After a rather one-sided affair last week, we’re expecting a much closer matchup as the Green Bay Packers (2-1), reeling off their 4th quarter comeback win on Sunday, host the Detroit Lions (2-1). We’re 7-5 on the year so far after a few narrow misses but we’re back with Underdog Fantasy, let’s have ourselves a day.
Sam LaPorta 4+ receptions
Last week Sam LaPorta set the record for rookie tight-ends, as he saw 5+ receptions in his first 3 games, becoming the first ever to do so. Coming up against Green Bay, I believe he will extend that record to 4 games. LaPorta is 2nd in target share (22.9%) only behind Amon-Ra St.Brown, and has 22 targets over those 3 games. The Lions come up against a Packers defense that has already allowed Jonnu Smith (4) and Cole Kmet (5) to have this many receptions, and LaPorta looks levels above these guys now. He saw 11 targets last weekend, after 5 & 6 in the weeks before, I believe as a result of David Montgomery’s absence. With Monty missing, Jahmyr Gibbs saw more carries and fewer targets, which caused Goff to lean on both LaPorta and St.Brown more than he’d done through the first 2 games. Montgomery looks like he may play but after a short turnaround I can’t imagine he gets a full workload right away, so expect Goff to continue to look for his 2 main guys. I expect LaPorta to finish the night with plenty of targets in what should be a close game, with the Lions just -1.5 favorites.
Jared Goff over 255.5 passing yards
The Lions have had a strong start to 2023 and Jared Goff has continued to prove his detractors wrong. So far this season Goff ranks 2nd in true passer rating (117.2) and 7th in pass completion (69.9%), whilst averaging 34.3 attempts per game and thrown for a total of 819 yards. Thursday nights game sees them face a Packers defense that ranks 10th in yards allowed per game (199.7), which is why his over may be lower than it should, but when I dove into it, the stats don’t show the full picture. The Packers first 3 opponents have some of the weakest pass yards per game this season. Chicago (31st), Atlanta (29th) and New Orleans (15th) haven’t provided the best tests for the Packers defense, and that should change as the Lions rank 7th (269.9) after playing 2 of the top 6 passing defenses (Atlanta & Kansas City). Goff has weapons at his disposal, and it shows as they rank 5th in total passing yards (819) with LaPorta, St.Brown & Gibbs being in double-digits for receptions already, and Raymond & Reynolds will likely follow after this one. If this game stays as close as it’s expected to be, I see Goff finishing closer to the 280-290 mark.
Jordan Love over 1.5 touchdown passes
Did you know Jordan Love has as many touchdowns this season as Patrick Mahomes? They’re both tied for 7 touchdown passes so far, and he seems to be exceeding a lot of peoples expectations. Granted the strength of opposition hasn’t been much, and the Lions will be their toughest test yet, but Love is showing promise. Both Aaron Jones and Christian Watson are expected to return which is also huge for their offense, though their usage levels are still up for debate. However, Love hasn’t shyd away from passing in the redzone, he currently has 9 redzone attempts with a 66.7% completion (6 completions) and ranks 12th in true passer rating (96.52). He opened the season with back to back 3 touchdown games, and the Lions pass defense ranks 19th in pass yards allowed (225.3) and had both Geno Smith & Patrick Mahomes score 2 touchdowns against them. With the weapons available and those returning, Love has everything he needs to put last weeks struggles behind him, and with the over set at 46 points we’re set for a reasonably high-scoring game.
Riley Patterson over 6.5 kicking points
You can tell I’m favoring the Lions in this one, and I anticipate them putting plenty of points on the board. So far this season Patterson is 100% with his kicking and has topped this over in 2 of 3 games. What’s notable is that all 3 of his field goals so far this season have been under 40 yards, so the Lions are getting down the field but sometimes are falling just short, they’re averaging just 5 third down conversions per game (=18th). Green Bay so far are allowing just 4.3 third down conversions per game (=9th) and are averaging 2.7 field goals against per game (=20th). As this game goes back and forth I imagine Patterson will stay busy and likely finish the night with 2 field goal attempts and 2 or 3 extra point attempts as well.
I’m David, 28, originally from England but now married and living in Texas. Originally studied English Literature at Liverpool Hope University, alongside Sport & Education. Having been an avid sports fan my entire life, I had a season ticket at Everton FC in the EPL for 17 years. Since moving here I’ve become a Kansas City Chiefs fan after Kelce won me my Fantasy League on my first-ever try. Love watching the games whether it be college on Saturdays or the NFL throughout the week. You’ll always find me with a bet or two on as well. 1 leg losses are my Kryptonite.