Last updated: December 19th at 7:45pm ET
Team Totals: Broncos 22.5, Lions 15.5
The Lions visit Denver with most of their skill players’ outlooks up in the air. Badly struggling David Blough is rumored to be at risk of being benched for Kyle Sloter, while coach Matt Patricia indicated Kerryon Johnson (knee) could mix into Detroit’s RBBC if activated from I.R. Bo Scarbrough, Wes Hills, J.D. McKissic, and Ty Johnson are also candidates for running back snaps, making for a fantasy situation to avoid. … Danny Amendola continues to dominate targets from Blough, while Kenny Golladay’s box-score results have been entirely boom or bust. Both do catch quietly soft Week 16 matchups against a Denver secondary getting pounded by wideouts and missing difference-maker FS Kareem Jackson (suspension). Over their last six games, the Broncos have been clocked by Stefon Diggs (5/121/1), DeAndre Hopkins (7/120/1), Mike Williams (5/117/0), Odell Beckham (5/87/0), Cole Beasley (6/76/1), Keenan Allen (6/68/1), Keke Coutee (5/68/0), Tyreek Hill (5/67/2), Jarvis Landry (6/51/1), and John Brown (2/39/1). Amendola remains a PPR-specific WR3 play, and Golladay a high-volatility WR3. It can’t hurt that Amendola popped as Week 16’s No. 2 buy-low player in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model.
Predictably humbled at Arrowhead last week, the Broncos return home for a far more favorable spot versus the Lions, who’ve lost 10 of their last 11 games and are devastatingly short on both offensive and defensive firepower. Denver should control Sunday’s contest with its rushing attack in positive game script, setting up a Phillip Lindsay bounce back following Week 15’s seven-carry dud. Lindsay averaged 17.5 touches over the previous month, while Detroit has been drilled for a 152.6 total-yard average and 19 TDs in 14 games by enemy backs. Traveling cross country with nothing to play for, the Lions seem likely to lay down here. … Royce Freeman out-touched Lindsay 9 to 7 and out-snapped him 32 to 23 in Week 15 because the Broncos quickly fell behind the Chiefs, and Freeman is Denver’s preferred trail-mode back. Vic Fangio’s team is likely to flip Week 16’s script at home facing a far weaker opponent, benefiting Lindsay in particular. … Drew Lock’s fantasy results through three starts are a wildly uneven QB22 > QB7 > QB31, but Sunday’s matchup is friendly enough to take Lock seriously as a two-quarterback-league starter and long-shot DFS-tournament play. 11-of-14 signal callers to face the Lions have banked top-12 fantasy scores, while Detroit lacks pass-rush capability to consistently put heat on Lock, whose passer rating soars from a miserable 55.0 when pressured to 103.1 inside clean pockets.
Lock’s 2019 target distribution: Courtland Sutton 22; DaeSean Hamilton 16; Tim Patrick 12; Freeman and Noah Fant 10; Lindsay 9; Jeff Heuerman 7; Andrew Beck 5. … Sutton is Lock’s obvious DFS-stack partner facing a Lions defense allowing the NFL’s fifth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Among fantasy’s most consistent producers, Sutton has cleared 70 yards and/or scored a touchdown in 11-of-14 games and shown matchup proof-ness even against the league’s top corners. As a potentially added incentive, Sutton bristled this week when reporters asked about being left off this year’s AFC Pro Bowl roster. Sutton was among 2019’s most egregious Pro Bowl snubs. … One of the NFL’s worst receivers, Hamilton has 61 yards to show for his 16 targets from Lock and, dating back to 2018, hasn’t found the end zone in 15 games. … Already battling foot and hip ailments, Fant missed Week 15 snaps with a shoulder injury but returned and should play against the Lions, albeit almost certainly at less than 100%. Fant is always a boom-bust gamble with obvious big-play potential but distinct error proneness and a mostly part-time role. Fant’s route totals are way down since Heuerman returned from injury.
Score Prediction: Broncos 24, Lions 10