MVP” spot and four flexes. The MVP also scores 1.5x fantasy points, but he doesn’t cost any additional salary. That takes away a bit of the strategy and makes the goal simple: Get your highest-scoring player in the MVP spot.
The Packers are coming off a dreadful performance in Week 1, but they are still expected to roll in this contest. They’re currently listed as 11.5-point home favorites, while the total sits at 48.5. That means the Packers are implied for 30.0 points compared to just 18.5 for the Lions.
This is the rare showdown slate where a quarterback is not the most expensive option. That honor falls to Adams instead, who is coming off a historic 2020-21 season. He finished with 115 catches, 1,374 yards, and 18 touchdowns, despite the fact that he played in just 14 games. He scored a touchdown in all but three games, and he added 100 yards receiving in seven of them. That gave him one of the safest floors and highest ceilings in fantasy last year.
He started the new season with a poor showing vs. the Saints, but it’s hard for a wide receiver to succeed when his offense manages just three points. Luckily, he’s in an amazing bounce-back spot vs. the Lions. They have arguably the worst group of corners in football, especially after losing Jeff Okudah to a season-ending Achilles injury. Pro Football Focus gives Adams a massive advantage against the Lions whether he’s lined up on the left, on the right, or in the slot. Overall, his Opponent Plus/Minus of +5.2 is tied for the second-highest mark on the slate.
Adams has also historically done some of his best work against the Lions. He’s averaged 22.1 DraftKings points in his last four matchups vs. Detroit, resulting in an average Plus/Minus of +3.00 (per the Trends tool).
Stacking Adams with Aaron Rodgers will likely be the default strategy for most people, and it’s easy to see why. Not only do they own the two highest median and ceiling projections in our NFL Models, but they’re also extremely well correlated. They own a correlation of +0.55 on DraftKings, which is an excellent mark.
Rodgers is coming off a miserable game last week vs. the Saints, but I wouldn’t expect a repeat performance vs. the Lions. Rodgers owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +12.3, and he’s in a spot where he has historically thrived. Rodgers is one of the best home favorites in the business, posting an average Plus/Minus of +2.51 in that split.
Our Models do give a slight edge to Rodgers if you’re debating which of these two players to use at Captain. That said, you really can’t go wrong with either.
Aaron Jones is the forgotten man for the Packers, but he’s key in any contrarian builds on this slate. He has a neutral correlation with Rodgers, and more importantly, he owns a -0.27 correlation with Adams. If you’re looking to fade Adams in this spot, Jones is the easy pivot.
That strategy has plenty of merit if you think this game turns into a blowout. Green Bay was slightly below-average in terms of run rate with a lead of at least 14 points last season, but they still ran the ball at a 56% clip. Jones has also historically smashed as a large favorite, averaging 21.0 DraftKings points and a +5.97 Plus/Minus when favored by at least a touchdown.
Jared Goff was banished to Detroit during the offseason, and expectations are low for him this year. He was in contention for the MVP back in 2018, but he’s regressed badly over his past two seasons. Most people attribute his success to working with Sean McVay, who is one of the most innovative coaches in the league. Unless biting kneecaps counts as innovative, I don’t think Dan Campbell fits that description.
Still, the Lions being so bad should help Goff from a fantasy perspective. His efficiency stats weren’t great last week vs. the 49ers, but he made up for it through sheer volume. He attempted a whopping 57 passes, resulting in 338 yards and three touchdowns. That was good for 32.92 DraftKings points.
Goff could be looking at plenty of high-volume games this season, which is going to give him upside on a weekly basis.
T.J. Hockenson entered the season as a popular breakout candidate, and he only added fuel to that fire in Week 1. He saw 10 targets – the second-highest mark on the team – and racked up eight catches for 97 yards and a touchdown. His advanced metrics also look good. He saw 40% of the Lions’ red-zone targets last week, and he was Goff’s first read on 30% of his drop-backs.
The Packers did rank eighth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA vs. tight ends last season, but they surrendered six catches and two touchdowns to the Saints’ tight ends in Week 1.
The Lions running backs also figure to be busy. D’Andre Swift operated as their lead back in Week 1, but Jamaal Williams still saw plenty of playing time. Swift finished with two additional carries, but Williams was the more productive runner. He also scored their only rushing touchdown vs. the 49ers. That came on a one-yard plunge, so Williams appears to be the preferred goal-line option at the moment.
That said, what makes both players appealing on this slate is their involvement in the passing game. Swift led the Lions with 11 targets last week, while Williams saw nine targets of his own. The Lions have virtually no playmakers at receiver, so both players should continue to be active catching passes out of the backfield. Our Models give Swift a slight edge, but he will likely carry higher ownership.
It should be noted that Swift is currently questionable, but he is fully expected to play. He got in a full practice on Saturday, so expect him to be in the lineup barring a setback.
Robert Tonyan had a nice season for the Packers in 2020-21, but it was definitely fluky. He saw just 59 total targets, but he managed to secure 11 touchdowns. That’s going to be nearly impossible to duplicate this season. He basically needs to catch a touchdown to return value on this slate, and I’m fine with fading that outcome.
I’m much more interested in Marquez Valdes-Scantling. He finished with just three catches for 17 yards last week, but his underlying metrics look promising. He finished with eight targets – the top mark on the team – and 48% of the team’s air yards. MVS also saw their only end-zone target.
That’s obviously an outlier performance, but it does make him the Packers’ clear No. 2 option in the passing game. He has excellent deep speed – he ran a 4.37 40-yard dash at the 2017 combine – so he should hopefully be good for a couple of deep shots each week.
Allen Lazard is also a viable option for the Packers. He was on the field for 39 of the Packers’ 42 offensive snaps last week, and he racked up four targets.
Finally, the Packers’ defense is also priced in this range, and they could find themselves in a very advantageous game script. If they are able to jump out to a big lead, it will put the Lions into obvious passing situations. That means they’ll have ample opportunities to rack up sacks, turnovers, and potentially a score.
- Kalif Raymond ($4,400 on DraftKings, $8,000 on FanDuel): The Lions could provide some value at the wide receiver position on this slate. Tyrell Williams has been ruled out with a concussion, while Raymond is questionable with a thigh injury. Raymond led the Lions’ receivers in yardage in Week 1, but he was merely tied for third at the position in targets.
- Kickers & Lions Defense: These options are always in play in the single-game format, but make sure to build lineups that are positively correlated with them.
- Quintez Cephus ($3,800 on DraftKings, $7,500 on FanDuel): Cephus is my favorite of the Lions’ receivers. Not only did he lead the position group in targets last week, but he also led the entire roster in air yards. He also saw their only endzone target in that contest.
- A.J. Dillon ($3,000 on DraftKings, $7,000 on FanDuel): Dillon is filling Williams’ old role with the Packers this season, and that role could have value in a potential blowout. If the Packers do get into a run-heavy game script in the second half, Dillon could be the primary beneficiary.
- Amon-Ra St. Brown ($2,400 on DraftKings, $7,500 on FanDuel): The rookie wideout played on 64% of the Lions’ offensive snaps last week, and he finished with four targets.
- Randall Cobb ($2,000 on DraftKings, $6,500 on FanDuel): Rodgers demanded that the Packers trade for Cobb during the offseason, but they never said anything about playing him. He saw just one target and played on 26% of the Packers’ offensive snaps last week, so he’s the clear WR4 in the pecking order for the time being.
- Trinity Benson ($1,000 on DraftKings, $6,000 on FanDuel): Benson is the cheapest of the Lions’ wide receivers, but he finished second at the position in targets last week. His targets aren’t particularly valuable – he had the lowest average depth of target among the team’s receivers – but he only needs to catch a couple of passes to return value.