There are several teams that have surprised us as far as being much better than we expected by Week 14 of the season, and one of those is the Detroit Lions.
The Lions started off slow, but they’ve been especially strong on offense as of late, which is why we have multiple Lions players to go over on yardage as some of our top player props this week while also highlighting their matchup against the Vikings as the shootout of the week.
The Lions aren’t the only team with players who offer prop value, so we’ll break down which players offer the top prop values as well as the top matchups to target this week for fantasy football.
Player prop odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
TOP PROP PLAYS
Passing top play
Lions QB Jared Goff OVER 266.5 yards (-119) vs. Vikings
Goff has turned up the heat lately on a surging Lions offense and has proven that he can put up strong passing numbers in an offense with weapons. Goff now has rookie Jameson Williams at his disposal to complement Amon-Ra St. Brown, so he should continue to thrive through the air against a Vikings secondary that’s given up 300 or more passing yards in their past four matchups.
Passing honorable mention
Broncos QB Russell Wilson UNDER 212.5 yards (-117) at Chiefs
Wilson has had a forgettable season, to say the least. While he’ll likely be playing from behind against the Chiefs, the Broncos’ defense should be able to keep the point total low enough to where Wilson won’t have to throw endlessly down the stretch. He still could go under the total even if he gets in desperation mode because of the fact that he’ll be without his top receiver in Courtland Sutton.
Rushing top play
49ers RB Christian McCaffrey OVER 53.5 yards (-117) at Buccaneers
CMC saw his busiest outing last week as a 49er whenever they had to lean on the run when Jimmy Garoppolo left the game early. Garoppolo is out for the season, so the 49ers project to turn back to the run to aid seventh-round rookie quarterback Brock Purdy, which should mean another busy day for McCaffrey on the ground against a Bucs defense that isn’t as vaunted as it once was.
Rushing honorable mention
Chiefs RB Isiah Pacheco OVER 63.5 yards (-117) at Broncos
The Chiefs will likely have to run more than usual this week with the Broncos having a stout pass defense, which bodes well for Pacheco racking up yards. Pacheco’s taken over as the team’s lead runner with Clyde Edwards-Helaire on the shelf and should keep that up this week in a favorable matchup in which the Chiefs should be leading.
Receiving top play
Lions WR Amon-Ra St. Brown OVER 82.5 yards (-117) vs. Vikings
St. Brown has cemented himself as one of the most explosive receivers in the NFL and has a chance to have his best outing yet against a Vikings secondary that’s been consistently torched by No. 1 receivers recently. The over feels like a lock unless St. Brown would get injured during the game, but he’s gotten over the injury that bothered him early in the year and has shown no signs of slowing down.
Receiving honorable mention
Giants WR Darius Slayton UNDER 47.5 yards (-117) vs. Eagles
Slayton has been quietly productive recently having emerged as the Giants’ No. 1 receiver and go-to target for Daniel Jones, but he gets a tough draw this week against a stingy Eagles secondary. The Eagles boast some of the league’s top cornerback play, which will likely limit Slayton and cause him to have one of his quietest outings since his midseason breakout.
TOP MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Shootout of the Week: Vikings at Lions
The aforementioned Lions have been putting up points in bunches, but the Vikings have been right up there with them, and the common theme here is that neither defense has complemented these offenses very well. There should be a boatload of points put up here as a result, which is great news for us fantasy managers considering there are several fantasy-relevant players in this matchup.
Fantasy starts: QBs Jared Goff and Kirk Cousins; RBs Dalvin Cook, Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift; WRs Justin Jefferson, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Adam Thielen and DJ Chark; TE T.J. Hockenson
Low-key shootout: Panthers at Seahawks
There weren’t many appealing options for a low-key shootout this week with six teams on a bye, but the Seahawks and Panthers fit the bill since both offenses are ahead of their defenses. The Seahawks’ offense has stayed the course under Geno Smith, and the Panthers’ offense showed progress under Sam Darnold and hasn’t seen their running game drop off despite trading Christian McCaffrey.
Fantasy starts: QB Geno Smith; RBs Kenneth Walker (if active) and D’Onta Foreman (if active); WRs DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and DJ Moore; TE Noah Fant
Stay away: Ravens at Steelers
There also weren’t any obvious matchups to avoid this week, but the Ravens ended up on the list for the second week in a row with their offense in a tailspin and now being without Lamar Jackson. The Steelers’ offense also hasn’t shown much life under rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett, so this projects to be one where the defenses shine and limit the upside from a fantasy football standpoint.
Fantasy start(s): RB Najee Harris; TE Mark Andrews
SEASON PROP RECORD
Passing: 12-12 (top play 4-8, HM 8-4)
Rushing: 11-13 (top play 7-5, HM 4-8)
Receiving: 16-8 (top play 8-4, HM 8-4)
Spencer ‘the Guru’ Urquhart (@spencertheguru) has been a fantasy football analyst since 2014, founding a community of over 6,000 followers