Broncos playing for seeding, home field in playoffs; Raiders would just like a win
The Detroit Lions will try and play spoiler when they take on the Green Bay Packers tonight at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC. The Lions (4-8) are looking to end a four-game losing streak and do something they haven’t done in more than 20 years – win at Lambeau Field. The Packers (8-4) are aiming to stay atop the NFC North standings by beating the Lions for the second time in less than a month.
Percy Harvin, Jarius Wright, Danny Amendola, Mikel Leshoure Updates
Depending upon your fantasy league setup, this is likely the last week of the regular season for you. If not, then you have a two-week push left to get into the postseason. Here are some updates on injured players, their status for the Week 13 games or the outlook for their replacements.
Struggling Lions host AFC’s best on Thanksgiving Day
The Detroit Lions host their traditional Thanksgiving Day game today, as they will take on the Houston Texans at 12:30 p.m. ET on CBS. The opener of the NFL’s turkey day triple-header features a Lions team that’s lost two in a row and is almost in a must-win situation if it wants to keep its playoff hopes alive. On the other side are the Texans, who enter this game with an AFC-best 9-1 mark and a three-game lead over the Colts for first place in the AFC South.
This NFC North rivalry has been controlled by the Bears lately.
Two divisional foes with drastically different 2012 results will meet on Monday Night Football, when the Chicago Bears host the Detroit Lions at 8:30 p.m. EST on ESPN. Lovie Smith’s Chicago crew has jumped out to a 4-1 start, outscoring its opponents by 78 points. Meanwhile, the last-place Lions are 2-3 and have looked nothing like the playoff team of a year ago.
There are a few key fantasy contributors that have had a number of injury question marks surrounding their playing status leading up to Week 4 of the 2012 NFL season. Here’s a little bit about these three and what you should consider.
Jared Cook, TE and Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans
What can the Detroit Lions do for you this fantasy season? Check out Athlon Sports' team report as we break down the rookies, veteran players to watch and avoid, fantasy playoff schedule and more to help you get ready for the 2012 season.
Inside the Locker Room
with John Niyo, Detroit News
On draft day, don't sleep on underrated fantasy football players like the Falcons' Matt Ryan.
It's fantasy football time, which means millions of fans will be drafting their teams over the next few weeks. Here's a look at 15 sleeper picks that could mean the difference between winning or losing your league this season.
These guys are fringe big names, so don’t sleep on them for too long.
• Inside the Locker Room
With John Niyo of the Detroit News
Can Matt Stafford finally put his injury issues behind him and start a full season?
There’s a misconception that the Lions’ offensive line is directly responsible for Stafford’s injuries, though it was a Julius Peppers sack that got 2010 started off on the wrong shoulder. Still, there’s no mistaking Stafford’s offseason determination to put an end to all that idle time, opting for surgery and an intense rehab on his throwing shoulder. By strengthening the muscles around his joints, the expectation is he’ll be better equipped to withstand punishment. He’s also now well aware of the value of throwing it away to avoid a sack. But really, the best medicine might be an offense with more playmakers and quick-read outlets that allows Stafford to dictate the tempo and avoid the kind of desperate situations that lead to problems.
Can Brandon Pettigrew develop a relationship with Matt Stafford like he did with Shaun Hill?
Pettigrew has the ability to be any quarterback’s best friend, as long as he figures out a way to hang on to the football. And while he had a breakout year with 71 catches — most of them without Stafford — his yards per reception, downfield targets and touchdowns go way up when the No. 1 quarterback is in the game.
How soon will Titus Young beat out Nate Burleson for a starting spot?
Young wasn’t drafted to replace Burleson. He was drafted because the Lions’ No. 3 wideouts — Bryant Johnson and Derrick Williams — were so ineffective in 2010. The Lions wanted another receiver who could get separation and threaten defenses with deep speed to take away defenders over the top for Calvin Johnson, Burleson and Brandon Pettigrew.
• Fantasy Playoff Run — Weeks 14-16: MIN, @OAK, SD
Let’s be honest — we’re all looking at the Lions as a passing team. With that said, the playoff schedule is not friendly. All three opponents were in the top 10 against the pass last season — in fact, San Diego and Oakland were first and second vs. the pass, respectively. So maybe the Lions can run. Well, the Chargers (fourth) and Vikings (ninth) possessed top-10 rush defenses last year.
• Athlon Best Bets
Sleeper: Brandon Pettigrew, TE Deep-Sleeper: Jerome Harrison, RB Overvalued: Nate Burleson, WR Top Rookie: Titus Young, WR Bounce-Back: Matthew Stafford, QB Top IDP: Ndamukong Suh, DL
• Try to Avoid
Nate Burleson, WR
With Titus Young joining the fantasy ranks, and Jahvid Best, Brandon Pettigrew and Calvin Johnson combining to command high target totals, Burleson’s time on fantasy rosters may be ending. WAIT UNTIL: 19th RD
• Draft Class Fantasy Impact
The Lions should be a good source of fantasy value this season, and more weapons were added through the draft. Young will help take away some of the pressure on Calvin Johnson and tight end Brandon Pettigrew. Don’t expect Young to make much of a fantasy impact in 2011, but he should be targeted in keeper formats. Even though Jahvid Best was solid as a rookie, adding a bigger, complementary back was necessary. Leshoure could have fit that mold and passed Best for the team lead in rushing yards. But with Leshoure's season-ending Achilles injury, it is hard to tell what the Lions' running game will look like.