Rapid Reaction: LA Rams
The Greatest Show On Grass
I wanted to hit this one early in light of Thursday Night Football’s Vikings at Rams shootout. A fantasy smorgasbord that gave loads of fantasy goodness from both teams. I’m going to focus on the home team though. This is really the first time we saw all five fantasy relevant players at the top of their game. In the same contest here are my takes on the new “Greatest Show On Turf (Grass).”
First I’d like to I’d like to say one thing about Sean McVay. His play calling and handling of the offensive talent is something to marvel at. He deserves much of the credit for this offensive juggernaut. Coaching clearly can make all the difference when combined with talent.
Jared Goff, Quarterback
Week 4 – 26/33, 465 YARDS, 5 TDs, 2 RUSH, 7 YARDS
After his first season so many people were ready to right Jared Goff off as a bust. System Qb and nothing more is what we heard last year. Well if that’s all he is then WOW! what a system! It produced three to 40 wide receivers (25, 32, 40), the number one running back and number 12 quarterback.
In 2018 Goff has completed 97 of 134 passes so far with 11 TDs and 2 INTs. He is currently sporting career highs in: COMPletion % (COMP%) – 72.4%, Yards per Attempt (Y/A) – 10.49, Adjusted Yards per Attempt (AY/A) – 9.6 (prior to week 4), TouchDown % (TD%) – 8.2%, Interception % (INT%) – 1.49%, Yards per Completion (Y/C) – 14.49, and Yards per Game (Y/G) – 351.5.
Sunday night he was manipulating the Vikings defense and throwing dimes all over the field. On Goff’s first TD he laid one right over the defenders shoulder to Todd Gurley. Next, he found the primo match-up. Cooper Kupp was in the slot covered by a line backer and faked a shallow cross before cutting up the field and separating from the coverage. Goff delivered a perfect strike that didn’t make Kupp break stride in the least. His second touchdown pass to Kupp was a thing of beauty.
Running to his right and firing across his body to the corner of the end zone where only Kupp could haul it in. His TD to Brandin Cooks was a perfect dime that traveled 55 to 60 yards in the air. To finish it off you did a great job looking off the safety to isolate the linebacker on Robert Woods. What do ya know? Another perfect pass for a touchdown. The fact that 4/5 TDs were over 15 yards is a great sign. He was neither an accurate deep ball passer, nor asked to do it much in his young career as we see here…
He’s been much better through the early going and not just yesterday. McVay is cutting him loose and opening up the offense. This has raised Goff’s floor as we can see here…
(Prior to week 4)
Things should only get better from here as he elevates as a player and having the leagues top fantasy back behind you doesn’t hurt at all.
Todd Gurley, Running Back
Week 4 – 17 RUSH, 83 YARDS, CAUGHT 4/6 TARGETS, 73 TARDS, 1 TD
To Simply put it, Todd Gurley is “The Man.” in 2018 he has picked up right where he left off last season.
He is currently leading the NFL in rushing yards, has caught 15/20 targets (14.9% target share) and has churned out 532 total yards. Add in 5 total TDs and you’ve got the mix that makes the RB1.
So shouldn’t teams adjust to this type of production and start loading the box against the Rams? Yes is the short answer but this is a difficult when he plays on a team with three legit wide out threats. Prior to last night teams had only loaded the box on 16.13% of snaps. (A loaded box has eight or more defenders in it.) This seems unfathomable. How can you not try harder to stop him at the line? Well, the wide receiver trio helps to do some of this as you can not leave them in single coverage all night.
Play calling and Gurley’s versatility take care of the rest. McVay is putting all his guys in spots where they have advantages and their winning the individual match-ups.
Gurley is currently on a pace for 316 rush attempts, 60 receptions on 80 targets, 2128 yards, and 20 TDs. His Yard per Touch (Y/T) is down almost ya yard from last year but i wouldn’t worry about this four games into the year. There doesn’t seem to be an immovable object to stop this unstoppable force.
The Rams just hung 38 on the Vikings stout defense. Minnesota was missing their big man on the d-line but would Everson Griffen have made the difference yesterday? probably not. I don’t see any reason for this to slow down significantly. He almost never leaves the field with over an 80% snap share and if the Rams aren’t up 34-0, he’s on the field.
The defensive injuries help this. There is though, a small chance that if the wide receivers have move games like this. Gurley’s ceiling could be lowered a bit. Super small chance he is effected in a major way though. He’s a stud and i would think things only open up more for him.
Brandin Cooks, Wide Receiver
Week 4 – CAUGHT 7/8 TARGETS, 116 YARDS, 1 TD, 1 RUSH 10 YARDS
When Brandin Cooks came to the Rams there was a lot of speculation that we’d seen all he had to give. That he would be the same player as Sammy Watkins was for the Rams the previous season. With Drew Brees and Tom Brady as his previous quarterbacks, how could Jared Goff take him to the next level. Well in the early going this year he’s doing a pretty good job at just that.
Always a deep threat for Brees and Brady, we knew he was dangerous but in LA he’s flourishing in the young season. Cooks has a career high Yard per Reception (Y/R) – 17.4, Reception per Game (R/G) – 6.5, Yards per Game (Y/G) – 113, and Catch % – 78.8%. All that to add with his 24.6 % target share. His upside might be a little limited for fantasy though as the TDs get spread around. As we saw on T.N.F. though it can click for everyone and they can all produce.
Cooper Kupp, Wide Receiver
Week 4 – CAUGHT 9/11 TARGETS, 162 YARDS, 2 TDs
Cooper Kupp is currently enjoying his sophomore season in the McVay ofense. Like his counterparts on the outside, Kupp seeing his best season. I know its only his second year but he’s got upticks in all major ratios. R/G, Y/G, CATCH%, TD% exct. Doing all this while. Sharring with three other fantasy weapons is tough. Most teams are lucky to have two outside of their QB.
Now do I think he will keep his current pace of one TD a game? Short answer is no but he was Goff’s favorite red zone targets. I don’t see their chemistry lessening. His early season 23.9% target share is proof of this. As the offense elevates Kupp will benefit from all the attention being paid in the backfield and on the outside. He also showed his ability to take advantage of a mismatch for a house call. This would be a big time boost to his fantasy value if he can consistently pose this kind of threat.
Robert Woods, Wide Receiver
Week 4 – CAUGHT 5/5 TARGETS, 101 YARDS, 1 TD
When when Robert Woods came over from Buffalo last year there weren’t a lot of expectations outside of the Rams locker room. In for the first part of the seaso,n his performance wasn’t fantastic but he later came on with a vengeance. It all started when he took a third and 33 to the house on a wide receiver screen.
He currently boasts around 40% of the teams airyards and has shown no signs of slowing. It appears he wasn’t being used properly in Buffalo as we see here…
Career highs are contageous. Woods is seeing them in R/G (6), Y/G (80.8) and catch % (70.6%). Add in the 25.4% target share and you have your third viable every week fantasy WR on one team. He’s proving to be much more then the WR3/4 he has been in the past.