I’m not sure why Vegas set this line at just -3.0 for the 49ers. The Rams preannounced they were resting all their players for this game. The 49ers were coming into this game white hot with Jimmy Garoppolo as their starting QB…how could San Fran not win by 20+? Thus the 34-13 cruise here.
The Rams still took the #3 seed and stare down Matt Ryan-Case Keenum-Nick Foles as their likely path to the Super Bowl. Those who put a couple bucks on the Rams to win the Super Bowl at various points this year because of our 2017 LAR-euphoria…you might be getting an extra payday here.
Next year’s Rams’ story is going to be the placed on the 49ers, but unlike the Rams that no one saw coming in the preseason or halfway through the regular season (except for us)…everyone is going to be on the 49ers starting today. San Francisco is going to be the darling sleeper team of 2018 – and many will pick them to win the NFC West over the Rams, because the media still dislikes Jared Goff and wants him to fail…they’ve warmed-up to/adopted Jimmy Garoppolo because he used to play for Bill Belichick (despite mocking him when the Pats picked him) and THEY love Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch. The media will push the 49ers, because it’s chic to do, and also their beloved sinking ship Seattle Seahawks for the NFC West title in 2018…you watch.
My early look at the 2018 schedule…
Rams 11-12 wins
49ers 8-9 wins (road games: SEA, LAR, GB, MIN, KC, LAC…whereas the Rams drew OAK-DEN as their road games from the AFC West, DET, CHI from the NFC North)
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- The early fantasy rankings on Jimmy Garoppolo (20-33 for 292 yards, 2 TDs/2 INTs) for 2018 are trickling out and they are comical. Because no one in the mainstream saw Garoppolo coming on like this, or was willing to commit to it when the signs started to appear…they are being cautious. Theya re tickled by Jimmy-mania, but not enough to commit to him.
For early 2018 rankings, I see Garoppolo ranked behind Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Carson Wentz, DeShaun Watson, Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins…and usually, but not always, behind Jared Goff, Drew Brees and/or Andrew Luck or Derek Carr. Jimmy G. is rated about #8-10 among QBs for the future. Some experts still prefer a Jameis Winston option. This ‘lower’ ranking despite all the Jimmy hysteria to end the season.
I’m not sure why Carson Wentz’s and DeShaun Watson’s 2017 spikes are 10x more intriguing to the mainstream than what Garoppolo just did…but I thank them for it. It’s going to create excellent value this offseason for those still trying to get in on J-Franchise.
Garoppolo is a top 3-5 fantasy QB threat for 2018+, but dynasty trades closer to a top 8-10…and that doesn’t seem like a lot of difference but if people don’t think he can be a top 3 kinda guy, then they might as well roll cheap with aging Big Ben (if he’s still playing) or Brady or Brees or whomever to get by.
Being thought of as a top 10 fantasy QB is a wasteland anymore…too many good QBs clumped together, why pay heavy for one? But if the QB can be seen as a top 3 scorer, or even a #1 guy…that’s worth chasing. We got a million ‘useful’ QBs to work with in fantasy…and rare few ‘could be top guys’ options – Garoppolo with his Patriots graduate school education, in the San Francisco situation with Kyle Shanahan…he is one of those ‘top guys’ potentially.
-- Who will Garoppolo make a fantasy star at WR in 2018?
Right now, we have Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin (2-28-1/4, 1-01-0/1), and Trent Taylor (2-29-0/2) as the given options. Will the 49ers chase a big name WR in the draft or free agency to add in? I don’t think so. I believe the 49ers see Garoppolo as a magician, and another year working with a veteran Garcon and the Goodwin-Taylor emergence…it’s good enough 2018 strategic planning in the face of needing an O-Line overhaul to protect him and the need for an entire defensive secondary overhaul. If the 49ers want to take JG to the next level – they will draft and sign O-Linemen with priority.
Garcon would then have appeal as the savvy, go-to veteran. We look at him and fear ‘old’ but Garcon has some Larry Fitzgerald-type appeal…aging, but knows what he’s doing and is still in great shape. I’m not saying he’s as good as Fitz…just a similar ‘don’t write off the old WR’ reminder for 2018.
Goodwin seems like Jimmy’s ‘top guy’ now but that’s just ‘of the moment’. JG had little other choices…and no Garcon. Goodwin is not built to be a #1…he’s a #2 at-best or Ted Ginn-like ‘stretch the field’ guy – an erratic, exciting, maddening WR3 for fantasy.
Trent Taylor is the one I am most excited about. I don’t need to chase fantasy WR3s because there are a million of them every other week. Rare is the situation that Taylor finds himself in – the possible perfect ‘Welker/Edelman’ for Tom Brady-trained Jimmy Franchise. They didn’t draft Taylor to return punts and be a #4 WR. If chocolate meets peanut butter with JG and TT…we got PPR magic that will ensue – like a 6-8 catches for 50-70 yards per game kinda WR2 with upside…trading as a WR4 or worse this offseason.
I’d like to be more excited about Trent 2018…but there was no Garoppolo-to-Taylor developing at all in Jimmy’s late-season run. However, I think it is something that needs a full year of development to happen.
If the 49ers do something at WR that changes the game…it would be trying to replace Garcon…or upgrade to a steadier hand #2 WR over Goodwin. Taylor has a role/style carved out that is hard to replicate. The question is – will JG/the 49ers activate it?
-- Another ‘winner’ in the JG sweepstakes is George Kittle (4-100-0/6). A solid TE prospect with athletic upside…but now gets an elite QB to work with, boosting his FF-potential.
This past draft class may be an aberration in spawning top fantasy TEs…or just the start of the onslaught of similar guys. I won’t know until I study the 2018 draft class. For now…Evan Engram is a potential TE-god. O.J. Howard is not far behind. George Kittle is the current best value of the bunch…and not far off Howard’s output potential.
Kittle doesn’t seem as sexy, but…
6’5.5”/250, 4.51 40-time, 30.0” vertical, 6.85 three-cone = O.J. Howard
6’3.6”/247, 4.52 40-time, 35.0” vertical, 7.00 three-cone = Kittle
Kittle is below Engram-Howard as a talent, but not way off…and Garoppolo’s arrival helps close the gap even more.
-- Carlos Hyde (15-90-2, 2-10-0/4) now hits free agency. I can tell you this – Matt Breida (12-72-0, 1-32-0/2) is not taking over if Hyde leaves. Breida is a cute change of pace option, nice for a screen pass or two – but not a legit threat as a starting NFL RB.
-- Boy, Josh Reynolds (2-16-0/6) really disappointed at the end of the season. When Robert Woods went down, and Reynolds pushed into the starting lineup…Reynolds was mostly ignored not utilized. He was an afterthought in the offense as a starter…which makes sense given what the Rams already had, but still you’d have like to have seen more spark.
In this game, Reynolds got a chance as the ‘top guy’ working with weak Sean Mannion…and ‘bleh’. I still like Reynolds as a team’s #2 WR in the future…but we may be talking 2019 or so here.
-- Speaking of ‘bleh’…I feared Gerald Everett (3-16-0/6) was not the right profile for McVay’s ‘Jordan Reed’ alike creation. I don’t think Everett has the ‘it’ factor. Not a high-end athlete, but athletic for a TE, and has tiny hands.
If the Rams don’t address the Reed-alike situation this offseason, then I’d keep an eye on Everett getting a push still. However, I have a funny feeling Trey Burton is going to land in L.A. and further turbocharge this offense.
-- Rams CB Kevin Peterson (8 tackles, 5 PDs, 2 INTs) got an extended Week 17 look…and had a helluva statistical game.
Peterson is ‘OK’, not a guy I think this signals an IDP turn higher on. He’s 5’10”/180, runs a 4.58 40-time, with a decent 6.94 three-cone. He’s been bouncing around the NFL streets since hitting the league as a 2016 UDFA. He’s found a home with Rams it looks like but I’m not sensing any IDP sleeper here yet.
Where I was right and wrong on these teams this season…
RIGHT = I told you Jimmy Garoppolo had the markers of greatness years ago in our CFM scouting…and never stopped believing. All these years of discussion with him lost as a Brady backup…now, we finally got to put this scouting to use. So many of you jumped on this right away after the SF trade happened. Your move may be dynasty defining for years to come.
WRONG = I thought the 49ers’ future was suspect and that GM John Lynch was an empty suit…and I still kinda think that but it won’t matter now. Bill Belichick handed Kyle Shanahan a parting gift with Garoppolo and now everything changes. Geniuses have been made in San Francisco…and it’s Garoppolo’s fault.
RIGHT = I was getting worried about Jared Goff after 2016, not as much as the media that had written him off…but I worried that the media pressure would force issues here…a short leash maybe. Goff launched into greatness year two and our scouting was validated…and fortunately we saw it about 3-7 weeks ahead of anyone else this fantasy season, so we could get back on the train in time.
WRONG = I moved Todd Gurley for David Johnson in some places preseason 2017, and a week or two into the season…a willful sell-high on Gurley, and obviously that didn’t play out like I thought. If I had a full DJ in 2017 (or if he just got back around Week 10), I’d be fine…but not only did DJ go down and out but Gurley crushed Week 16 title efforts for many (got them titles if they held him).
I started to mark Gurley down midway through the 2017 season – a good RB in a great spot, but not running like we all thought…for like the past 1.5-2.0 seasons. And then about three weeks ago, Gurley became unleashed running better than I’ve ever seen him in the pros. I’m not trying to rewrite history and get onboard. I know there was a change 3-4 weeks ago…and that he was underperforming to some degree prior (but a lot of TDs). Whatever talent grade you want to assign…B+, A+…he’s at minimum ‘really good’ in an A+ situation and therefore is a top 5 fantasy asset.
I still want DJ over Gurley…just not for 2017, if I could go back in time.