October 3, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, United States; Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) passes in the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports
It’s been a rough start to the 2021 season for the Detroit Lions, to say the least. Their offense ranks last in the league in multiple categories, and their defense isn’t much better. That being said, despite how bad the gear is overall, that does mean trash time stats are available and fantasy points can be earned as a result. In general, it’s best to stay away from a lot of the Lions this week and every week, but here are a few who might have decent days in the fantasy leagues.
TE TJ Hockenson
It’s probably best to eliminate the obvious option right away. TJ Hockenson is not only the best player in this Lions offense, he is among the best tight ends in the entire NFL. Hockenson comes into this game leading Detroit’s offense in goals, receiving yards and tied for the lead in received touchdowns.
Assuming the Lions play from behind against the powerful Vikings offense, Hockenson should be ready for a big day. Linebacker Eric Kendricks might make things difficult in the short passing game, but Minnesota’s CB core hasn’t exactly been good so far. If you have it, give Hockenson the start on TE.
RB De’Andre Swift
De’Andre Swift’s season has started with two performances of over 16 fantasy points and two performances that brought him into single digits. It’s also worth noting that both he and Jamaal Williams are listed as questionable going into this game. Swift has been on injury reporting all season, but Williams is a new addition.
Swift’s impact from the backfield hasn’t been felt as much in the running game as in the passing. As mentioned above, Hockenson leads the Lions in goals, but it’s Swift’s 23 receptions that lead the way in that category. Especially in the PPR leagues, he should be considered a low-end RB1 heading into this showdown with Minnesota.
RB Jamaal Williams
In a very surprising trend, it is not De’Andre Swift who has led the Lions in carries this season. Instead, that title has gone to newcomer Jamaal Williams through four games. Add in that Michael Pierce is out for Minnesota this week, and Williams could have a solid number at the end of the day. Again, I expect this game to be pretty uneven in favor of the Vikings, but if it isn’t, it’s probably due to Williams’ ability to run on a Vikings defense that allows 4.8 yards per carry.
He’s not as prominent in the passing game as Swift, but Williams has certainly forged a part of the goals for himself due to the lack of Detroit players at the WR position. If trends are to continue, he will also rush to his third TD rushing this week after running out of touchdowns in Week 4. Williams deserves to be considered for a flexible spot this week if he’s healthy enough to play.