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Well, I got to see the best team in the NFL on Monday night! No, not the New York Jets…the Los Angeles Rams! It’s not even close. Ignore Faux 2.0 computer simulation change to Saints over the Rams to win the Super Bowl. Stick with Faux 1.0 – the Rams win it all. Unless, Jared Goff or Todd Gurley get hurt, then go back to Faux 2.0…
The Rams are the best team in the NFL at full strength. They have the best defense, a re-do of Wade Phillips’s Denver group from a couple of years ago. The best offense in the league, by far – the Rams will score 30+ every week. They also have top special teams play. Only injury stops the Rams from winning the Super Bowl. If the Rams stay healthy, they might be the first undefeated team running right through to the Super Bowl win in the 16-game regular season era.
The Rams are as close to a perfect football team as you can get – a perfect starting 22 + coaching staff. The depth is their problem…but it may never be a problem this year, hopefully.
Take nothing away from the Raiders. They end up looking silly here – a 20-point loss at home with Derek Carr looking like he bet on the Rams in the 2nd-half. This was more a story of the Rams being near-perfect.
The Raiders looked good –they looked like that motivated team that I lost my mind over Week 1 of the preseason; they just ran into a buzzsaw. Take Oakland and the points right now over Denver Week 2 before the line adjusts…it’s Raiders +6.0 as of this typing. Might best bet of the year territory. More on this in the Handicapping Chat on this game this week.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- First off, I have to say…watching Jared Goff (18-23 for 233 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT) work in this game was a pure treat. He is our new age Tom Brady. The comedy of that is – two games were played Monday night and the mainstream media is spending all of its time worshipping Sam Darnold for his check down, noodle-armed performance against the worst team in the NFL…and they won’t even acknowledge the brilliance of Jared Goff.
Goff isn’t full-scale Brady, yet. He’s just on his way. He’s in such command of what is going on around him. He threw for only 233 yards…but he had another 100+ gained in pass interferences on big shots downfield that defenders had to pull a P.I. on. Goff is an ‘A’ QB on the best offense in the NFL with the best offensive-mind at head coach the NFL has ever seen. Buy in, all-in.
If you’re worried about your QB situation… Jimmy Garoppolo scared you as does his lack of a run game and inability to pop in the red zone or Mitchell Trubisky hasn’t flipped the switch yet or Dak has no weapons and a bad coach and Patrick Mahomes is an acquirable deity you didn’t trust me on to get before – if you want a sure top 3-5 fantasy QB in 6pts per pass TD, the best bargain in all of fantasy at any position is Jared Goff. He is a 9 of 10 value/talent QB in 6pts per pass TD league and he’s valued at a 5-6 because the media has been trashing him all along. Acquire him for QB2 pricing.
TAKE ADVANTAGE of this moment. Goff had a game/stat line that didn’t pop…which just feeds that he’s ‘boring’. He nearly had 300+ yards easy in this game if not for the P.I.s and a well-played game by Oakland keeping possession longer. The #1 ‘buy low’ in fantasy football after Week 1. Trust me.
Oh, and Derek Carr (29-40 for 303 yards, 0 TD/3 INTs) – don’t punish him too hard for getting smoked by the Rams. I mean, I’m not a big Carr guy…but give him a little break. Give credit to the Rams some.
-- Most of the Rams/Goff P.I. activity was around Brandin Cooks (5-87-0/8), per usual. A 100+ yard game, maybe a 150+ yard game taken away by P.I.s. He was used as expected. All good on Cooks.
Robert Woods (3-37-0/9) had good targets too, just missed on a few. Exactly how I suspected he’d be used. He’s going to be a WR2-2.5 all year.
Cooper Kupp (5-52-01/9) battled drops again. He’s the third wheel Goff will use if there’s too much emphasis on Cooks-Woods. He’s a WR3 this year with WR2 moments.
-- Everyone is going to sell on the Raiders’ WRs but hold on…hold onto the right one.
If you judge this game from the Raiders perspective without giving reverential deference to the Rams defense…then you’re going to miss a lot of interpretations. The Rams have, arguably, the best CB duo in the NFL…better than the Jags, or on-par with. They shutdown the Raiders WRs as expected.
Don’t judge Jordy Nelson (3-23-0/4) by this game. He’s clearly the Raiders #1 WR with no competition. When the matchup loosens up, it’s going to be Jordy as the runaway #1 for Derek Carr.
The reason I’m so sure on Jordy is the same reason why I wanted you selling everything Amari Cooper (1-9-0/3). How many more duds will this guy put up before people realize something is really, really wrong? Again, he was going to get squashed by the Rams’ CB-duo, so no shame there. It’s just the same guy not that important to the offense from 2017…already showing it in 2018.
The CB duo is what lit Jared Cook (9-180-0/12). No harm in pursuing Cook off waivers if he’s out there. This bad WR group gives Cook opportunity but Cook does this all the time…and next week will be 2-17-0/3. This was as much about how to try to attack the Rams as anything else, but Cook looked motivated and strong. Impressive.
-- The Rams run defense was stronger than I expected. Additionally, once the Rams started opening the flood gates the Raiders changed game plans. With all that said, you saw Jon Gruden is all-in on Marshawn Lynch (11-41-1, 2-8-0/2) because he loves smashmouth football. He’s going to have better days ahead/more touches in game – like 20+.
Jalen Richard (5-24-0, 9-55-0/11) was the ‘panic, we’re losing’ RB in the all-pass comeback attempted. He was not a primary plan, he was just the RB for the what you do down three scores to the Rams RB.
Doug Martin (4-20-0, 2-0-0/2) was a non-factor.
-- Totally impressed with Rams ILB Cory Littleton (13 tackles, 1 PD). He was flying around to the ball like a maniac. 100+ tackles easy this year.
OLB Samson Ebukam (4 tackles, 3 TFLs) was stellar too, really moved around well.
The one weakness the Rams all-star defense was supposed to have was the linebackers. Guess what? They have great LB talent now as well. 19-0, here we come.
-- Don’t sleep on the Raiders-DST. I thought they played a very inspired game…they were just against the friendly Death Star. They are a real sleeper ahead – Keenum, Tannehill, Tyrod the next three weeks. I kinda like it in a deep sleeper way.
One of the reasons to like this Raiders defense – free agent grab Rashaan Melvin (4 tackles, 1 PD) was really nice here. He’s a very sound #1 CB. He’s going to help tighten up this bad pass D from 2017.
Snap Counts of Note:
37 = Richard
27 = Lynch
10 = Martin
32 = P.J. Hall
32 = Arden Key
07 = Karl Joseph
00 = Erik Harris
61 = Cooks-Woods-Kupp
60 = Higbee
05 = Everett