Los Angeles Rams (7-2, 4-5 ATS) at San Francisco 49ers (3-5, 2-6), 8:15 p.m., MNF
Brolley’s Rams Stats and Trends
The Rams are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games as a favorite.
Los Angeles is 3-1-1 toward unders in its last five games.
The Rams committed a season-high 12 penalties for 115 yards last week.
Matthew Stafford threw for more INTs (2) than TDs (1) for the first time with the Rams last week, and he averaged a season-low 6.1 YPA. He absorbed a season-high five sacks and he threw two INTs that set up 14 easy points for the Titans. Career backup Colt McCoy averaged 9.6 YPA in a 14-point victory over the 49ers last week.
The Rams’ passing attack had a down game last week, and Cooper Kupp went for 11/95 receiving for his seventh game with 20+ FP in nine tries. No team has had an answer for Kupp this season, who has 90+ yards, 7+ catches, and 10+ targets in eight of his nine games this season.
Robert Woods has posted double-digit FP in eight of nine games, and he’s topped 15+ FP in three straight games after posting 7/98 receiving on 10 targets last week. He posted 11/109/1 receiving on 22 targets in this matchup last season with Jared Goff leading the offense at the time.
Van Jefferson saw a season-high 96% of the snaps last week with DeSean Jackson officially off of the roster, but he managed just 3/41 receiving on seven targets against the Titans, which ended a two-game run with 11+ FP. He’s still seen 6+ targets in three straight games since becoming a full-time player after seeing 6+ targets just twice in his first six games. The Rams signed Odell Beckham on Thursday, and he’ll eventually take his place in the lineup, but they’ll likely rotate this week if OBJ is active this week.
Tyler Higbee saw a season-high 10 targets last week and he still managed to be a fantasy disappointment with just 5/51 receiving. It was at least his first double-digit FP performance since Week 3, and it was his most yardage in a game since the season opener. The 49ers are giving up the third-fewest yards per game (34.0) to TEs, and they limited Zach Ertz to 3/27 receiving last week.
Darrell Henderson has alternated 22+ FP performances with sub-10 FP performances over the last four weeks. He’s been a relative non-factor in the passing attack with just six receiving yards in the last two games. The 49ers’ run defense has been trending in the wrong direction since their Week 6 bye, and they just got shredded by James Conner for 21/96/2 rushing and 5/77/1 receiving.
Brolley’s 49ers Stats and Trends
The 49ers won outright and covered in both matchups with the Rams last season, and both contests went under the total.
San Francisco is 1-5 ATS in its last six games, and they’ve dropped four straight games ATS in its last four home games.
The 49ers are 4-1 toward overs in their last five home games.
Jimmy Garoppolo posted his two best fantasy games of the season in Weeks 8-9, but a 14-point loss to the Cardinals could be the beginning of the end of Garoppolo’s time as the starter in 2021. With a full complement of weapons, Jimmy G completed 28/40 passes for 326 yards (8.2 YPA), two TDs, and one INT in their loss to Arizona. He completed 23/33 passes for 268 yards (8.1 YPA) and three TDs in his lone matchup against the Rams last season.
Deebo Samuel had his second-worst fantasy performance (11.3 FP) in his first game with Kittle and a fully-engaged Aiyuk in the lineup, but he still saw a team-best nine targets. Deebo excelled in this matchup last season with 17/199/1 receiving on 19 targets. A.J. Brown finished with 5/42 receiving on 11 targets in this matchup last week.
George Kittle played a healthy 73% of the snaps after a five-week layoff for a calf injury, and he had his best performance of the season with 6/101/1 receiving on eight targets. Kittle owns a 24% target share in his five contests, which puts him behind only Darren Waller (25% share) at the position. The Rams have allowed four different TEs to reach double-digit FP over the last three weeks.
Brandon Aiyuk has been trending in the right direction in recent weeks, and it paid off with his best performance of 2021 with 6/81/1 receiving against the Cardinals. He’s finished with 15 targets for a 25% share in the last two weeks, and he’s seen his two highest snap shares (88%, 93%) in that same span. The Rams are facing the eighth-most targets per game (21.3) at WR, and Julio Jones caught all four of his targets for 35 yards last week.
Elijah Mitchell continued to see most of the work in this backfield last week with 8/36 rushing and a surprising 5/43 receiving on 66% of the snaps — he had 4/30 receiving in his previous five games combined. JaMycal Hasty added 3/11 receiving on a 34% share while Jeff Wilson didn’t play a snap in his first game back from his knee surgery this summer. The Rams are giving up 4.0 YPC and the ninth-fewest rushing yards per game (79.9) to RBs.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 27.3 (10th)
Plays per game: 65.9 (20th)
Pass: 60.6% (16th) | Run: 39.4% (17th)
Pace: 27.9 (17th)
Plays per game: 64.0 (28th)
Pass: 59.3% (21st) | Run: 40.7% (12th)
After flopping on SNF last week, the Rams are in a nice little get-right spot here against a 49ers defense that has given up 30 (vs. Colts), 22 (vs. Bears), and 31 (vs. Cardinals without Murray) over the last three weeks. The ‘Niners recent defensive woes have led their contests to three straight-overs and I think we’re on track to make it four-straight here. Matthew Stafford is going to come out and throw it here – the Rams are now passing at the fifth-highest rate in close games (66.3%) – and will find easy sledding against this 49ers defense that is struggling to get pressure on the QB.
The 49ers are the same team every week offensively: They play slow and are fairly balanced overall. Through eight games, San Francisco is middle of the pack in pass rate in close games (20th) and when trailing (18th) – but lean heavily on the run when they have a lead (5th in run rate). As 3.5-point underdogs here, this is likely a spot where they will have to throw to keep up with the Rams and HC Kyle Shanahan now has his full weaponry in place with Kittle back healthy, Aiyuk over his mental rut, and Samuel balling out.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp are going to eat. It’s science.
Kupp will work against the capable coverage of K'Waun Williams, but Kupp should be among the top-three candidates for NFL MVP. That is not to be taken lightly from a WR. Looking past last week’s result when James Conner did his best Terminator impression, the 49ers have begun to defend the run very well. My confidence in Darrell Henderson Jr. is low this week.
Deebo Samuel vs. Jalen Ramsey! We only see this level of matchup quality a couple times a season. An unstoppable force meets an immovable object. Yes, Ramsey is still the best. But Deebo is essentially his offensive equivalent. No, Ramsey will not be shadowing Samuel, but we should get enough snaps of them together to really enjoy the
Dolan’s Vantage Points
Hey, did something happen with the Rams this week?
Indeed, Odell Beckham is here, and he’s expected to be ready to play in some capacity on Monday night against the 49ers. Apparently, Beckham wanted a better shot at a championship than targets, though he would have received both a legitimate title shot and more targets. But the Packers didn’t show him enough “love” — I presume that means “money.”
Sources: Odell’s final 2 teams came down to the #Rams and #Packers (who remained his preferred destination). Not once did OBJ feel like GB was all-in. On the flip side, he spoke w/Sean McVay, who was able to creatively detail the multitude of ways he’d maximize OBJ’s talents. https://t.co/NEzQNqAJsp— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) November 11, 2021
Anyway, Beckham joins a loaded WR group that already features Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Van Jefferson. The popular sentiment on Twitter was immediately writing Jefferson’s epitaph, as the Rams run almost exclusively 11 personnel packages, which is the football-guy way of saying “three WRs.”
But… there is that gnawing feeling that the Rams — for some reason — were rotating Woods, Jefferson, and DeSean Jackson early in the season.
Just said this on Twitter Spaces, but the #Rams envisioned a rotation between Robert Woods, Van Jefferson and DeSean Jackson heading into the season. Didn't work out with Jackson. Now Odell Beckham Jr. allows that rotation to form again.— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) November 11, 2021
Mind you, I think this would be foolish. Woods has stepped up in a big way recently, as Matthew Stafford recognized there was another receiver with massive pedigree here not named Kupp.
Here’s Graham from the Week 10 Stat-Pack on Woods:
Don’t look now, but Robert Woods has now finished as the WR25 or better in five of his last six games.
He’s still not going to come close to catching Kupp in value, but Woods has really turned his season around after a slow start. Since Week 4, he’s the WR12 in FPG (17.7) and is ninth in receiving yardage (432) in this span.
My take on this is probably in line with the most of the fantasy community — Kupp remains a WR1, Woods a WR2, and Beckham a splash-play WR3 with upside and downside (remember, he’s playing through a pretty severe shoulder injury). But I still can’t shake the notion that Jefferson doesn’t go away, and that would hurt both Woods and Beckham.
From NFL Now: Odell Beckham Jr signed just a 1-year deal with the #Rams, but the goal is to make it a long-term relationship. pic.twitter.com/hmr2SERWx4— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 12, 2021
Anyway, one guy who likely sees a lower target volume is TE Tyler Higbee, who even with a huge role can’t produce with any consistency.
Tyler Higbee continues to get some of the best usage at the position, but can't cash in.— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) November 10, 2021
* 8 TEs are running routes on at least 75% of their team's pass plays and Higbee is the only one who is outside of the top-10 in fantasy points per game
*George Kittle's usage is elite pic.twitter.com/2PvqWKRUfm
The 49ers have all of a sudden gotten deep-ish at the receiver positions, following George Kittle’s return from a calf injury and Brandon Aiyuk’s return from Kyle Shanahan’s imposed exile. That’s coincided with Deebo Samuel fighting through a painful calf injury of his own.
Here’s Graham, again from Stat-Pack:
He’s back! George Kittle’s return to the lineup could not have gone any better as he shredded the Cardinals for 6/101/1 on eight targets after missing three games.
Kittle did get eased in a little bit – he played on a season-low 73% of the snaps – but it obviously ended up not mattering because the 49ers had to throw the ball a ton in the second-half to try and keep up with the Cardinals.
The 49ers get the Rams next up – and Kittle has feasted against L.A. in the past with 8/103, 5/79/1, and 7/109/1 in his last three meetings against them.
Kittle is running a route on 92% of the 49ers pass plays, which easily paces the position for the highest involvement rate. For reference, Travis Kelce is running a route on 86% of the Chiefs pass plays (second-highest).
It seems like Brandon Aiyuk has finally turned a corner this season and now has set back-to-back season-highs in targets with 7 and 8 in his last two times out.
The issue I have is that if the 49ers keep losing, they’re going to go to Trey Lance instead of Jimmy Garoppolo, which would obviously put more emphasis on the run game and really lower the target volume for these pass-catchers. But for at least this game, this is more of a pass-heavy script than one where the Niners will lean on Elijah Mitchell.