The Rams led this game 21–7 with 10+ minutes left in the game. I thought the Rams, at home, were one of the better bets for Week 16…I was feeling great about this bet at that point. However, after being inept the entire game, the 49ers scored TDs on their next two drives, added a two-point conversion on the last one, and somehow won. If the Rams are not the worst team and franchise in the NFL…I’m not sure what team is. If Rams’ ownership doesn’t sweep the entire football management group out from top to bottom, they’re kidding themselves. Expect Les Snead to be retained…
This was such a pathetic performance by both teams there’s little to really scour over on tape. The Rams will be completely different in 2017 under a new head coach, and the 49ers will gut their team and continue rebuilding…if they ever change their failure of a GM. Expect Trent Baalke to be retained…
There are five players I want to touch on from this contest, and two of them are with 2017 more in mind…
— OK, I’m done with Jared Goff (11-24 for 90 yards, 1 TD/2 INT). I think, anyway. For now.
It’s not that he is playing bad and disappointing my scouting grades – it’s that he has about zero chance to ever be successful in the NFL. So much of a player’s future/career is dictated by the organization and situation they land with. Had the Colts decided to add Dak Prescott as a backup they liked from this past draft – the league’s MVP wouldn’t have seen the field for 4+ years. By then, he’d be a non-exciting name no one would care about in free agency. Instead, a fortuitous situation, and now he’ll be the future face of the NFL on the most media-covered NFL team.
It’s frightening to consider how differently an NFL player’s future can go all based upon timing and organizational situation. My scouting is becoming 50% player evaluation of college play and pre-Draft workouts, and 50% interpreting ‘where they land’. What happened to Tom Savage, with the GM paying Brock Osweiler, is criminal. What’s happening to Brett Hundley, buried in Green Bay, is very unfortunate for him. As I re-watched this particular game, I realized – Jared Goff has too much going against him for me to worry about him for fantasy right now.
Goff didn’t play a great game here, but it wasn’t as bad as the disastrous numbers looked. It’s hard to evaluate a QB when he’s on his back the entire game. Five sacks and nine QB hits recorded against Goff. The hits were often devastating. The Rams have a brutally bad O-Line and they are literally destroying the careers of the QBs playing behind them. The Rams have failed at drafting, signing, and/or developing offensive linemen, and it’s killing their team…killing their QB and their franchise RB.
The Rams’ O-Line is not allowing Goff any time to feel comfortable and show what he can do. He makes a lot of ‘jumpy’ throws because pressure has invaded way too soon. Because the Rams are geniuses, they call a lot of medium-to-deep pass plays, so Goff is always on the verge of getting killed by pass-rushers while being forced to wait for WRs who are never open…many times they haven’t even finished their routes before Goff is about to get killed. Because we live in a ‘QB above all things‘ football world…everything is the QB’s fault. Not the coaching. Not the O-Line. Not the receivers. Many are guilty of the crime that is the LA Rams…not just the QB.
There are three reasons to just give up on Jared Goff for dynasty-fantasy. Take the write-off and just move on…even if I like him, have said nice things, and have nice prospect ratings on him.
1: The new coach will likely be a run-first coach to build around Todd Gurley. If so, and if Gurley rises, Goff will lose some fantasy opportunity to Gurley being so effective. This is not likely a team that will be modeled after ‘The Greatest Show on Turf‘. A different but similar version of Jeff Fisher is coming to LA, I suspect.
2: Goff will have no WRs to work with in 2017. If I were made the Rams’ GM today, one of the first things I would do is flush every WR except Paul McRoberts and Nelson Spruce…and I wouldn’t expect/want either to be starters in 2017. They’d be kept for developmental purposes. I’d sign and draft several WRs from other teams and in the NFL Draft. I would trade Kenny Britt and Tavon Austin, dump the rest, and rebuild. I assure you…the Rams will not follow my plan.
They’ll keep the same old mess. Between stupidly giving away many key picks to get Goff, and the need to address O-Line, and most GMs being awful at what they do – the Rams will not upgrade at WR. They’ll spin their wheels. Goff could have the worst WR group in the league on top of the worst O-Line in 2017. How is this conducive to fantasy success?
3: The media has made up its mind – they think Goff is terrible. Once the media turns…they take the fans with them. Once the media + fans turn, then the NFL coaches and GMs will follow suit because they are worse than fans. They chase the media on player evaluations because their scouts do. GMs and coaches do not have time to study this properly. I have given my life over to it. I know how long it takes – 70+ hours a week all year is still not enough time. Plus, you have to have an eye for it to begin with. It’s easier for all of them to just chase whatever everyone else is chasing.
Goff will have little passing game support because the Rams infrastructure is corrupt. The media is going to crush him at every turn. He’s basically doomed. A massive uphill climb from here with no help from his surroundings. It’s almost ‘over’ before it begins. Why, as a dynasty-fantasy GM, am I going to fight this with Goff? It’s not like he’s the only QB prospect alive today or to come.
I like Goff’s talent, but I’m going to fold right now. I don’t feel like wasting time bellyaching about the Rams’ surrounding for another year.
— I am, however, more open to rolling the dice on Todd Gurley (23-67-1, 3-20-0/3 targets). Any personnel change support coming will likely help Gurley more than Goff – a run-first coach who then builds the O-Line with run-game blockers. Plus, Goff’s a nice talent, but he’s not transcendent. He may be about five years too late to matter…he’s not designed for the new era of offense in the NFL. On the other hand, Gurley could be one of the most talented RBs to hit the NFL in a decade.
I’m not paying a big price for Gurley this offseason. He faces many of the challenges Goff does with ‘the surroundings‘. But I see a quicker path to success and a much higher upside with Gurley than Goff could ever have in LA.
I try to buy him as an RB2, and I try to give up overblown RB2/WR2 types in exchange. I’d also be willing to give a late first-round pick in a dynasty rookie draft to bring him into my fold. I don’t give up a top 3 DRD pick, but #8–12+ overall, I would. You won’t find a more talented player there, I suspect. If you do, you can trade back in somehow. I want to bottom-fish on Gurley, but I don’t want to assume a turn is coming in 2017. If it does, awesome. This preseason, I was preaching Carlos Hyde…almost as a sure thing. I’m not as sure on Gurley’s turn because of ‘Rams’.
— A few quick-hitter notes on some off-the-beaten-path names from this game…
49ers rookie WR Aaron Burbridge (2-15-0/3 targets) got a couple of looks and made a nice catch on one of his targets. He’s OK, but not someone we’re tracking as a future star or interesting stash.
49ers second-year WR DeAndre Smelter (0 targets) played 24 snaps but saw no targets. Who wants to see a really promising WR get targeted after finally making his NFL debut after two years? It’s more important to get more looks to Rod Streater (6-63-1/7 targets) in a 2–14 season. The NFL is baffling…always.
Rams rookie CB Blake Countess (11 tackles, 1.0 sack) was working more safety-like duty and led the Rams in tackles this game. He was not necessarily a force, but was ‘in the area’ and making sure tackles all over as things came his way. He is a nice tackler.
Rams rookie DT Morgan Fox (3 tackles, 1.0 TFL, 1 FF) is a player we’re keeping tabs on. He was a shock in the preseason, gaining the most attention with a 2.0-sack game in Week 4 of the preseason. He was an unblockable force as an undersized, quick DT. Getting his first chance to play the last two weeks, Fox has registered at least 0.5 TFLs in each game.