Thursday Night Football 2023, Week Four Absurdity Check

After a week off because I was at last week’s Thursday Night Football, the TNF Absurdity Check is back! Last week’s real absurdity was the stadium prices, am I right? This week, we take a look at the Detroit & Green Bay TNF tilt, but in reality, there’s one thing that has fantasy football circles getting ALL UP IN THEIR FEELINGS, as the kids say, and if you’re up on The Discourse, then you know exactly where this is going:

Are the Lions Wasting Jahmyr Gibbs?

No! And stop complaining about him because your fantasy teams are taking a hit with David Montgomery being the main back and Gibbs being the change-of-pace back. Almost like they’re the Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift of this offense, the exact thing we figured would happen all offseason. But, please take some perspective on Jahmyr Gibbs, here. The Lions are not stupid, we’ve learned this. They have built a roster that cruised to a victory against the only other team in the NFC North with victories so far this year and are 3-1 while barely losing in OT to the Seahawks. Yet, fantasy Twitter is tearing itself asunder complaining that Dan Campbell and the Lions are wasting Jahymr Gibbs.

First and foremost, it’s four games into the season, so it’s time to calm down a little bit. Through those first four games, Gibbs has 53 touches, which is just over 13 per game. While that doesn’t look like a ton, pro-rating that out to 17 games put him at 225 touches for the year, which would have landed him 24th in touches last season. The 53 touches over his first four games aren’t ideal, but it also isn’t the end of the world. Breece Hall had 53 touches in his first four games, as did Christian McCaffrey.

But it’s neither of those players that make me feel okay about Jahmyr Gibbs. Gibbs was the best pass-catching back that I’ve seen come out of college in the last half-decade, and I would put him on par with guys like Alvin Kamara and CMC as pass-catchers. Gibbs actually reminds me a ton of a skinny Alvin Kamara, and that was my comparison for him in the draft. Alvin Kamara had 43 touches in his first four games in the NFL in 2017 and went on to finish as RB3 that season.

Granted, that includes a game where Montgomery didn’t play, but he’s still getting decent opportunities. The problem with Jahmyr Gibbs isn’t that the Lions have a plan for him, and it’s to bring him along while using David Montgomery as much as possible while they’re playing from ahead while trying to run out the clock to secure victories. The two Lions’ nationally-televised games fit into this category, both this one and the season opener, and in both these games, the Lions barely let Jahmyr Gibbs touch the ball.

But, a funny thing happened when nobody was looking: the Seahawks and the Lions played a slobber knocker, a game that ended 31-37 in overtime. In that game, Gibbs played his highest snap share among games without David Montgomery (48%), and he had nine targets. So, the Lions want to use David Montgomery to soak up touches and snaps and hits while the Lions are holding leads, and they want to use Jahmyr Gibbs in situations where they need to get some action going in the offense.

The Lions aren’t wasting Jahmyr Gibbs, they’re not wasting him by letting David Montgomery take the low-leverage touches. But, he has as many touches as Christian McCaffrey & Breece Hall had in their first four games, and more touches than Alvin Kamara had in his four games. He will be fine, go trade for him from a panicking manager.

Think about it this way: if you have a Ferrari and a Civic, wouldn’t it make more sense to take the Civic to take your muddy dog home?

About Jeff Krisko

You can follow me on twitter, @jeffkrisko for the same lukewarm takes you read here.

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