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Welcome to Week 12 of the 2021 Footballguys Roundtable. Our intrepid and oddball panel of fantasy pundits discusses the slate of Thanksgiving Day games and college football rivalry weekend.
Bears at Lions
Matt Waldman: Answer one of the questions below.
- Which will be greater? Roquan Smith tackles or D'Andre Swift receptions?
- Who will be the most surprisingly productive Bear and Lion for fantasy this week, IDP included?
- What will you be cooking and/or eating when this game is on?
Give us the low-down.
Dave Kluge: No disrespect or ill will is implied here, but Smith will almost assuredly have more tackles than Swift has receptions on Thursday. On the year, Smith’s totaled an obscene 110 tackles through 10 games, tied for third-most in the league. Although Swift’s pass-catching abilities are objectively very good, he’s had 53 receptions in 10 games. Impressive, yes. But he’s averaging less than half as many receptions as Smith averages in tackles.
Jordan McNamara: I'm with Dave on this and think Roquan Smith will record more tackles than Swift's receptions. Over the past two weeks, Swift has the second most carries in the league (47) and only 6 receptions, in what appears to be a concerted effort to change to a more run-centric offensive approach with input from Head Coach Dan Campbell. With a lot of rushing attempts from Swift, there will be a high supply of Roquan Smith tackles.
Also, Los Angeles’ pass rate over expectation was higher than their previous four-game sample (9.0% vs. 5.0%). Beckham just needs time to get integrated into the offense. His early involvement was a positive sign, but he needs to get in rhythm with Matthew Stafford. Timing and synchronicity defined his early-season success with Cooper Kupp. They’ll need to use the bye week for Beckham to start producing and get the Rams’ offense back on track.
Dan Hindery: I am going to follow Dave here, which is not surprising since he is our resident Bears expert. First, he is correct in noting that the weekly average for Smith’s tackles per game (10.5) is twice Swift’s number of receptions per game (5.3). It does not help Swift that he will be matched up against Smith in coverage because Smith is a top coverage linebacker.
Scott Bischoff: As others have said, the answer is Smith. Swift is a very talented pass-catching back, and he is currently the Lions' offense from a practical standpoint. Tight end T.J. Hockenson is talented, but the Lions are having a hard time consistently getting him the ball. Smith is tasked to stop the run, and he will be dropping into coverage to make plays near the line of scrimmage. The Lions' passing attack is not challenging defenses down the field. Instead, they are settling on short throws to minimize risk and move the chains. Smith may have a monster game from a tackle outlook. Also, the game script here looks favorable for a slow, grind-it-out affair which helps Smith and could reduce the need for the Lions to play catch up, throwing screen passes to Swift to mitigate pressure.
Drew Davenport: I can't disagree with anything my colleagues have said about Smith and Swift. I would split hairs with Dave and say that he's had 67 tackles and 42 assists, so Matt if you are talking solo tackles it is a much closer call. However, even at 6.7 solo tackles a game it would be a tough task for Swift to hit 7 receptions, a total he's only hit 3 times this year. I'm with everyone else that the bet should be on Smith for this one.
Waldman: And yes, Drew, that is something I should have clarified — solo tackles was the data point. I'll also note that what led me to ask this question is that Swift's three games with at least 7 tackles were close affairs against San Francisco, Baltimore, and the Rams. I'm anticipating that Andy Dalton starting and the recent operational mess with the rumors over Matt Nagy's firing could create some real issues for this Bears' offense.
In the last game against Detroit, Smith had 8 solo tackles — one of them on a Swift reception and only three tackles on pass receptions overall. In fact, Smith was used to rush the passer and cover T.J. Hockenson. If this game follows suit, I could see Swift targeted away on the opposite side of the field and often enough that he has a shot. Swift had four receptions in the last game. We'll see if he earns more in this contest.
While I agree that Smith is the easy favorite for this question, if Swift has a high-reception game I think he'll outpace Smith, who only had three tackles in the last game
Mark Schofield: I will wholeheartedly endorse the Smith recommendations regardless of solo or solo and assisted tackles as the data point. Smith is finally growing into the kind of player the Chicago Bears envisioned when drafting him a few years ago, and he is coming off his best game of the season, where he notched 13 solo tackles and 17 combined tackles, both of which stand as season-high marks. Swift might see a lot of targets, but he is not going to see those kinds of numbers.
Waldman: What are your thoughts on the rest of the game-related questions?
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