*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
This game was 20-3 Rams comfortably at one point. Over the final quarter and a half, the Rams just tried coast to the win. With 3+ minutes left in the 3rd quarter, a tipped pass ricocheted off Josh Reynolds’ face mask and flipped into the air for an interception…setting the Broncos up in great position for a score, and they cashed in to cut the lead to 20-10. The Broncos later added an FG to make it a one score deficit for them -- 20-13 Rams. The Rams answered with a 5+ minute final drive capped with an FG to go up 23-13 with 3+ minutes left. The Broncos scored late against a prevent-ish defense to make it a 23-20 final…but it really wasn’t that close. The Rams were clearly the better team and they meandered their way to the win.
The Rams are now 6-0, but they’ve won their last two games by 2 and 3 points. They’re letting bad/average teams stay in games. The Rams are clearly better than their opponents in every game…they just don’t seem to have that full killer instinct. They play like they know they’re going to win. Any time they’ve been down, or the score tightens, they just rise up on offense and go on a long scoring drive…or their defense makes a big stand. They’re bordering confidence and lazy arrogance. It’s going to cost them a game or two ahead. They’ll still finish 13-14-15 wins and a #1 seed and have the NFC West locked early.
Denver is cratering…losers of four in a row. They’re lucky not to be 0-6 right now, but 2-4 seems about right. They are a 3-3 potential team coached downward. If they lose this week, it’s over Vance Joseph for sure because they may lose four or five of their next 5 games after that. 5-6 wins is our projection at this stage for their finish.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Robert Woods (7-109-0/10) since Week 2: 6.6 rec. (8.5 targets), 97.4 yards, 0.60 TDs per game.
He’s currently the #10 PPR WR YTD in scoring per game…#6-7 based on the last five weeks. He’s a WR1. No question. WR2 worst weeks.
-- In that same vein, the WR running #3 in scoring on the Rams is Brandin Cooks (2-53-0/6). The more I thought about this game/moment, the more I realized I should’ve named Cooks our #1 ‘buy low’ of the week.
People (the masses) entered the season disrespecting Cooks in redraft/status in general, because they didn’t respect Jared Goff, the Rams, or Cooks. The past two weeks of low Cooks results called up those old ghosts…two weeks ago, he left the game with a concussion and gave a zero. This game…2-53-0/6, but there were near misses, Chris Harris covering, cold weather, the Rams just running down Denver’s throat vs. passing in the weather.
Weeks 1-4, Cooks averaged 6.5 rec., 113.0 yards, 0.25 TDs per game…which was top 10 PPR scoring among WRs.
Need to revitalize a 1-5/2-4 team? Need to take another step as a 4-2/5-1 team, and everything in-between? Mahomes-Hill-(Kelce) is great but assembling Goff-Woods-Cooks is the much cheaper Holy Trinity West Coast version.
Sellout for Brandin Cooks this week if you can use him as a starter. Hill-Woods-Cooks is a lot of my WR trios in fantasy right now, and that’s three top 10 WRs.
-- Cooper Kupp (0-0-0/1) getting hurt isn’t a huge affect on Woods-Cooks, it probably means even more targets for them…and Goff is great, and Kupp was getting the lesser coverage as it was. Woods-Cooks are mostly unfazed.
Josh Reynolds (1-0-0/2) has looked like nothing in 4.5 quarters of play in place of injured Kupp the last two games. He’s a dart throw that he feeds off the scraps as teams try to stop Woods-Cooks.
Gerald Everett (2-24-0/4) I would have liked seen step up, and he has had a small uptick but there’s just ‘no there there’. He’s not really that good.
-- This was the first small step where I’ve seen Phillip Lindsay (4-18-0, 6-48-0/7) start to get used like he should, like a very poor man’s Alvin Kamara. I’m interested in the Kamara version of Lindsay, not lead dog runner Lindsay…which he never should be. 1.0 catches per game Lindsay’s first three games, 3.7 catches per game his last three. Get ready for a better PPR Lindsay, I hope.
Royce Freeman (9-22-0) should be the lead runner taking 15+ carries a game, and I think that’s coming…but what does it matter (for FF) if he takes 15+ carries with a bad, injured O-Line with a weak QB and Lindsay wandering around taking some touches and all the PPR work? Freeman is a 2019 story more than a 2018 one. I think he’ll tick up this season but not enough to matter for most of us holding on to hope. The situation is just not that juicy for numbers despite Freeman’s talents.
Hopefully, he can breakthrough, but it looks limited on upside.
-- Jared Goff (14-28 for 201 yards, 0 TD/1 INT) had bad fantasy numbers here, but this was his same old game…get the team into scoring position constantly. He had shots at 2-3 TD passes in this game but they’re content to let Gurley take the cheap ones. Then, in addition, Denver cannot stop the run so with the cold and that run defense…Gurley ran 28 times.
Great time to buy Goff low because THEY don’t believe.
-- Rookie DE Bradley Chubb (5 tackles, 3 sacks) had a bit of a breakout game. 4.5 sacks in 6 games so far this season.
-- Just note: if Denver loses the next two games and are officially ‘out of it’, I believe Demaryius Thomas will get traded and that will propel Courtland Sutton’s value to a WR2 for 2018.
-- Side note ‘gamble’: In two weeks, if the Rams do not add an RB for any reason…Malcolm Brown (5-24-0) as the ‘handcuff’ to Todd Gurley could be interesting as a stash on the off chance something happens to Gurley. Brown would be ‘the guy’.
-- The Rams DST has the flashy ‘name’ appeal, but they’ve been dwindling since they lost Aqib Talib. They’ve allowed 20 or more points in their last 4 games. Rodgers-Brees-Wilson-Mahomes-BYE-Stafford-Trubisky-Wentz from Weeks 8-15. After this week with SF, I’d bail.
Snap Counts of Interest…
56 = Sanders
48 = Demaryius Thomas
35 = Sutton
25 = Freeman
22 = Booker
20 = Lindsay
72 = Woods
68 = Cooks
46 = Reynolds
28 = Kupp
55 = Higbee
21 = Everett