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This will be forever (or about 3-4 years) known as the game people 'got Gurley'd'. Many were either the victim of Todd Gurley's rampage Week 16 or the beneficiary. It makes sense, Gurley was one of the top 3 players rostered on teams in the fantasy finals Week 16…so, it was logical you either rode him to the title or faced his wrath.
I've mentioned it for several weeks now…this is a different Todd Gurley since about Week 13. His burst looks different. His agility has increased, seemingly, out of nowhere. We saw 'C+/B-' Gurley for 1.5+ seasons, just an improved O-Line and offense from 2016 to 2017 pushing his numbers. But in the last 3-4 games 'A' Todd Gurley, the jaw-dropper from Georgia, has arrived.
It's like the Rams have made a trade for an improved a weapon with this Gurley bump. The Rams defense is coming on, playing at a higher level and now they have a true stud RB to go with a top O-Line and quality QB and great head coach. If Greg Zuerlein was still there, I'd say the Rams would be the favorite for the Super Bowl…they're that good and peaking at the right time.
The Rams have won the NFC West. All they have to play for is the difference between the #3 or #4 seed in Week 17. Sean McVay has made mention that he will rest starters instead of worrying about a #3 or #4 seed. At first, I thought he was joking…but he's serious, and the more I thought about it the more sense it makes. What's more important? A long shot chance that the higher seed yields a home game over the other contender for the #3 seed, in the end, …which the Saints are likely to win this week and thus it won't matter…or they can rest their players going into a playoff game. Basically, giving themselves the benefit of a BYE week.
The BYE week is way more important. Sean McVay is a great manager. See the opposite of this with 'Doug Marrone'.
I also think the Rams are fine at the #4 seed going to Philly in the next round if they win their first-round game. I don’t think they fear the Nick Foles' led Eagles (but maybe they should).
The Rams have 99 reasons to rest and 1 reason to 'go for it' in Week 17. They are going to be smart and preserve key players.
The Titans have lost three-in-a-row and have fallen into a 'win and in, lose and out' situation Week 17. The Titans wish they were playing the resting Rams instead of the bizarrely not-resting Jaguars.
The Titans winning this week and making the playoffs will feel good for their fans but will set the franchise back another year+ as they will then be forced, in a sense, to keep Mike Mularkey…and there is no future there. The best thing that can happen for Titans' fans is a loss, firing Mularkey and getting a college coach with a spread offense background to take over and work with Marcus Mariota.
I'd bet the Titans fall short again this week and let Seattle slip into the back door…and then the Rams will really look smart at the #4 seed. They don’t want to face the Seattle team they just humiliated a few weeks ago in the first round.
I'll hit the 'what if' the Rams rest their starters Week 17 last…
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- DeMarco Murray (15-48-1, 3-11-0/4) should sue Mike Mularkey for rolling him out every week with a bad knee. The rest of the Titans team should sue Mularkey for the same…for wasting a golden opportunity by continuing to push Murray despite his terrible inefficiency all season (likely from his nagging knee injury).
Mularkey is so absolutely infatuated with Murray he's now talking about hoping he can give them some carries this week…despite a torn MCL.
You’d think there's no way Mularkey would waste time with an RB who has been awful this season and now has torn his MCL…
You don’t know Mike Mularkey.
Expect Murray to start and take 10+ carries even if can only crawl in-game.
You have to assume Derrick Henry for 20+ touches Week 17…but don’t count out Mularkey/Murray.
-- Jared Goff (22-38 for 301 yards, 4 TDs/0 INTs) was the right call for Week 16…only those who faced Gurley only traded points, at a deficit, with Gurley. Without facing Gurley, it was Goff leading many FFM'ers to a title Week 16.
One of the great moves, moments of 2017 for me as a fantasy scout…identifying the Goff uprising ahead of everyone and jumping in with both feet weekly when many denied Goff or were too afraid to push him as a QB1 in a week…when we would have him top 3-5 in a week.
This was somewhat 'the year of Goff' for me.
Goff finishes 2017 (through Week 16, and assuming he isn't playing Week 17) #4 in TD passes and #5 in QB rating in the NFL.
Last year, and all summer, everyone wrote him off.
A week before the season started, Rams 'insider' Eric Dickerson was on Colin Cowherd's show making an impassioned plea that Sean Mannion looked far superior running the offense than Goff – and to take him seriously because he attends many practices and talks with the team, etc.
My memory is going…but not for football items.
-- The Week 17 Rams 'rest' outlook…
QB: Sean Mannion is not very good, and the O-Line will rest, but the Rams have a smart offensive plan and face a shaky 49ers pass defense. I cannot really see him being more than a QB2, and no excitement that he might put up a 'wow, where did that come from?' moment.
RB: In games where the Rams have blown out opponents, Malcolm Brown (1-4-0) has been the one called upon for the workload. He has games of 11-15-10 carries since Week 7.
I would fear Justin Davis popping up, the more talented Rams RB over Brown…but Brown seems to be the one they trust right now. Davis last had a touch in November.
WR: Josh Reynolds (0-0-0/1) and Michael Thomas will probably start at WR, and Reynolds becomes a Week 17 sleeper for those that are desperate. Pharoh Cooper will probably rest a bunch because he's such a return threat/key for the Rams.
TE: Rookie Gerald Everett is for sure a sleeper as a guy who might play the entire game, but with no real QB working with him…not likely to have a 'pop' game.
DST: The Rams have depth but it's a definite fall off from the starting group in the secondary. I wouldn’t trust the Rams, especially not against J-Franchise. I would trust Marquise Goodwin.