The Detroit Lions have gone from having one of the league’s top rushing attacks to a team possibly in a desperate search for someone to carry the ball this week.
This leads to the question of whether you should add seldom-used Devine Ozigbo from the fantasy football waiver wire for this week’s game vs. the Ravens in Baltimore.
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Should Devin Ozigbo Be a Fantasy Waiver Wire Add in Week 7?
First, it was rookie Jahmyr Gibbs going down with injured ribs that forced him out of the lineup in Weeks 5 and 6. He has been limited in practice this week and his status for Sunday is up in the air.
Then, David Montgomery, the Lions’ leading rusher, was knocked out of last week’s win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with an injury to his ribs. Montgomery is not expected to be available for Sunday’s game against the Ravens.
Now, it’s Craig Reynolds, the team’s third-leading rusher, who has been dealing with a hamstring issue this week.
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So the Lions, who rank top 10 in the NFL in both rushing offense (124.2 YPG) and rushing touchdowns (nine), are suddenly unsure who will carry the ball in Baltimore.
If all three cannot go versus the Ravens, the question will probably be answered as to whether it’s the players or the system that makes up the Lions’ prolific rushing attack. Detroit also will likely have a veteran running back, though rarely used, in Ozigbo available for this matchup.
So, given the uncertain running back situation in Detroit, should fantasy managers consider picking up Ozigbo off the waiver wire and putting him in the lineup this week? The question is not as far-fetched as it may appear.
For starters, someone will have to carry the ball for Detroit in this game. The Lions are fourth in the NFL in rush attempts (187), so using the running game is a key part of their success on offense, no matter which back is getting the carries.
Consider that last week, after Montgomery left the game with his injury, and with the Lions already without Gibbs, Reynolds stepped in and carried the ball 10 times — albeit for only 15 yards. Reynolds entered the game with just 14 rush attempts in five games all season.
Assuming all three are out this weekend, or at least limited, the door will be open for a player like Ozigbo to get a chance.
Now, the theory does exist that the Lions could just let quarterback Jared Goff air it out more on Sunday. Goff is having a solid season so far, completing nearly 70% of his passes (69.5%) for 11 TD passes and just three interceptions.
But a closer look at the numbers reveals that having Goff pass the ball more isn’t necessarily an advantage for the Lions. Since 2021 with Goff at quarterback, the Lions are 11-4-1 in games in which Goff has fewer than 35 pass attempts, and they are just 6-15 when he throws the ball 35 times or more.
Last week against the Buccaneers, Detroit’s running game likely felt the effects of all its injuries, as it finished with season lows in rush attempts (22), rush yards (40), and yards per carry (1.8). The Lions were also held without a rushing touchdown for the first time all season.
And with Ozigbo, you have an element of the unknown, as he has carried the ball all of 17 times for 34 yards in his NFL career. He has yet to score a touchdown in his career.
So, because of their dependence on their rushing offense, the Lions may be forced to give Ozigbo some carries this week. But if last week proved anything, the idea that Detroit can just plug any running back in the backfield and be successful is not an accurate plan of attack.
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