Detroit Lions (0-6, 3-3 ATS) at Los Angeles Rams (5-1, 4-2), 4:05 p.m.
Brolley’s Lions Stats and Trends
Detroit has been shut out in the first half of three of their last four games and they haven’t scored a first-half touchdown since Week 2.
The Lions have played under the total in four straight games.
Detroit is 2-5 ATS in its last seven road games.
D’Andre Swift came through in garbage time once again last week, and he now has 17+ FP in 4-of-6 games. Swift now has 25/256/1 receiving on 30 targets in the second half this season compared to 9/39 receiving on 12 targets in the first half. He has 4+ catches and 33+ receiving yards in every game, but he’s averaging a miserable 3.3 YPC this season. Giovani Bernard (9/51/1 receiving) is the only RB to score 7+ FP against the Rams as a receiver, but Swift should be in position to be active late once again this week as 15-point road underdogs.
Jamaal Williams is coming off his worst performance of the season with just 4/11 rushing and he has just 3/6 receiving on four targets over the last three games. The Rams limited Devontae Booker to 12/41 rushing last week in a lopsided affair, and this week’s gamescript will likely work against him as 15-point road underdogs.
Jared Goff now owns an 0-13 record without Sean McVay as his head coach, and he’s failed to reach 20+ FP in four straight games after doing it twice to open the season. Goff completed 67% of his passes against the Bengals and he still averaged only 4.8 YPA in a lopsided loss last week. The Rams held the Giants to just 3.6 yards per play, and Daniel Jones managed 242 scoreless yards with three INTs against the Rams last week.
T.J. Hockenson got back to TE1 production in Week 6 after a three-week drought because of a knee injury and because of poor quarterback play. He led the Lions with 8/74 receiving on 11 targets (26% share), and he could’ve had a monster day if Goff didn’t sail a pass over a wide-open Hockenson, which would’ve gone for a 38-yard score. Hockenson now has eight catches and 15.4+ FP in three of his first six games, and he has eight catches for a total of 15.4 FP in his other three games combined. Hockenson has been way more volatile playing with Goff than he was a year ago when he had 4+ catches and/or a touchdown in 12 of his first 13 games before Matthew Stafford got injured. The Rams are giving up the 16th-most FPG (13.2) to TEs this season.
Amon-Ra St. Brown has 5+ catches and 7+ targets in three consecutive games. The rookie slot receiver finished with 5/26 receiving on seven targets against the Bengals, and he added a two-point conversion to finish with 9.6 FP. He finished second in routes behind Kalif Raymond (42 to 36), who finished with 6/37 receiving on seven targets. Raymond has 9.7+ FP in three of his last four games with his lone down performance being a goose egg against the Vikings in Week 5. The Rams are giving up the 14th-most FPG (39.5) to WRs through six weeks.
Brolley’s Rams Stats and Trends
The Rams are 6-1-1 toward overs in their last eight games.
We have a double #RevengeGame spot for Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff this week. Stafford erupted for four passing TDs and 251 yards (9.0 YPA) on just 28 attempts (14.2% TD rate) against the Giants. He’s now scored 20+ FP in three of his last four games, and Joe Burrow just finished with 271/3 passing against the Lions last week.
Cooper Kupp went off for 9/130/2 receiving on 12 targets last week. He leads all receivers in targets (68) and receiving touchdowns (7), he’s tied for first in receptions (46), and he ranks behind only Davante Adams in receiving yards (653). He should feast again against a defense that’s allowing 16.3 YPR to WRs.
Robert Woods went back to a smaller role last week with 2/31/1 receiving on five targets, a week after blowing up for 12/150 receiving on 14 targets against the Seahawks. Woods has been less involved than anticipated this season with a 22% target share compared to Kupp’s 35% share, but he’s still survived with 11+ FP in 5-of-6 games thanks in large part to three TD receptions. Secondary receiver Tee Higgins posted 3/44 receiving on six targets last week.
Tyler Higbee hasn’t posted more than 40 receiving yards in the last five weeks after catching all five of his targets for 36 yards last week. He had a walk-in touchdown near the goal line but a poorly thrown Stafford pass caused him to get tripped up short of the goal line. He’s still running third in routes (80% of Rams’ dropbacks) behind Kupp and Woods, and Johnny Mundt (ACL, IR) will be out of the picture moving forward. C.J. Uzomah posted 3/15/1 receiving in this matchup last week.
Darrell Henderson is coming off a season-best 23 touches, which he turned into 107/2 scrimmage on 82% of the snaps against the Giants last week. He’s now scored in 4-of-5 games and he’s turned in 70+ rushing yards in 4-of-5 games, and he has 15+ FP in each of his five healthy contests. Joe Mixon eviscerated the Lions for 23/153/1 scrimmage last week, and Detroit has now allowed 22+ FP to RBs in three straight games (Mixon, Mattison, Montgomery).
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 30.4 (26th)
Plays per game: 68.8 (14th)
Pass: 66.3% (6th) | Run: 33.7% (27th)
Pace: 27.5 (13th)
Plays per game: 63.8 (24th)
Pass: 57.5% (23rd) | Run: 42.5% (10th)
While the outcome of this game is not in question, we need the Lions to do something offensively to keep the pressure on the Rams offense for this game to go off. The total (50) is second-highest on the slate, but all of that is going towards the L.A. side as they’re implied to score 33 points. It’s impossible to feel confident that Detroit shows up in the way we need them to for this shootout, though. Detroit has cratered to 26th in pace as they try to slow games down and keep their defense off of the field. That’s the right idea, but it just isn’t working largely because their offense just can’t produce. Detroit is still the only team yet to have a lead in a game this season and that likely isn’t going to change here.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
While the passing offense of Los Angeles may ultimately take it easy on Detroit in the fourth quarter, do not expect the same decency from the rushing attack. The Lions are obliging the second-most FPG to RBs overall (31.9), sixth-most over the last four games (29.1), and fourth-most during the last two (38.3). With Vegas money pushing the spread toward the Rams giving 15.5 points to the Lions (second-most). LAR has been opposed by the seventh-most difficult schedule to date. Yet, the Rams have still managed to claim the fifth-highest chance of earning a playoff bid.
With a top-five O-line sealing off lanes, Los Angeles is handing the ball off at the ninth-highest rate (42.4%). The populace feared the worst when Cam Akers ruptured his Achilles. But Darrell Henderson Jr. has not missed a beat in his place. Even though he’s only averaged 16.2 attempts/game (10th-most), Henderson has still produced 12.2 pure rushing FPG (fifth).
As anticipated, it only took two receptions from Kadarius Toney on the opening drive last week until Jalen Ramsey shifted across from the ‘21 first-rounder until his injury. It would’ve been nice to see if he would’ve broken the shadow “rule” if Toney had managed to remain in the game. For Week 7, unless Ramsey plans to keep a close eye on D’Andre Swift, T.J. Hockenson will present as the most significant receiving threat to the Rams. It’s important to understand that the implication is not for the 6-foot-1 Ramsey to eliminate the 6-foot-5 Hockenson from the game. Rather, positioning himself in the region of the field where Hock will be expected to attack at the highest rate.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
Earlier in the season, it was looking like the Lions could, potentially, be “fun bad,” in that they give up a lot of points but have a functional enough offense with enough firepower to make things interesting and especially give us some fantasy production. The problem is that, in recent weeks, Goff has struggled. Badly.
Check out this piece from friend of the site Doug Farrar, complete with multiple gifs. It’s not pretty.
New on @TheNFLWire: As Jared Goff prepares for a "revenge game" against the Rams, the truth is that he's regressed in so many ways, he barely presents a picture of a functional NFL quarterback. On how it all went backward in a big hurry. https://t.co/T15RFaZEmw— Doug Farrar ✍ (@NFL_DougFarrar) October 19, 2021
Goff checking the ball down a lot does certainly have to do, at least somewhat, with the fact that his best receivers are RB D’Andre Swift, TE TJ Hockenson, and slot WR Amon-Ra St. Brown. Their offensive line injuries haven’t helped, either.
Graham Barfield likes what he sees from Swift’s counterpart, RB Jamaal Williams. From this week’s Stat-Pack:
For as awesome as D’Andre Swift is, you have to give credit to Jamaal Williams for how well he’s running.
Per SIS, Williams is fourth-best among 59 qualifying RBs in success rate at 51%.
Meanwhile, Swift ranks 56th at 29%.
Per PFF, Swift is dead last in yards after contact and missed tackles forced per carry among 46 qualifying RBs.
Swift’s role as the pass catcher and goal-line back is obviously more valuable, but Williams isn’t going anywhere.
The problem for Williams, of course, is the fact that the gamescript is projected to be awful, and C Frank Ragnow is out for the year, against Aaron Donald and company. Meanwhile, Scott Barrett thinks it’s a phenomenal spot for Swift. From Start/Sit:
“Despite being stuck in a 65/35 committee alongside Jamaal Williams, Swift’s volume has been phenomenal. He’s essentially the team’s WR1, ranking 2nd among all RBs and essentially tied with T.J. Hockenson for the team-high in receiving yardage share (19.7%). He ranks 10th in FPG (18.2) and 4th in XFP per game (18.8). But he saw his best usage of the season last week, with the backfield tipping closer to 80/20 in his favor. He hit a new season-high in snap share with 77%, up from 66%. And he hit a new season-high in backfield XFP% with 80%, up from 62%. If he saw an 80% share of the backfield XFP every week, he’d be averaging 23.5 XFP per game, which would lead all players at all positions.
Swift’s on-paper matchup against the Rams is just about perfectly neutral by every metric that matters to me, but he does get an ideal gamescript, as 16.0-point underdogs. That’s about in line with the gamescript he had last week, in a 11-34 beatdown loss against the Bengals. Start him with confidence this week as a mid- to low-end RB1.”
If you’re starting pass catchers, Hockenson and St. Brown are the two to go after, but Wes’ point about Jalen Ramsey potentially defending Hock for quite a bit of the game is interesting.
The Rams are simple. I’m starting the passing game studs across the board — Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods — and the usage is too good to ignore for TE Tyler Higbee. I think given the Lions’ struggles with big plays, you can make a case for DeSean Jackson as a wing-and-a-prayer guy this week.
One thing it is setting up for is a hell of a Darrell Henderson game. Back to Scott:
“Heading into Week 6, HC Sean McVay hinted that the team might employ more of a committee backfield moving forward. But that wasn’t at all true last week, with Henderson handling 21 of 30 carries and 3 of 3 targets out of the backfield, while playing on 82% of the team’s snaps, including 5 of 5 snaps inside the 10-zone.
And that’s been Henderson’s role all year — a full-on bell cow role on one of the most potent offenses in football. Excluding the fourth quarter of Week 2 (due to injury), Henderson is averaging: 17.1 carries, 3.4 targets, 103.4 YFS (RB8), 16.4 XFP (RB10), and 19.6 fantasy points per four quarters (RB5) on 84% of the team's snaps (RB2).
He’s a top-5 option this week, in a dream matchup against the Lions, who are giving up a league-high +11.6 schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing RBs. In other words, if Henderson gets 80% of the work out of the backfield this week, we should be expecting him to score 28.9 fantasy points this week. Detroit also ranks 8th-worst in YPC allowed (4.58), 4th-worst in rushing FPG allowed (17.5), worst in receiving FPG (14.8), and worst in total FPG allowed (32.2) to opposing RBs.”
Henderson’s backup, Sony Michel, is expected to play this week, though he is questionable with a shoulder injury.