Picking up the pace: Don’t count on crazy speed from the Lions

Pat Thorman identifies the Week 13 games that promises the most (and least) action.

| 7 months ago
(Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

(Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Picking up the pace: Don’t count on crazy speed from the Lions

Welcome to the Week 13 edition of Snaps, Pace & Stats, where we examine trends in snap totals and no-huddle usage. It is meant as a 30,000-foot view of upcoming games, with the goal of identifying which matchups will — and which will not — be played on fertile fantasy soil.

The highest-profile game of the week is the Lions at the Saints. Much is expected from this matchup in the way of scoring for good reason. They are playing in the Superdome, the Saints have the second-most points in the league, and the Lions have our 31st-graded defense. New Orleans runs the second-most plays per game and scores the fourth-most points per snap, while also allowing the fourth-most.

Detroit, however, runs the second-fewest plays per game and operates at the league’s seventh-slowest seconds-per-snap pace. They have been playing deliberately to protect their poor defense, and it’s been working — albeit against mostly-bad teams. The Lions have allowed an average of 17 points since Week 6, and not because they’re particularly stout.

The combination of Detroit playing slowly and the Saints’ tendency to possess the ball is ominous for the Lions. Excluding their wild Week 10 game with the Broncos, New Orleans has allowed an average of 55.4 plays per game since Week 6. With Detroit’s widely spread distribution of targets, it presents a problem when investing in Lions’ pass-catchers. They are volume-fueled fantasy assets and Detroit’s snap volume will likely be turned down.

Up in pace

Rank Week 12 Snaps 2016 Snaps/Game Opponent Wk 12 Snaps 2016 Opp Snaps/Gm
1 Denver (77) Arizona (70.1) Kansas City (77) San Francisco (70.4)
2 Chicago (76) New Orleans (69.5) Denver (76) N.Y. Giants (69.1)
3 Kansas City (76) Tampa Bay (69.3) Tennessee (76) Atlanta (67.8)
4 San Francisco (73) Baltimore (67.5) Miami (73) Kansas City (67.3)
5 CLE / WAS (72) Houston (66.5) DAL / NYG (72) Seattle (67.2)


New York Giants at Pittsburgh Steelers

While Steelers’ games average 125.7 combined plays (seventh-fewest) and they’ve run more no-huddle on the road (26-percent) than at home (16-percent), there have been extenuating circumstances. From taking their foot off the gas in blowouts, to Ben Roethlisberger missing a home game, to severe weather — the Steelers remain an up-tempo offense in disguise. A visit from the no-huddle-heavy Giants, who allow the second-most plays per game (69.1) and have the seventh-highest-graded run defense, should turn up Pittsburgh’s passing volume.

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Pat Thorman is a lead writer for PFF Fantasy and a Fantasy Sports Writers Association award winner.

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