NFL Week 4 Recap: Immediate fantasy football takeaways from Lions-Packers Thursday Night Football

2RY5088 Detroit Lions running back David Montgomery (5) runs in for a touchdown during the first half of a NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

David Montgomery scores three times in his return from injury: The Lions relied heavily on Montgomery to get a big lead early in this game.

• Multiple Green Bay Packers return: Aaron Jones and Christian Watson returned from injury, but neither returned to a usual full-time role.

Sam LaPorta’s historic run continues: LaPorta caught four passes for 56 yards to remain one of the best fantasy tight ends of the season.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

PFF's fantasy football recap focuses on player usage and stats, breaking down all the vital information you need to achieve fantasy success in 2023.

WR:CB Matchup Chart

Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers

David Montgomery returns to the Lions backfield: Montgomery missed the end of Week 2 and all of Week 3 with a thigh injury.

  • Montgomery was used without limitations, returning as the Lions’ primary early-down back.
  • Jahmyr Gibbs was the primary third-down back in this game, though Montgomery still played significantly on third downs.
  • One big difference between Week 2 and this week was that the Lions offense dominated and didn’t really need a passing-down back, which meant few Gibbs receptions.
  • It’s worth noting Gibbs had 18 touches last week, so Detroit possibly wanted to limit him on a short week.
  • The first-round rookie got more involved late in the game once Montgomery surpassed the 20-carry threshold. 
  • It’s safe to put Montgomery in fantasy starting lineups going forward. It should still be relatively safe to keep Gibbs in, especially since no two Lions games have been alike this season in terms of their running back usage.

Aaron Jones starts for Green Bay: Jones had missed the last two games with a hamstring injury and was limited in practice all week.

  • Jones took the Packers' first four offensive snaps, but then he played only three more snaps over the rest of the first half.
  • Over the last two weeks, A.J. Dillon was the Packers' early-down back, and Patrick Taylor was the third-down back. Taylor wasn’t called up from the practice squad for this game, however.
  • Dillon was the primary receiving-down back without Taylor.
  • Jones played more in the first five minutes of the second half than in the entire first half, but he still didn't play as much as we expected.
  • The Packers have a lot of time off between now and Week 5 Monday Night Football, so ideally, Jones will be even healthier and play more often. 

Christian Watson makes his season debut for the Packers: Watson similarly re-joined the Packers' starting lineup but played in a limited role.

  • Watson similarly started but rotated in and out with Dontayvion Wicks throughout the game.
  • The rotation occurred regardless of personnel grouping and carried on throughout the game.
  • Wicks also remained the primary backup to Romeo Doubs.
  • Watson caught two passes for 25 yards and a touchdown.
  • Like Jones, he should be healthier with over a week and a half off. He should get more playing time in Week 5.

Monitor the health of Luke Musgrave: The Packers rookie tight end was evaluated for a concussion late in the second quarter and was ruled out by the start of the third quarter.

  • Musgrave was used similarly to how he had been used in previous weeks, playing nearly every offensive snap. He caught only one pass for 1 yard in that time.
  • Once he left the game, veteran Josiah Deguara and third-round rookie Tucker Kraft took over.
  • Deguara played more in passing situations, while Kraft played more in rushing situations.
  • Undrafted rookie Ben Sims often played with Kraft in two-tight end sets. Both Kraft and Sims pretty quickly set career-highs in offensive snaps after the injury.
  • If Musgrave misses a game, the Packers' backups should not be waiver wire targets because they split the role. If anything, fantasy managers should look for anyone cutting Musgrave and then pick him up.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Packers rookie slot receiver Jayden Reed saw a slight decrease in playing time. Samori Toure had been playing as an outside receiver with Watson out and Doubs limited, but now he’s Reed’s backup. It’s already difficult for a wide receiver who only plays in 11 personnel to be fantasy-relevant, and it will be even harder if Toure occasionally takes his spot.
  • Sam LaPorta is up to 22 receptions for 242 yards. He's also caught six contested targets and forced four missed tackles, all of which are the best for a rookie tight end in the first four weeks of the season in the PFF era.

Table Notes

Snaps include plays called back due to penalties, including offensive holding or defensive pass interference. The other three stats have these plays removed.

Targets may differ from official NFL sources. The most likely discrepancy would be from a clear thrown-away pass, where the NFL may give the target to the nearest receiver, while this data will not.

Carries are only on designed plays. Quarterback scrambles won’t count for the total number of carries in the game.


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