Week 6 Game Hub: LAR-NYG

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Week 6 Game Hub: LAR-NYG

Los Angeles Rams (4-1, 3-2 ATS) at New York Giants (1-4, 2-3), 1 p.m.

Brolley’s Rams Stats and Trends

  • Los Angeles played under the total for the first time last week.

  • The Rams are 4-1 ATS and outright in their last five extended-rest games.

  • Matthew Stafford has thrown for 275+ yards and he’s averaging 317.4 passing yards per game and 9.2 YPA after the Rams ripped the Seahawks for 7.1 yards per play in Week 5. He’s the QB8 with 21.4 FPG but he’s nearly three points per game behind the QB7, Kyler Murray, at 24.3 FPG. The Giants have given up 20+ FP to quarterbacks in 4-of-5 games this season.

  • Robert Woods had been the forgotten man in Los Angeles’ two-man show at WR through the first four weeks, and HC Sean McVay vowed to change that leading up to the Rams’ showdown with the Seahawks. Woods got a seat at the table with a game-best 12/150 receiving on 14 targets — he nearly doubled his production from the first four weeks (15/172/2 receiving). Amari Cooper posted 3/60/1 receiving in this matchup last week.

  • Cooper Kupp continued to eat last week with 7/92 receiving on 10 targets against Seattle, which gives him double-digit targets, 5+ catches, and 60+ yards in every game. CeeDee Lamb hung 4/84/1 receiving in this matchup last week.

  • Van Jefferson struggled with just a 16-yard on four targets last week and he ceded playing time to DeSean Jackson in the second half, who made the pivotal play in their victory over the Seahawks with a 68-yard catch on a downfield throw. Jefferson held just a 23-to-15 advantage in routes in Week 5, which is the tightest split of the season. The Giants are giving up the 16th-fewest FPG (37.5) to WRs this season.

  • Tyler Higbee has run a route on 76% of Stafford’s dropbacks in the last four games, but he’s posted just 12/98/3 receiving on 14 targets (10% share). Dalton Schultz posted 6/79 receiving in this matchup last week, and the Giants are giving up the seventh-most FPG (16.5) to TEs this season.

  • Darrell Henderson has posted 15+ FP in each of his four games this season and he’s averaging 4.9 YPC. Henderson has been used as a bell-cow back through the first four weeks, but he saw a season-low 66% snap share last week. The Rams did play on Thursday night so it will be interesting to see if he goes back to his dominant role or if Sony Michel will stick in a complementary role like he had in Week 5. The Giants are giving up the third-most rushing yards per game (123.0) and a healthy 5.8/47.0 receiving per game to RBs.

Brolley’s Giants Stats and Trends

  • New York has played under the total in six straight home games, and they’re 10-3 toward unders in their last 13 games.

  • Saquon Barkley will miss at least this week with an ankle injury, and Devontae Booker saw the vast majority of work after he left the game. He posted 16/42/1 rushing (2.6 YPC) and 3/16/1 receiving on four targets against the Cowboys, and Elijah Penny had one carry and Gary Brightwell didn’t get a touch. Seattle’s backup Chris Carson turned in 15/47 rushing and 2/25 receiving against the Rams last week.

  • Daniel Jones started to turn a corner in his third season with 22+ FP in three of his first four starts, but his progress was halted by a nasty collision at the goal line against the Cowboys in Week 5. Jones suffered a concussion on the play as he tried to score a rushing touchdown in the second quarter. He gave way to Mike Glennon, who would get the start for him if he’s unable to play in Week 6 against the Rams. Glennon completed 16/25 passes for 196 yards, one TD, and two INTs in relief last week but, as we saw last week with Teddy Bridgewater, Danny Dimes has an outside shot of returning this week. The Rams are giving up 294.2 passing yards per game (9th-most) but just 1.2 passing TDs per game (5th-fewest).

  • The Giants are extremely banged up at WR this week. Kenny Golladay (knee) is expected to miss while Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton have chances to return from their hamstring injuries suffered in Week 3. Kadarius Toney will be out on the field and the first-round pick gave us a taste of his potential in Week 4 with 6/78 receiving before he erupted for 10/189 receiving on 13 targets against the Cowboys in Week 5. Toney went from running 58% of his routes from the slot in Week 4 to 36% in Week 5 so Shepard would likely move back inside if he’s healthy enough to play and Toney would be on the perimeter more. Shepard posted 16/207/1 receiving in the first two games before his injury. The Rams are giving up the 12th-most FPG (39.8) to WRs so far this season.

  • Evan Engram had his best game in Week 5 against the Cowboys, but he still failed to reach double-digit FP by catching all four of his targets for 55 yards. The Rams are giving up the 14th-most FPG (14.0) to TEs through the first five weeks of the season.

Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies

Rams

Pace (seconds in between plays): 27.9 (14th)

Plays per game: 62.6 (27th)

Pass: 59.2% (20th) | Run: 40.8% (13th)

Giants

Pace: 27 (9th)

Plays per game: 64.8 (19th)

Pass: 62.7% (12th) | Run: 37.3% (21st)

Pace Points

After playing towards the over in four-straight to start the season, the Rams finally hit an under last week with their TNF game against the Seahawks turning into a slopfest. If Daniel Jones plays and has some of his weapons healthy, this game could return the Rams back to being an over team once again with both of these sides playing at an above-average speed. Overall, Rams-Giants is the fifth-quickest game on the Week 6 slate in adjusted combined pace. Also, make no mistake: Those pass / run splits don’t tell the full story with the Rams. While they look run-heavy, it is just a byproduct of them getting ahead and running the ball late in games. In neutral situations (game within a score in 1st-3rd quarter), the Rams are the seventh-most pass-heavy team (64.7%). Gone are the days of the Rams running first. The Giants secondary has struggled out of the gates and are giving up a 74% completion rate (highest) and a 111.1 passer rating (fourth-highest), so this sets up perfectly as another pass-heavy plan from Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford.

Huber’s Key Matchup Notes

Just when I felt I had a grasp on Jalen Ramsey’s alignment, all of the data was rendered worthless. After aligning at a three-to-one clip in favor of the slot compared to outside over the first four weeks, he completely reversed that ratio in Week 5. We could try to blame it on Darious Williams’ injury, but Ramsey started the game on the perimeter.

Tracking the movements of Ramsey is of the highest priority. With Kenny Golladay set to miss time with a knee injury, the fact that Sterling Shepard could be back this week is a big deal. But the Giants will likely need Shepard to shift to the outside — as he’s done throughout his career — with Kadarius holding down the slot. A Shepard vs. Ramsey showdown may not elicit gasps from the crowd, but Sterling has kicked his game up a notch this season. Unfortunately for him, Ramsey hasn’t needed to — he’s always been kickass.

For all of the hot air floated about on Kadarius Toney in camp and during the first couple weeks, all of those statements did not age well. Toney was only on the field for 59% of team passing plays last week. But… wait for it… he still collected a 33% target share! He flipped 13 targets into a 10/189/0 line, 32.6 FPs. Even more impressive is that he collected 4/70/0 within the coverage of Trevon Diggs. The only thing that could contain Toney on Sunday proved to be himself. After a late push from Damontae Kazee, Toney threw a punch in retaliation that resulted in being disqualified. Barring another brouhaha, Toney will likely get slot coverage from David Long Jr. And that’s a matchup worth exploiting.

Dolan’s Vantage Points

It’s always fun when taking a left turn down Narrative Street leads us exactly where we want it to go, and in record time. Following his Week 4 hissy fit on the sidelines, Robert Woods was given the squeaky wheel treatment in Week 5 against the Seahawks, roasting them for 12/150 receiving. Now that Matthew Stafford clearly realizes he has two elite receivers in Woods and Cooper Kupp, maybe he’ll start actually distributing the ball evenly. Both guys are must-starts against an underachieving Giant CB duo of James Bradberry and Adoree’ Jackson — neither ranks in the top 40 of PFF grade.

As Brolley noted above, Woods and Kupp clearly had the edge over Van Jefferson and DeSean Jackson in playing time last week, and Jackson started eating into Jefferson’s snaps late. Those guys are in an explosive passing offense, so with bye weeks here, you can easily defend using one of them, but you need a little good luck.

Maybe the next squeaky wheel for Stafford is TE Tyler Higbee. Higbee’s usage is great. He has been on the field for 78% of the Rams passing plays – which is the sixth-highest rate among tight ends. However, Higbee has been targeted on just 14.3% of his routes – which ranks 36th.

By the way, Darrell Henderson ranks 3rd in Scott Barrett’s Backfield XFP% stat… which essentially is how much points among a team’s backfield a player is expected to score based on usage. Only Najee Harris and Alvin Kamara rank higher. So yeah, Hendo — when healthy — has been a bell cow, ostensibly rendering Sony Michel a handcuff and mediocre FLEX during bye weeks, hoping he gets a cheap TD like he did last week.

But will that continue? The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue isn’t so sure. She writes:

“McVay indicated that Thursday’s performance between the two backs — Henderson the gorgeous-cut, elusive/explosive player, and Michel the powerful, steady complement — was reflective of a longer-term plan for the two (depending, of course, on the matchup and situation).

‘That’s a good balance,’ he said. ‘They both did a nice job tonight. Each game is kind of its own entity. But I thought tonight they spelled each other and did a great job. (Assistant head coach) Thomas Brown does an excellent job in leading that room.’”

While he’s trending in the right direction, we won’t know until the weekend if Daniel Jones has fully cleared the concussion protocol. But we obviously prefer him to Mike Glennon for fantasy purposes — Jones is expected to play.

If you’re looking at the fact that the Rams’ defense has been a little bit more gettable against the run, Devontae Booker is the guy. He played 60 of 62 snaps after Saquon Barkley (ankle) went down last week, so he’s on the RB2 radar. He’s not a great player, but he can catch the ball and fight for yardage.

Our staff has done a lot of analysis on the Giants’ passing game this week, with Kenny Golladay (knee) out and Kadarius Toney emerging (if Toney plays through an ankle injury, as expected).

Wes said above why he isn’t in love with Sterling Shepard coming off a hamstring injury, but Danny Dimes has always gravitated towards him when he plays. He’s a WR3.

I think Scott Barrett is practically in love with Toney (he’ll have to fight John Hansen for him), so I’ll let the XFP Report speak on him:

“Over the last two weeks, Toney ranks 7th among all WRs in total fantasy points scored, averaging 21.8 FPG. And his volume has been excellent, averaging 1.0 carry, 11.5 targets, 106.5 air yards, and 1.5 deep targets per game. That equates to 21.7 XFP per game, which ranks 4th-best among all WRs over this stretch.

And, of course, he’s looked amazing in these two games — leading all players in yards after contact (140) and missed tackles forced as a receiver (8).

Even more impressively, all of these numbers can be adjusted due to the fact that he basically only played two full quarters of football last week (54% of the team’s snaps). (He missed some time due to injury, continued to play through that injury, and then was later ejected from the game for punching an opponent.) Further, 8 of his 13 targets came with human giraffe / backup QB Mike Glennon under center.

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Toney very well could be a league-winner. That would not surprise me at all. But I do have two (relatively minor) concerns:

1) Toney is dealing with an ankle injury; the same injury that cost him some snaps last week. It is not season-ending, but it “might affect his short-term availability.”

2) Toney’s breakout has come, uncoincidentally, with Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton both out. Their absence has surely helped Toney in terms of volume, though that’s probably not as significant as the fact that Toney (as a rookie) was still capable of commanding WR1-levels of volume and producing like a WR1. But also, Toney has been used similarly to Sterling Shepard over these last two weeks, running 48% of his routes from the slot versus Shepard’s 74% (Weeks 1-3). Remember, prior to injury (Week 3), Shepard averaged 8.5 targets per game over his previous 12 games, and had scored at least 17.5 fantasy points in each of his previous four games. So, maybe that’s just an extremely valuable role in the offense. Or maybe, Toney will be miscast and kicked outside once Shepard is fully healthy. (This would be a mistake.) It’s possible, but, ultimately, not a very serious concern. And I’m far more optimistic that Toney is a potential every-week starter than that he turns back into a pumpkin after these two impressive breakout performances.”

I agree with both Scott and Wes — the Giants need to keep Toney inside and move Shepard outside for the benefit of their explosive rookie. But will they? Presuming Toney plays, his matchup sets up for him to be a WR2.

If you dare (I sure as hell don’t), Jake Tribbey likes Evan Engram as a TE streamer because even the Giants’ “healthy” WRs are banged up. Jake is a braver man than I.

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