Mike Fanelli | October 3rd, 2019
Last week’s Thursday night game was a good one, with the Eagles defeating the Packers 34-27 thanks to a tipped Aaron Rodgers pass that turned into the game ending interception. After the first few Thursday night games which being boring, we get another great matchup as the Los Angeles Rams travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks.
Hopefully, you guys bought low on Davante Adams before last week’s game as I suggested. The window may still be opened if the current owner is worried about Adam’s toe injury. For last week’s game, I was on point with suggesting to start both quarterbacks as Rodgers scored 25.4 fantasy points and Carson Wentz scored 19.7 but I wasn’t right about much else. I clearly didn’t read my crystal ball correctly as Jordan Howard scored a career-high 32.5 PPR fantasy points last week.
Jimmy Graham, if by some chance you read this, I’m sorry, you’re not a bum and this is where you insert the Happy Gilmore apology meme of me saying how dumb I am. Ironically, I actually like Graham with week against the Cowboys assuming Adams doesn’t play. Last week is in the past so let’s take a look at tonight’s game.
General Fantasy Preview
Much like last week’s game, tonight’s contest could end up in a shootout as both of last year’s meetings ended up with the total score in the 60s. The Rams won both games last year but are currently 1.5 point underdogs in most betting spots. Jared Goff is starting to concern me. His four turnover outing against the Buccaneers is a big red flag and hopefully, he plays better tonight. Meanwhile, Russell Wilson has been very consistent, scoring 16.5 or more fantasy points in three of four games this season.
Adams was my must start of the game last week and this week I’m going to go with another wide receiver. Cooper Kupp is the WR2 through the first quarter of the season, averaging 22.3 PPR fantasy points per game. He has scored at least 17.6 fantasy points in three straight weeks and had totaled 20 catches for 222 yards and three touchdowns over the last two games. While the Seahawks have given up just one touchdown to opposing wide receivers since week one, I think it’s safe to say Kupp scores at least once tonight.
While Kupp is the only must start for tonight’s game, I would feel comfortable starting Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, and Tyler Lockett. You probably have to start them given where you drafted them but if you have better options, bench them. While Rams’ cornerback Marcus Peters fully took part in practice this week and should be good to go tonight and I would still start Lockett over Cooks or Woods. If you have a specific start/sit question feel free to ask.
Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks
Despite leading a run first team, Wilson is currently the QB3 on the season, averaging 24.1 fantasy points per game. In the two games verse the Rams last year, Wilson averaged 23.1 fantasy points per game. While the Rams rank as the ninth-best team against opposing quarterbacks, they have faced an injured Cam Newton, mostly Teddy Bridgewater and Baker Mayfield. No offense to any of them but they totaled 25.2 fantasy points verse the Rams. However, last week the Rams got destroyed by Jameis Winston, who threw four touchdown passes and scored 29.3 fantasy points. Wilson is the best quarterback the Rams will face this year and given their performance last weekend, fantasy owners should feel more than happy to start Wilson. He offers top-five upside this week.
Todd Gurley, RB, Rams
Sadly the fantasy and football world will probably never see the old Gurley again. However, after getting just five carries (12 total touches) against the Buccaneers, I expect Sean McVay to give Gurley more rushes in this critical divisional game, especially after Gurley expressed his frustration over his touches to the media earlier this week. The Seahawks give up about the league average in fantasy points to opposing running backs but over the last two weeks, they have given up 62.9 fantasy points to running backs. That is 8.7 more per game than the league average. Given how badly Goff struggled with throwing 68 passes last week, McVay knows he needs to get Gurley going or risk falling behind in the competitive NFC West division race.
This backfield has been messy, to put it mildly. Carson has fumbled three times in four games and was even benched for C.J. Prosise in the Saints game for fumbling. Meanwhile, Penny has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury but will play tonight. The Rams give up a little more fantasy points than the league average to opposing running backs, but that number doesn’t tell the full truth.
If you remove the game against the Saints where Drew Brees got hurt and the Saints offense had to adjust mid-game, the Rams give up an average of 31.3 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, 8.5 more than the league average. Furthermore, the Rams gave up two touchdowns and 27.7 fantasy points to the Buccaneers’ running backs last week. In standard size leagues, I would play Carson and bench Penny but if you are in a 14 plus team league, Penny offers flex value given the matchup and the team’s desire to run the ball.
Jared Goff, QB, Rams
Ironically despite his four turnovers verse the Buccaneers, Goff scored a season-high 20.6 fantasy points, mostly because of his career-high 517 passing yards. However, you might expect that when he threw the ball 68 times. Of his 173 pass attempts this season, 39.3% of them come from Sunday’s game. Needless to say, Goff never should and hopefully never will throw that many times in a game again, and against the Seahawks the Rams better not let him. Over his last four games against the Seahawks, Goff is average just 13.5 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, in the two games in Seattle, he averaged 12.6 fantasy points per game.
In addition to the bad history in Seattle, the Seahawks have given up just six passing touchdowns this season and have held opposing quarterbacks under 250 yards passing in three straight games. There is almost no reason why Goff should be in your starting lineup this week. If you need a quarterback off the waiver wire, you can find some potential options here.
D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seahawks
After his week one performance with four catches for 89 yards and 12.9 fantasy points, Metcalf has struggled. While he scored a career-high 15.1 fantasy points in week two, he has scored just 10.3 in total over the last two weeks. More importantly, Metcalf’s targets have decreased in three straight weeks, getting a season-low four last week despite facing a horrible Cardinals secondary. He scored just 1.6 fantasy points. Furthermore, Metcalf has caught six of his last 17 targets, just 35.3%. Before last week’s shootout with the Buccaneers, the Rams have held opposing wide receivers to an average of 24.9 fantasy points per game (10 less than the league average) and zero touchdowns. While I feel comfortable starting Lockett, no way on earth do I feel good starting Metcalf.
Of the two I would feel better playing the Seahawks only because Goff could have a multiple turnover game. However, if I am streaming D/STs (which all fantasy owners should do), I would avoid both in this game. The Rams D/ST is averaging seven fantasy points per game, however, despite getting eight fantasy points for a pick-six last week, they scored zero fantasy points verse the Buccaneers. Meanwhile, the Seahawks D/ST isn’t anywhere near the same unit once led by Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman. Before last week where they scored 15 fantasy points against a struggling Cardinals offense, they were averaging 5.7 fantasy points per game. D/STs I would play over both of these that are available in 50% or more of ESPN leagues include the Panthers and 49ers.
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