The Detroit Lions defense has been playing well lately, and with a nice schedule over the next two weeks the culmination of some fantasy football title runs could be aided by them.
The needed a punt return touchdown by Kalif Raymond to reach double-digit fantasy points (13 points, Yahoo! scoring), but the Detroit Lions defense/special teams delivered a fairly useful fantasy outing outside of that against the New York Jets (four sacks, one interception).
During their stretch of six wins in their last seven games to put themselves in the playoff hunt, the Lions’ defense has had double-digit fantasy points (Yahoo! scoring) four times with multiple sacks in each of the last six. If five of those seven games, they’ve been a top-eight fantasy defense– fueled by sacks and takeaways (19 sacks and 12 takeaways over the span, with two return touchdowns).
Detroit Lions’ defense lined up to help win some fantasy football titles
In Week 16 the Lions will face the Carolina Panthers, who are a bottom-five passing offense in the league (30th), a middle of the pack rushing offense (17th) and a bottom-10 scoring offense (24th). They have not turned the ball over in three straight games, with Sam Darnold under center, but Darnold has been sacked six times over the last two games.
In terms of fantasy points allowed, the Panthers are allowing the 14th-most to opposing defenses this season (6.86 per game; Yahoo! scoring).
Then in Week 17 the Lions will face the Chicago Bears. The Lions allowed 30 points to Chicago in Week 10, but three sacks of Justin Fields and a late pick-six yielded 10 fantasy points (Yahoo! scoring) through the backdoor. The Bears have yielded the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing defenses this season (9.2 per game).
Via JJ Zachariason of “The Late Round Podcast”, from the Week 16 Transactions episode, the Panthers and Bears are both top-10 matchups in adjusted fantasy points allowed.
As of Wednesday morning (Dec. 21), after the first wave of waivers have cleared in a good portion of fantasy leagues, the Lions’ defense is available in 93 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 96.7 percent of ESPN leagues.
Those who need a streamer in either of the next two weeks, or a two-week add for the rest of the fantasy playoffs, should not ignore the Detroit defense.