Lions-Vikings Preview

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Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) is tackled by Philadelphia Eagles safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson (23) after catching a pass during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)


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Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)


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Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (14) runs after making a catch during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Commanders Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Lon Horwedel)


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Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (14) celebrates his four-yard touchdown reception with Jared Goff (16) in the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Lon Horwedel)


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) When Jared Goff's pass on the last play of the game in Detroit last year sailed across the goal line and landed in the arms of a rookie named Amon-Ra St. Brown to stick Minnesota with a stunning defeat, the identity of the receiver seemed rather insignificant at the time.

The Lions finally, in Week 13, had a win to celebrate for coach Dan Campbell.

The Vikings, then still on the fringe of the playoff race, took their most inexcusable loss in an exasperating season that essentially sealed the firing of coach Mike Zimmer one month later.

That dramatic ending on Dec. 5 also turned out to be the beginning of a remarkable run for St. Brown, who has blossomed into a legitimate star of a potent Lions offense. The fourth-round draft pick out of USC has eight or more receptions in eight consecutive games, tied for the longest such streak in NFL history.

''He's as steady as a rock. You can always depend on what he is going to bring every day, not just on Sunday, but on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday,'' Campbell said. ''He's been that way since he walked in the door as a rookie, and nothing has changed.''

That touchdown catch to beat the Vikings last year was the first of his career. From that day through last week's 36-27 win over Washington, St. Brown has 68 receptions for 740 yards and eight touchdowns. He even ran twice for 68 yards against the Commanders.

''He runs good routes. He gets himself open,'' said Goff, who's also in his second season with Detroit. ''It hasn't felt forced. That's why it kind of jumps up on us, `Wow, it's been eight games in a row,' or whatever it is. It's just kind of been natural.''

St. Brown, whose older brother Equanimeous St. Brown is a wide receiver for Chicago after four seasons with Green Bay, is the son of a champion bodybuilder, John St. Brown. His mother, who's from Germany, guided the two boys to learn both French and German.

His background is already unique, but he's driven to make himself a one-of-a-kind player on the field, too, as a tireless worker who catches hundreds of balls off the Jugs machine after every practice. The Lions have described him as a quarterback-friendly target with sound technique and a high level of on-field awareness.

''When he makes a mistake, it's like, `Huh?''' Goff said.

As featured on HBO's annual training camp documentary, ''Hard Knocks,'' St. Brown has derived plenty of motivation from his afterthought status as an NFL prospect. He cited on the show all 16 wide receivers who were drafted in front of him last year.

''I don't forget things like that,'' St. Brown said. ''I'm going to give every team hell.''

That includes the Vikings, who host the Lions on Sunday. Minnesota made five picks in the 2021 draft before St. Brown went to Detroit with the 112th overall selection.

''I'm trying to take it up a notch. Everything I did last year, turn it up. More catches. More yards. More everything,'' St. Brown said. ''More wins for the team.''

VULNERABLE VIKINGS

The touchdown catch by St. Brown last season served as a microcosm of Minnesota's deteriorated pass defense under Zimmer. The cornerback in coverage on that play was Cameron Dantzler Sr., who backpedaled too deep into the end zone to make it easy for Goff to find his target.

Dantzler was among the many Vikings defenders who were carved up last week in Philadelphia by quarterback Jalen Hurts in the 24-7 loss, and rookie Akayleb Evans took his place for much of the second half opposite veteran Patrick Peterson.

''We gave him a little rest there, but he'll be back in there ready to go this week,'' defensive coordinator Ed Donatell said, confirming Dantzler was supposed to be deeper on the 53-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter when Quez Watkins blew by safety Camryn Bynum to give the Eagles a 14-0 lead.

''The correction has been made,'' Donatell said. ''We trust him, and we know he'll do fine.''

ONE FOR THE SKIPPER

Five years after his NFL debut, Detroit's Dan Skipper made his first career start against Washington. He played guard for the first time since he was a freshman at Arkansas, pressed into duty after the Lions lost three starters to injury: Frank Ragnow, Jonah Jackson and Halapoulivaati Vaitai. The 6-foot-9, 330-pound Skipper was celebrated by teammates and coaches, who chanted ''Skip! Skip! Skip!'' in the locker room. Skipper was emotional in his postgame news conference.

''I think I've had 20 NFL contracts,'' he said. ''They're not worth the paper they're written on, right?''

GOING STREAKING

The Lions have scored a touchdown in 15 straight quarters for the longest such streak in franchise history and the NFL's longest active run. They have scored at least 35 points in the first two games of a season for the first time since 1970.

RESET BUTTON

The Vikings quickly fell behind in Philadelphia, got out of their play-calling rhythm and had three turnovers in the second half - all interceptions thrown by Kirk Cousins. The only completions to Justin Jefferson were on short routes. Dalvin Cook had a career-low six carries for just 17 yards.

''We've got to be better on the field making those plays and just settling the game down. That's just about being hard on each other, holding each other accountable and just going back to work, man,'' Cook said.

Player Notes
Javonte Williams Oct 3 1:10pm ET
Javonte Williams

Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams (knee) suffered a torn ACL in the Week 4 loss to the division-rival Las Vegas Raiders and his 2022 season is over, according to a source. Williams came into the year as a popular breakout candidate in his second NFL season, but after four weeks, no touchdowns and a torn ACL, his sophomore season comes to a disappointing end. He can now be dropped in single-season leagues. With Williams now done, the Broncos will turn to some combination of Melvin Gordon III and Mike Boone. Gordon had a disastrous Week 4 with three carries for eight yards and a lost fumble that was returned for a touchdown. While this could be another frustrating timeshare, Gordon should have more fantasy upside as a potential RB2, but Boone is also worth waiver-wire consideration in deeper leagues.

From RotoBaller

Marquise Brown Oct 3 1:00pm ET
Marquise Brown

Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay (forearm) didn't suffer a major forearm injury in the Week 4 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and has a chance to play in Week 5 against the Arizona Cardinals. Meanwhile, cornerback Avonte Maddox (ankle), who suffered an ankle sprain last week, is up in the air for Week 5, according to sources. Maddox could miss another game, but his injury isn't long-term. It's good news for the Eagles secondary as they try to remain the only undefeated team in the league heading into a matchup against Arizona. If Slay is able to play, it will be bad news for Cardinals No. 1 receiver Marquise Brown. The Eagles defense/special teams has been a must-start fantasy unit this season.

From RotoBaller

Baker Mayfield Oct 3 12:50pm ET
Baker Mayfield

Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule told reporters on Monday that he's sticking with Baker Mayfield as his quarterback after the Week 4 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Rhule added that Sam Darnold (ankle) is still not ready to return from his high-ankle sprain. Darnold reportedly isn't close to coming off Injured Reserve, so the struggling Mayfield will have a little more leash as the starter under center. The 27-year-old has gone 64-for-117 for 747 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions in his first four games with the Panthers. Mayfield is averaging a career-low 6.4 yards per attempt and 186.8 yards per game. He'll remain a low-end QB2 in superflex leagues going forward, and if he's still struggling when Darnold is healthy enough to return, the Panthers could be compelled to make a switch.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Smith Oct 3 12:40pm ET
Jimmy Smith

Long-time Baltimore Ravens standout cornerback Jimmy Smith is retiring on Monday after 11 seasons with the team, the Ravens announced. Smith was originally drafted by Baltimore in the first round (27th overall) in 2011 out of the University of Colorado, and he spent all 11 seasons of his NFL career with the Ravens. In total, he racked up 374 tackles (324 solo), eight tackles for loss, three QB hits, 14 interceptions (two for touchdowns), 74 passes defensed, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries (one touchdown) and three sacks in 128 regular season games (90 starts). The 34-year-old played in only 10 games (two starts) in 2021 and had 18 tackles (15 solo) and three passes defensed.

From RotoBaller

Kendrick Bourne Oct 3 12:40pm ET
Kendrick Bourne

New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne had just two receptions on three targets for 23 yards in the 27-24 overtime loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 4. He also added one carry for a 15-yard gain. On the bright side, Bourne played 45 percent of the team's offensive snaps, which was his highest mark in four games with Jakobi Meyers (knee) missing his second straight game. Still, it wasn't much action for the 27-year-old considering Meyers' absence, and with quarterback Mac Jones (ankle) and backup Brian Hoyer (head) now hurt, Bourne's fantasy appeal will take another hit if rookie third-stringer Bailey Zappe is forced to start in Week 5 against the Detroit Lions.

From RotoBaller

Frank Reich Oct 3 12:30pm ET
Frank Reich

Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich told reporters that linebacker Shaquille Leonard (concussion) is out for Thursday night against the Denver Broncos in Week 5. Leonard made his season debut in the Week 4 loss to the Tennessee Titans, but he played only 16 defensive snaps before suffering a concussion and never returning to the contest. The 27-year-old All-Pro got a late start in 2022 due to a back injury, and now he'll miss his fourth game of the year this Thursday. Leonard has been a must-start IDP linebacker in recent seasons, but he's been struggling to stay on the field this year. He's still worth stashing in IDP leagues, though, and hopefully he'll be able to return in Week 6.

From RotoBaller

Jamie Collins Oct 3 12:30pm ET
Jamie Collins

The New England Patriots are expected to sign free-agent linebacker Jamie Collins, according to sources. It remains to be seen if Collins will join the practice squad or the active roster, but he's expected to join the team in some capacity as they look for improved linebacker play. This will be Collins' fourth different stint with New England after they initially drafted him in the second round in 2013 out of South Miss. In 10 games with the Patriots in 2021, he had 20 tackles (11 solo), three tackles for loss, an interception and three passes defensed. The 32-year-old made the Pro Bowl back in 2015 and had over 100 combined tackles as recently as 2020 in 14 starts for the Detroit Lions.

From RotoBaller

Sam Darnold Oct 3 12:20pm ET
Sam Darnold

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (ankle) is now eligible to come off Injured Reserve, but he's not close to returning from the left high-ankle sprain that he suffered in late August, according to a source. In the words of the source, it's "going to be a while." It's good news for Baker Mayfield, who has underwhelmed in his first four games as the starter for Carolina. Mayfield has completed a career-low 54.7 percent of his 117 pass attempts for 747 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions through four games. It's not as if Darnold would be any better, but when he's finally healthy again, he could put some heat on Darnold if he hasn't improved by then. The 25-year-old Darnold should remain on the waiver wire in all single-year leagues.

From RotoBaller

Jamison Crowder Oct 3 12:10pm ET
Jamison Crowder

Buffalo Bills veteran wide receiver Jamison Crowder (ankle) suffered a broken ankle in the Week 4 win over the Baltimore Ravens, according to a source. Crowder will have additional tests to see what other damage he might have, but he's now out indefinitely. It's a tough break for the 29-year-old slot man, who had just six catches on 13 targets for 60 yards in four games before his injury. He wasn't a realistic option for starting fantasy lineups with Isaiah McKenzie the starter in the slot in 2022. Crowder isn't a must-stash in deep single-season formats. McKenzie should see more targets as a result, and it should also mean more work for rookie Khalil Shakir, but don't expect much out of the youngster in redraft leagues.

From RotoBaller

Miles Sanders Oct 3 12:10pm ET
Miles Sanders

Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders proved in Week 4 that he can be a strong fantasy option in 2022, running for a career-high 134 yards in the 29-21 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. It was the first time in his four-year career that the 25-year-old reached 27 carries in a game. In the first three weeks of the season, only one RB had 27-plus carries in a game. "Miles Sanders is our No. 1 back! There ain't no question about it!" head coach Nick Sirianni said. Sanders is playing the best football of his career and has become a must-start in fantasy lineups for the 4-0 Eagles. Through four games, he has 72 carries for 356 yards and three touchdowns without turning the ball over. Fantasy managers shouldn't expect 27 carries every week, but Sanders has proven to be up to the task in one of the best offenses in the league.

From RotoBaller

Noah Fant Oct 3 8:50am ET
Noah Fant

Seattle Seahawks tight end Noah Fant was coming off a four-catch performance last week, but was barely seen on Sunday. The 24-year-old hauled in one of his two targets for two yards and a touchdown in the Week 4 win over the Detroit Lions. The Seahawks have struggled to get Fant consistently involved in this offense. Will Dissly is the better fantasy option between the two tight ends. It's hard to imagine Fant having much streaming value against the New Orleans Saints in Week 5.

From RotoBaller

Will Dissly Oct 3 8:40am ET
Will Dissly

Seattle Seahawks tight end Will Dissly made the most of his chances during the Week 4 matchup against the Detroit Lions. The 26-year-old hauled in all four of his targets for 39 yards and a touchdown in the win. He now has three touchdowns in four games, which is somewhat saving his fantasy value. Although, he won't be anything more than a touchdown-dependent option against the New Orleans Saints defense in Week 5.

From RotoBaller

Landon Collins Oct 3 8:30am ET
Landon Collins

Free-agent safety Landon Collins is making a trip to visit the New York Giants on Monday. The 28-year-old has spent each of the last three seasons with Washington. Before that, Collins made three Pro Bowls and an All-Pro team as a member of the Giants. He finished with 81 tackles, three sacks, and two interceptions through 13 games last season. Clearly, Collins still has something left in the tank. The Giants could use an upgrade on defense and Collins might seriously consider joining the now 3-1 Giants roster.

From RotoBaller

Jonathan Taylor Oct 3 8:30am ET
Jonathan Taylor

Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (ankle) was believed to have possibly suffered a high-ankle sprain during Sunday's contest. Luckily, the tests are coming back and the organization doesn't believe this is a long term issue. He could still miss time, but hopefully it won't be anything significant. He rushed 20 times for 42 yards during the Week 4 loss to the Tennessee Titans. It remains to be seen if he'll be healthy enough to suit up for Thursday Night Football against the Denver Broncos. Otherwise, Nyheim Hines could be seeing an increased workload.

From RotoBaller

Daniel Jones Oct 3 8:20am ET
Daniel Jones

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (ankle) is currently considered day-to-day following an injury he suffered during the Week 4 win over the Chicago Bears. The 25-year-old had his ankle wrapped, but never went into the locker room. Tyrod Taylor briefly came in before possibly suffering an injury himself. After that, Jones was forced back into the game to help close out the contest. The tests are still coming in, but the team appears to be optimistic about Jones. They will continue to monitor him throughout the week, but this doesn't sound like a long term injury.

From RotoBaller

Tom Brady Oct 3 8:10am ET
Tom Brady

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady didn't miss a snap during Sunday's Week 4 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. Although, there was some concern about Brady's health following a play in the first half. The 45-year-old was strip-sacked and came up clutching his right arm. When asked about it Brady said that he'll be fine, so he certainly isn't concerned. He did return to action and finished with a season-high 385 passing yards with three touchdowns in the loss. This arm/shoulder issue is something to monitor heading into next week, but it sounds like Brady is fine.

From RotoBaller

Patrick Mahomes Oct 3 6:10am ET
Patrick Mahomes

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense/special teams allowed 417 yards of total offense in Sunday's 41-31 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Tampa Bay had allowed 27 points total in three games heading into Week 4 but was shredded by the Chiefs offense in the Week 4 loss. The Bucs' defense had no answer for quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who threw three touchdowns on Sunday. Tampa Bay did record an interception and one sack. The Bucs' defense will look to rebound and is a must-start option in a plus matchup against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5.

From RotoBaller

Julio Jones Oct 3 6:00am ET
Julio Jones

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Julio Jones (knee) caught one pass on two targets for seven yards in Sunday's 41-31 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. He had been sidelined since Week 1 with a partially torn PCL in his knee and returned to action for Sunday Night Football against Kansas City. The veteran had only two targets and was shut out in the second half. According to Bucs' head coach Todd Bowles, Jones got "nicked up," so the team held him out. Jones is considered day-to-day and will be limited in practice this week. The 33-year-old is a roster stash for now but has a plus matchup against his former team, the Atlanta Falcons, in Week 5.

From RotoBaller

Ryan Succop Oct 3 6:00am ET
Ryan Succop

Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Ryan Succop made his only field goal attempt and was 4-for-4 in extra-point tries in Sunday's 41-31 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. He drilled a 45-yard attempt to put the Bucs on the scoreboard in the first quarter. The 36-year-old has been one of the most reliable kickers this season, converting 9-of-10 attempts while being a perfect 7-for-7 in extra-point tries. Succop is a top-five option against the Atlanta Falcons and should remain in fantasy lineups in Week 5.

From RotoBaller

Chris Godwin Oct 3 5:50am ET
Chris Godwin

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (hamstring) caught seven of 10 targets for 59 yards in Sunday's 41-31 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The 26-year-old returned to action in Week 4 after missing the last two games due to a hamstring injury. He briefly exited the game with a leg injury in the third quarter but was able to return later in the contest. Godwin was able to play most of the game without any setbacks and saw plenty of usage in the first game, back with 10 targets. Godwin will likely be limited in practice this week but is expected to be active and is a strong WR2/3 against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5.

From RotoBaller