Week 5 Game Hub: LAR-SEA

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Week 5 Game Hub: LAR-SEA

Los Angeles Rams (3-1, 2-2 ATS) at Seattle Seahawks (2-2, 2-2), 8:20 p.m., TNF

Brolley’s Rams Stats and Trends

  • Sean McVay’s recent history against Pete Carroll is strong with a 4-1 ATS mark since 2019, including a 30-20 victory last postseason with John Wolford and an injured Jared Goff at quarterback.

  • The Rams are 5-1 ATS following their last six losses.

  • Los Angeles has played over the total in six straight games, and they’re the only team that’s played over the total in every game this season.

  • Darrell Henderson went right back to his full-time role with a 90% snap share thanks to a Sony Michel’s key fumble deep in their own territory to swing the contest in Arizona’s favor. Henderson has scored between 15.7-17.2 FP in his first three games after posting 19/116 scrimmage last week. The Seahawks are giving up league-highs in rushing yards per game (128.5) and receiving yards per game (72.3) to RBs this season.

  • Matthew Stafford reached 20+ FP for the third time — he has 18+ FP in every game — thanks to a garbage-time score in Week 4. He’s still posted 275+ yards with multiple scores in every game. The Seahawks have given up three passing TDs and 25+ FP to QBs (Kirk Cousins, Trey Lance/Jimmy G) in each of the last two weeks.

  • Cooper Kupp finally cooled off a bit with 5/64 receiving against the Cardinals, but he saw a season-high 13 targets (32% share) to give him double-digit targets in every game to open the season. Kupp posted 13/116 receiving on 16 targets in two regular season games in this matchup last season, and he added 4/78 receiving against them in the postseason. Top WR Deebo Samuel (8/156/2) and Justin Jefferson (9/118/1) have feasted the last two weeks.

  • Robert Woods had just an 18-yard catch before he racked up 3/30/1 receiving on the final garbage-time drive in Week 4. He tossed the touchdown pass away in disgust at the end of the game, and HC Sean McVay said Monday, “We just need to get him some more opportunities and that starts with me.” Woods managed just 7/81 receiving on 15 targets in two games in this matchup last season, and he added 4/48/1 receiving against them in the postseason.

  • Van Jefferson has been running ahead of DeSean Jackson in three-WR sets, and he bounced back with a team-best 6/90/1 receiving on six targets (15%) and 33 routes while D-Jax managed just a six-yard catch on three targets and 10 routes. The Seahawls are giving up the 11th-most FPG (40.7) to WRs this season.

  • Tyler Higbee matched a season-high with six targets last week but he managed just 4/36 receiving and he failed to score on two end-zone targets. The Seahawks held George Kittle in check with 4/40 receiving on 11 targets last week, but Ross Dwelley scored a 21-yard touchdown.

Brolley’s Seahawks Stats and Trends

  • Seattle is 8-1-2 ATS in its last 11 Thursday games.

  • The Seahawks are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games.

  • Seattle is 10-3 toward unders in its last 13 games.

  • Russell Wilson is averaging just 27.3 passes per game, but he’s still posted 22+ FP in three of his four games thanks to 8.3% TD rate and his league-best 9.6 YPA. The Seahawks were outgained by two yards per play by San Francisco (6.3 to 4.3) last week. At least the Rams defense has been vulnerable, allowing 24+ points in three straight games. They allowed 24+ points just five times last season and never in consecutive games. Russ threw for just 473/1 passing in this matchup last season but he added 69/1 rushing in two regular season games. He really struggled against them in the postseason 174/2 passing.

  • D.K. Metcalf has reestablished himself as the 1A in this passing attack with a 32% target share, and he’s scored TDs and 16+ FP in three of his first four games. He’ll surely tangle some with Jalen Ramsey, who has been used all over the field, and Metcalf posted just 8/87 receiving on 10 targets in two games in this matchup last season — he added 5/96/2 receiving in this matchup in the postseason.

  • Tyler Lockett is back to being a volatile fantasy option with just 13.5 FP the last two weeks after he topped 26+ FP in each of the first two weeks. He has been playing through injuries, which is certainly a concern with a quick turnaround this week. Lockett managed a combined 8/110 receiving on 14 targets in two games in this matchup last season — he added just 2/43 against them in the postseason.

  • Gerald Everett (COVID list) is on track to return to the lineup in a #RevengeGame this week. He had his best game of the season in Week 3 by catching all five of his targets for 54 yards on 26 routes. The Rams have given up 55+ receiving yards to a TE in each of the last three weeks, including 5/66/1 receiving to Maxx Williams last week.

  • Chris Carson has played on 45% of the snaps or less the last two games. Carson still saw 13 carries but he posted just 30 rushing yards, and he’s managed just 3/3 receiving in the last three weeks after posting 3/26 in the season opener. Alex Collins posted a season-high 10/44/1 rushing in Week 4 and he could stay in the mix with a quick turnaround this week. Carson posted 16/69 rushing and 3/10 receiving in his lone regular season matchup against the Rams last season — he added 17/82 scrimmage against them in the postseason. Chase Edmonds and James Conner combined for 30/170/2 rushing against the Rams last week.

Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies

Rams

Pace (seconds in between plays): 27.5 (13th)

Plays per game: 61.0 (27th)

Pass: 59.5% (16th) | Run: 40.5% (17th)

Seahawks

Pace: 29.3 (22nd)

Plays per game: 55.8 (32nd)

Pass: 59.0% (19th) | Run: 41.0% (14th)

Pace Points

All of these NFC West showdowns have heightened importance in what is easily the best division in football. The Seahawks managed to get back to .500 last week and now have a chance to be half a game ahead of the Rams in the division with a home win on TNF, which was unthinkable just two weeks ago. While this game has the second-largest total of the week (54.5), I’m skeptical we see a shootout for a few reasons. First and foremost, the Seahawks are back to their old ways and playing insanely slow despite new OC Shane Waldron wanting to play faster. Just for some perspective, the Seahawks are dead last in offensive plays per game at 55.8 and that is over 10 plays below the NFL average of 66.9. Because Seattle is draining the clock and not sustaining offense, it’s zapped their games of scoring upside as they’ve played towards the under in 3-of-4 games with combined point totals of 44, 63, 47, and 49 in Weeks 1-4. Adding more fuel to the under fire is that these Rams-Seahawks meetings last year played way under the total, combining for 39 and 29 points. The only way this game goes off is if the Rams really push on the scoreboard and flame the Seahawks defense for 28-31 points, forcing Seattle’s offense to abandon the run and let Russell Wilson throw at will.

Huber’s Key Matchup Notes

Nobody is suggesting that Cooper Kupp is not the apple of Matthew Stafford’s eye, and Seahawk slot CB Ugo Amadi has not played well of late. The word on the street is also calling for an increase in Robert Woods’ opportunities. But Van Jefferson is someone to watch this year because he’s done particularly well against the Seahawks’ typical coverage shells in his brief career.

I also like Woods — the Seahawks have had trouble with their right CB spot, benching Tre Flowers for Sidney Jones, who has also struggled.

Week 4 solidified two facts concerning Rams CB Jalen Ramsey:

  1. He is no longer shadowing opposing WR1s
  2. His 50/50 time split working between the slot and outside will stand independent of the opponent

When Ramsey entered the NFL with Jacksonville, he took the opportunity against his division’s top wideout, DeAndre Hopkins, to showcase his shadowing skills. It was a respectful rivalry that carried over to matchups between their new NFC West teams. However, on nearly 40 snaps in coverage last week, Ramsey spent all of four snaps across from Nuk (1/18/0). With that in mind, it’s important to understand that I think Tyler Lockett, when in the slot, will be trailed by Ramsey — it’s rather that Lockett will mainly have responsibility for his coverage split between Ramsey and David Long Jr. Long is much more gettable.

Dolan’s Vantage Points

It’s not going to be an uncommon opinion, and DFS players might want to take a different approach, but there’s really no reason to think Darrell Henderson won’t get his out of the backfield against the Seahawks.

All the same caveats apply to Hendo that did three weeks ago — the Rams traded for Sony Michel not because they don’t like Henderson’s talent, but because they don’t trust Henderson to stay on the field. That bore out in Week 3, when Henderson missed their contest with the Bucs with a rib injury suffered late in Week 2. Well, Week 4 was back in Henderson’s favor. He played a whopping 90% of the snaps in the Rams’ loss to the Cardinals, handling 14/89 rushing and 5/27 receiving on 6 targets. Meanwhile, Michel cost the Rams with an early fumble deep in their own territory, and didn’t see a touch after it. Prior to his fourth-quarter rib injury against the Colts, Henderson had seen all but 1 of the Rams’ RB opportunities. It was looking like there might be a split in Week 4 — Henderson had 7 of the Rams’ first 10 RB opportunities, compared to 3 for Michel — but after the fumble, Henderson had 13 to Michel’s 0. He’s got to stay on the field, but Henderson is a legitimate bell cow when active. Meanwhile, the Seahawks have allowed the second-most FPG (32.1) to RBs so far this year. Henderson is an RB1, and Michel is back to handcuff status until further notice.

The Rams’ passing game has been productive, but ultimately frustrating, because the only consistently fantasy producer in the offense has been Cooper Kupp. After a somewhat quiet Week 4 in which he and Matthew Stafford couldn’t get on the same page — 5/64 on 13 targets — Kupp has a narrow lead on Tyreek Hill for fantasy’s overall #1 WR. Meanwhile, Robert Woods’s day was salvaged by a late garbage-time touchdown, but he didn’t celebrate and basically threw a hissy fit on the sidelines. He’s clearly frustrated.

The problem for Woods isn’t that he’s useless — he’s run 122 routes on Stafford’s 141 dropbacks (86.5%). Kupp is at 137, which is more but not “oh my god” more. Woods has 25 targets, the same as DeAndre Hopkins and Ja’Marr Chase, and more than Tyler Lockett. The problem for Woods is that he seems to be in more of a battle for #2 duties with Van Jefferson (116 routes, 18 targets) than he is in a battle for #1 duties with Kupp, which is a change from years past.

One other thing: per Next Gen Stats, Woods has been one of the league’s worst YAC receivers this year, with just 3.3 YAC average compared to 4.3 expected, which is tied for 13th-worst among all receivers. Meanwhile, Kupp is at 6.6 YAC with 4.4 expected… a virtually identical expected YAC but with drastically different results (Kupp is tied for 10th-best in the NFL in that category). It’s Woods’ first season in the negative since joining the Rams in 2017, so maybe it’s just a small-sample fluke as he works out his chemistry with Stafford. But it is worth monitoring moving forward. Woods is a WR3 and Jefferson a viable WR4/FLEX, though I do wonder if this is a squeaky-wheel game, as Sean McVay alluded to.

TE Tyler Higbee tied a season-high with 6 targets in Week 4 — including two in the end zone — but failed to score and dropped below 10 FP in a PPR for the second time in three games. He’s failed to crack 80% of the offensive snaps in back-to-back weeks after playing every snap in Weeks 1 and 2, but he’s still involved enough to warrant mid-range TE1 consideration if active — he is dealing with an ankle injury on a short week.

Despite the Rams’ loss, Stafford managed 280 passing yards with 2 TD and a pick, and he added a season-high 21 rushing yards as well. Given Stafford entered last week with negative rushing yards, we shouldn’t expect that to continue. He’s still a prime MVP candidate and has thrown for at least 2 TD in every game thus far, but he’s finished as a top-10 QB just twice in four games, and just once as a top-5 QB, because of that lack of rushing upside. He’s a viable low-end QB1 against a Seahawk defense surrendering the 8th-most FPG to opposing QBs thus far.

One of the key items from the Rams’ defense this year is that top CB Jalen Ramsey has played more snaps in the slot than outside in every single game thus far, and that includes a tilt against DeAndre Hopkins last week. It’s not that simple to break down who his primary responsibility will be — the Seahawks don’t really have a primary slot receiver, with Freddie Swain (54 routes run in the slot), Tyler Lockett (48), DK Metcalf (41), and TE Gerald Everett (31) all playing a semi-significant amount of time inside (SIS). A matchup with the Rams bamboozled both Metcalf and Lockett last year, as the two combined for just 16/197 on 24 targets in two games a piece (so, essentially, 8.9 FPG) but the Rams’ scheme under Raheem Morris is drastically different this year.

It is worth noting that Lockett has been playing through hip and knee issues, and that might have contributed to his quiet game in Week 4 against the 49ers with just 4/24 on 5 targets. Lockett has fallen below 8.0 PPR FP in two straight games after exploding in the first two weeks of the season. Meanwhile, Metcalf has scored in three of four games and has tallied at least 11.3 FP in all four games this year. Both are WR2s in a tougher matchup, with Metcalf being the much safer bet of the two for both a floor game and a blowup game.

Seahawk RB Chris Carson handled only 13 carries and gained 30 yards last week in their crucial win over the 49ers, and is now dealing with a neck injury. This is now the second-straight game where Carson played under 50% of the Seahawks snaps after he played on 78% of the snaps in Week 1 and 63% in Week 2. For some reason, Carson’s passing down work has completely evaporated in Seattle’s last two games and that is the cause for his dip in overall snaps. Carson has only run a route on 20 of Russell Wilson’s 68 dropbacks (29%) over the last two games after being involved on 54% of the passing plays in Weeks 1-2. That’s just one more route over that time than Alex Collins has posted. Collins, meanwhile, has seen his snap share increase from being inactive in Week 1, to 11% in Week 2, to 26% in Week 3, then 39% in Week 4, when he scored a rushing TD. Carson is still on the RB2 radar if he plays, as this might be a blip, but Collins looks like the clear handcuff and a potential bench stash in deeper leagues, as beat writer Michael-Shawn Dugar suggests the Seahawks will use a hot-hand approach. If Carson doesn’t go — he’s listed as questionable and is a game-time decision, per Pete Carroll — Collins is a rock-solid RB2.

Like Stafford, Wilson is a low-end QB1 option in a tougher matchup. The Rams have given up the 15th-most FPG to opposing QBs despite facing Tom Brady and Kyler Murray the last two weeks.

Everett could be back in Week 5 after missing Week 4 on the COVID list. Will Dissly did not take advantage of his increased role last week, catching both of his targets for just 9 yards on an 82% snap share. Everett had his first strong game as a Seahawk in Week 3 with 5/54 receiving on 5 targets, and the Rams have given up the 9th-most FPG to opposing TEs.

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