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My Computer model best bet of the week and survivor pool pick was the L.A. Rams, and that all got flushed down the toilet when they lost this game. I mention that to let you know I very closely watched this game live and after re-watching it I felt the same way as I did when I watched it live…and what I'm about to comment about it is not sour grapes about losing a silly wager. I was more vested in this game than any other because I wanted to see the Rams and Goff specifically against a tough division rival. So, realize I am not trying to downplay or cry about losing a public wager when I say this…
The Rams should have won that game five times over. They came right out of the gates and punched Seattle in the mouth – and the Seahawks couldn't stop them. If you asked me to predict the final score after the first 2-3 drives for each team, I would have guessed 25+ Rams and 10 or so for Seattle. You would think, according to the football anti-Goff media, that the Rams would sheepishly enter this game to get their feet settled and play it conservative – that's not how it happened…the Rams/Jared Goff came out pushing the agenda.
I don’t think I can describe with words and a keyboard how impressive Goff's whole vibe was to start this game and how he looked all game for the most part. The last time Goff saw Seattle he was knocked out of the game with a crushing hit. The way Goff is going into these 2017 games is like an assassin…it’s like…it’s like – Tom Brady. Not much to look at, physically, but looks deceive and this guy's going to pull out your heart and show it to you before you die…figuratively, by throwing downfield all over you.
It's no surprise that Goff led the league in yards per pass attempt before this game. He may still lead after. Really, if I had to convince you of what I saw/see with Goff…I would ask you to watch the final minute/final drive of this game. Down by six points, no timeouts, 75 yards to go, facing Seattle's defense that had momentum…in part because so many little bounces had gone their way. There was every reason for this drive to fall flat. Instead, Goff comes out on 1st down against a prevent-ish defense and threaded a 35-yard pass middle of the field, middle of the defense…it was an unreal, small window, downfield throw on the absolute money. Two plays later Goff fired a pass to chew up another 20 yards – within three plays Goff had the Rams 20 yards away from victory.
Two plays later…again, keep in mind Seattle is playing back to keep the Rams out of the end zone…Goff looks off Earl Thomas once again, and fires a pass over the middle, over defender's heads hitting Cooper Kupp in stride in the end-zone…but it was maybe an inch too long/far. More times than not Kupp makes that catch. Not many QBs have the accuracy, confidence or general 'balls' to make that throw and the throws before that to get them down close to scoring position. Had Kupp pulled that final pass then the Rams would have won and there would be a non-stop parade of analysis that Goff is secretly really good and people would be all over him for fantasy. It would have been Goff's second 300+ yard game of 2017, his third 290+ yard game in five weeks.
The Rams were a fingernail away from one of the most brilliantly executed less-than one-minute drives of the season…with only Brady-Rodgers to rival it.
Had they won…the Rams would have taken a huge lead in the NFC West, they would've been proclaimed the future, Seattle would be proclaimed dead. Instead, the media got what they wanted so they're not going to acknowledge any of that – this will be 'the upstarts gave the great Seahawks a scare, but Seattle took care of business'. The Rams will now be dismissed with a condescending pat on the head. I'm telling you – the Rams are one of the best teams in football, a Super Bowl threat for this year (no great teams this year), the future NFC West champs this season…a Super Bowl winner within five seasons, if not three.
I took all that away from a disappointing Week 5 loss to Seattle.
The Rams had more first downs, over 50%+ third-down efficiency, more yards (375-241) despite less time of possession, more yards per play than Seattle. How did the Rams lose? Three lost fumbles…and that's rare to lose three fumbles in a game. One of the lost fumbles – Todd Gurley running for a TD on the opening drive haymaker from the Rams on Seattle, and that weird, soul-crushing thing happened – the extend the ball for the pylon but the ball slips out of his hand just before it and goes out the side/ruled 'out of the end zone'. An opening drive score turned into the ball turned over to Seattle…it was that kind of game – the Rams kicking ass and then having an odd gaffe ruining it all.
All this Goff and offense also glosses over how good the Rams can be on defense…but I will come back to that in the next section.
Seattle analysis? Totally unimpressive. Completely lucky. Completely outplayed but credit to their defense for keeping them in it. Seattle should feel like they saw a ghost here – the Ghost of NFC West future. The team that is going to end their NFC West, NFC in general, reign. I guarantee, unless they are totally delusional, the Seahawks know in their heart they aren’t as good as the Rams…and they lucked out here and their time is running out.
OK, I'm going to pause before I write the next section. Heading to Amazon to buy some Rams gear. I probably still have some from the Nick Foles excitement year. Feel free to send me some Rams stuff, I'm a huge, long-suffering fan back to the Foles signing!
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Seriously, I'm not kidding – Goff is going to be great. You know why? Sean McVay.
Where would Tom Brady be without Bill Belichick? Imagine Tom Brady the Jacksonville Jaguar 6th-round pick in 1999. Imagine Tom Brady paired with Jeff Fisher out of the chute. Jared Goff has gone from skittish rookie season with an 0-7 record to one of the best QBs in football in about five games under McVay. It's no coincidence. Sean McVay is the new era Bill Belichick…the other genius in a room full of idiots.
McVay is a true offensive whiz but is also a great communicator and teacher. He made Kirk Cousins…and now he's 'making' an even more-talented-than-Cousins QB into something special. Imagine McVay and Goff in a year or two…when they have more rapport with their young weapons and they upgrade the O-Line even more. It's going to be the best offense in the NFL because Sean McVay will build an offense around the talents of Jared Goff…who is the next Tom Brady in a world that is no longer creating Tom Brady's. McVay comes from the old school of pounding the rock to show how tough he is. He will show his dominance by aerial assault as the lead punch.
Buying Goff right now is like buying Amazon stock back when it was a nothing stock –a weird company that couldn’t make money and people thought there was no profitable future in their online shopping platform.
Hold on. I'm in an intense bidding for a Rams hoodie on eBay. I'll be back to finish this in a bit.
What should you pay for Goff in a dynasty league? NO one really believes in him so he's a QB2 valuation (except in a 2QB starting league)…maybe #13-15 overall QB like value or #17-20+ for others. You ask for him direct and people will jack him up to QB1 #10-12 ranking/value to deal with, but if you can slyly get the discussions going…it's not hard to get him. 2nd round pick in the 2018 dynasty rookie draft? Some hotshot RB3/WR3 of the moment in the deal. Do what it takes, but don’t be a fool -- you won’t regret it…more for 6pts per pass TD leagues and/or ones with passing yardage/distance bonuses.
My only hesitation on situations like this is 'head coach', but here – that's actually a positive working for us acquiring Goff.
-- Speaking of players to trade for in-season for 2017…as I wrote a few days ago, I like the valuation of getting Doug Baldwin (4-37-0/8) for WR1.5/2.0 valuation…now moving closer to WR2.0 valuation. He's a guy who will push WR1 numbers this year before it's all said and done.
Seattle's running game is in trouble and they'll need to throw a bunch to hang in games. Baldwin is beyond obvious to be Wilson's main guy. His numbers are down. He had a groin injury Week 4 that held him back some and they blew out the Colts so he came out of the game more. You need a WR1 to make through the playoffs, and Baldwin has WR1 hopes for WR2 prices right now.
-- Who not to get? Sammy Watkins (0-0-0/4).
He's damn near droppable in 12-team/redraft.
A major game Week 5, Goff passes 47 times, and Watkins sees 4 targets and no catches. The past two weeks, 1 catch on 6 targets. He plays like he's sound asleep. No energy. When he gets the ball he's nice, but when he's not the feature I think he pouts. Goff has no connection with him.
Whatever it is, the Rams are at the top of many passing stats as a team...with little help from Watkins. He's averaging 4.0 targets per game…as their starter.
-- Who is Goff's go-to guy?
I say it's Cooper Kupp (3-44-0/8), but I’d also say Goff doesn't favor one guy…he looks for open players/mismatches and goes from there. But the guy he has the best relationship with that I see – is Kupp.
I'd also note – TE Tyler Higbee (4-98-0/8) had a nice game here. After three barely noticeable games to start 2017, Higbee has averaged 3.5 catches (7.0 targets) for 72.5 yards and 0.0 TDs per game the past two games.
I'm not confident Higbee is about to become a fantasy starter…not yet. But, if this offense continues to function at a high level…the tight end should have sneaky good amounts of red zone looks.
Hey, Higbee is a better start next week than Watkins…right?
-- Actually, Goff's go-to guy has been Todd Gurley (14-43-0, 2-7-0/4)…and Gurley got shut down here. I still see Gurley as a bit of a fraud…a fraud that works well for FF. He does not look very good running the ball. I mean, he's fine but not among the 10-20 best RBs I can think of off the top of my head that either have more burst or elusiveness or general playmaking ability. His long runs in games this season starting with this game and going back: 11-17-29-18-12 yards…and the 29-yarder was a late game, working the clock, defense stacked for a stop and he made it past the first level. Under normal conditions – there's still a Gurley-running-the-ball problem, per se.
Now, for fantasy…it doesn’t matter. He's got great volume and there is no threat on the roster. He's an RB1 for 2017, all day long. Only to get better, output-wise, as this offense continues to hum.
-- Actually, Todd Gurley does have a little (non)threat to his touch count – sudden fantasy deep sleeper, Tavon Austin (6-27-1, 3-14-0/5). I wish Tyreek Hill got the touches Tavon Austin has the past two weeks.
Austin is averaging 4.0 carries a game this year, but 6.0 carries per game the past two weeks…which is genius because Austin provides the game-breaking ability Gurley doesn’t. Sean McVay is smart…he didn't originate Austin as an RB…he's just deploying it…more and more, all of a sudden. A neat wrinkle in the offense.
You want a WR getting 5-10 touches a game who has a higher probability of popping long scores? How about Tavon Austin…who also returns kicks and punts as well!
-- By comparison, I don’t think I want any Seattle RB. I might rather have Tavon Austin than any of them!?
I don’t want Eddie Lacy (9-19-0, 1-9-0/1) a.k.a. 'the starter'…and a disaster.
Thomas Rawls (8-20-0) can't stay healthy, nor can C.J. Prosise.
J.D. McKissic (2-0-0, 3-36-0/5) may end up with a solid role if everyone is on I.R. I love JDMK, as you know, for years, but this is a cluster on a team with a bad O-Line and a horrific O-C. I want to trust it, but the smart money is to bet against it.
-- I have been dropping hints the last week or so about the Rams DST as a sweet sleeper defense ahead. Let me explain my logic…
Besides the fact that the Rams have nice defensive talent, and have Wade Phillips as the D-C…and more importantly, Sean McVay as the H-C…and thus a high functioning offense. I think the Rams DST is on the rise in general but what I like even more is the schedule to go along with it.
I'm going to list their remaining schedule by QB/ranking of sacks allowed season-to-date (the most sacked teams)…
Week 6: Bortles/#30 most sacks allowed (because they never pass)
Week 7: Palmer/#2 most sacks allowed
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: Eli/#14
Week 10: Watson/#1
Week 11: Bradford/#30
Week 12: Brees/#32
Week 13: Palmer/#32
Week 14: Wentz/#14
Week 15: Wilson/#14
Week 16: Mariota/#19
If your DST scoring favors sacks a little more – then the Rams have potential up to Week 10 and then we can reassess if the defense is getting good enough to handle New Orleans Week 12 type matchups or not or not. Even the better O-Line/least sacked teams they face after Week 10 are not great – MIN-SEA-PHI…not scary.
One to watch in deeper leagues or streaming ahead.
Snap Counts of Interest...
64 = Woods
63 = Kupp
59 = Watkins
48 = Higbee
26 = Everett
32 = Rawls
19 = Lacy
18 = McKissic