Week 8 Game Hub: LAR-HOU

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Week 8 Game Hub: LAR-HOU

Los Angeles Rams (6-1, 4-3 ATS) at Houston Texans (1-6, 3-4), 1 p.m.

Brolley’s Rams Stats and Trends

  • The Rams haven’t gone over the total since Week 4 and they had a two-game ATS win streak snapped last week.

  • Matthew Stafford has thrown for multiple TDs in six of his seven games, and he’s thrown for 250+ yards in every game this season. He’s ripped two sub-par defenses in the Giants and Lions for 585/7 passing the last two weeks. Kyler Murray posted 261/3 passing for 22.4 FP against the Texans last week.

  • Cooper Kupp now leads the NFL in every major receiving category: receiving yards (809), catches (56), targets (81), and receiving TDs (9). D.J. Moore has the best WR fantasy performance against the Texans with 20.5 FP in Week 3, a mark that Kupp has surpassed in five of his seven games.

  • Robert Woods is doing the best he can playing next to the league’s top receiver. Kupp owns the league’s third-highest target share at 34% and Woods is getting by on a 21% share. He has double-digit FP in six of his seven games after securing all six of his targets for 70 yards last week against the Lions. A.J. Green posted 3/66 receiving in this matchup last week.

  • Van Jefferson has scored 14+ FP three times while falling below five FP three times. He saw a season-high seven targets (17% share) against the Lions, which he turned into 4/43/1 receiving and 14.3 FP on a season-best 94% snap share. The Texans have given up just three receiving TDs to WRs in the last six weeks.

  • Tyler Higbee continues to come up short of expectations despite owning one of the healthiest roles at the position. He’s run the seventh-most routes at the position and he’s been north of a 75% snap share in every game, with a 100% snap in 4-of-7 contests. He fell below double-digit FP for the fourth straight week against the Lions with 5/46 receiving on eight targets. The Texans have given up TDs to TEs in four straight games and five scores overall in that span.

  • Darrell Henderson had his worst performance of the season in a beautiful matchup against the Lions. He posted season-lows in FP (9.4) and scrimmage yards (64), but he still played 88% of the snaps. Henderson is in another ideal spot as two-touchdown road favorites against the Texans. James Conner and Chase Edmonds combined for 25/145/1 rushing in this matchup last week.

Brolley’s Texans Stats and Trends

  • The Texans are 1-4 ATS and 4-1 toward unders in their last five games.

  • Houston is back home this week, but t​​he Texans have been outscored 102-8 in their last three road games after giving up 31 consecutive points in their 31-5 loss to the Cardinals.

  • ​​HC David Culley has said that Tyrod Taylor is the team’s starting quarterback as soon as he’s healthy enough to return to action, and Taylor has a chance to play this week. Rookie Davis Mills has been horrendous outside of his 300-yard performance against the Patriots. We’ll see if the Texans go back to Tyrod when he’s completely healthy because Mills still does give this tanking team their best chance at losing. Taylor played well before his injury, totaling 40.1 FP in just six quarters of action. The Rams haven’t allowed an individual QB to reach double-digit FP in their last three games.

  • Brandin Cooks would love Tyrod to return this week as he’s fallen below double-digit FP in three of his last four games with Davis Mills out of the lineup, including a putrid 5/21 receiving on seven targets last week against the Cardinals. Cooks hung 14/212/1 receiving on 21 targets in the two games Tyrod appeared in to start the season. Kalif Raymond posted 6/115 receiving in this matchup last week and Kadarius Toney had 3/36 on just one drive against LA before leaving with an ankle injury.

  • Mark Ingram had been the most active Texans’ RB but it hasn’t translated to much fantasy success before his trade to New Orleans, including in Week 7 when he totaled 9/27 scrimmage on 38% of the snaps. David Johnson is starting to get more chances recently, including in Week 7 when he posted 7/25 rushing and 5/27 receiving on six targets on 54% of the snaps. The Rams are giving up the 14th-most FPG (25.1) to RBs this season.

Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies

Rams

Pace (seconds in between plays): 26.8 (8th)

Plays per game: 63.6 (26th)

Pass: 59.1% (20th) | Run: 40.9% (13th)

Texans

Pace: 29.8 (26th)

Plays per game: 61.3 (31st)

Pass: 59.5% (18th) | Run: 40.5% (15th)

Pace Points

The Texans have scored 9, 0, 22, 3, and 3 points with Davis Mills under center and their ineptitude on offense has effectively nuked any fantasy upside in their games simply because they can’t sustain drives. The Rams are averaging 2.84 points scored per drive – only the Bills and Cowboys (2.88) are better – and they could put up a 40 burger in Houston if they really tried. Hopefully they do try. Through seven games, the Texans are giving up the fourth-most points per drive and sixth-most yards per play.

Huber’s Key Matchup Notes

Tyler Higbee has had a quiet season for the 6-1 Rams. He currently ranks 17th with 9.1 FPG, drawn from a 14% target share (13th). If we’re being honest, nobody in the LAR offense has a chance to eat after Cooper Kupp takes his league-leading 11.3 targets/game and 28.9 FPG. But Kupp will run into a challenge on Sunday. If Matthew Stafford searches for a new home for some of that volume, he’ll find Higbee in a smash matchup. One of the primary defenders standing in Higbee’s way will be Christian Kirksey. He’s surrendered 1.05 YPCS (38th), 0.21 FP/CS (26th), 0.12 AY/CS (59th), and a 98.4 TPR (32nd). As a unit, Houston is approving the third-most FPG to TEs (18.5) and the most red zone touches/game (1.57).

With stellar coverage from Dont'e Deayon emerging from the slot, Ram CB Jalen Ramsey is free to focus on taking away the opposition's toys. That’s very bad news for Brandin Cooks in Week 8.

Dolan’s Vantage Points

Week 7 was a projected blowup game for Ram RB Darrell Henderson, but the Lions’ surprising competitiveness left him with a disappointing 9.4 FP in a game script that wasn’t terribly positive for the Rams.

Go back to the well this week on Hendo, though. Here’s Jake Tribbey for more:

“Henderson currently ranks 10th in touches per game (18.5), 5th in snaps per game (50.8), 4th in routes per game (26.0), 6th in goalline carries (7), but just 13th in FPG (16.6). Henderson’s mid-tier RB1 usage suggests his FPG should positively regress, and he’ll get a great chance to do that this week with the Rams as 15.0-point favorites against Houston. Henderson was Week 7’s highest owned RB, and he scored just 9.4 fantasy points on 18 touches. That brutal performance is sure to have soured some DFS players on Henderson, and should lower his Week 8 ownership despite another great matchup. Plus, I’m not sure anyone expected the Lions to come out the way they did — kicking a surprise onside kick in the first quarter, faking two punts, and playing incredibly aggressive up front defensively. That Lions’ game plan (which I thought was great, by the way), essentially stole the positive gamescript we all anticipated from Henderson and this Rams’ offense.

Houston, however, is a different story. They lack the kneecap biting intensity and aggression that has flooded the veins of Dan Campbell’s Lions, and instead have largely rolled over for their opponents, losing their last three games by an average of 19.0 points (worst), and giving up 157.3 rushing yards per game in the process (worst). And Houston ranks 6th-worst in PFF rushing grades (48.9 team rush defense grade) and 4th-worst in Football Outsiders rush defense DVOA (-0.2%). This is an outstanding matchup for an RB who is seeing strong enough usage to warrant being priced in the RB5-RB7 range on both DFS sites. Henderson should be one of the most popular RBs of Week 8, but arguably, he should be the highest-owned RB for the second week in a row given his current usage profile.”

This isn’t a DFS article, but all of Jake’s points remain the same. Hendo is an RB1 this week.

Y’all know that Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp are stellar plays. Robert Woods has been fine, but just hasn’t been BFFs with Stafford the way Kupp has.

But Van Jefferson could be emerging here now as a viable bench/FLEX option, now that the Rams lost blocking TE Johnny Mundt for the season.

I’m not sure how much the Rams will have to throw in this one, but you can convince me the matchup is good enough to roll with Jefferson as a WR3.

If it matters to your decision-making, Ram LT Andrew Whitworth (knee) is out.

If the Texans are going to have any fantasy relevance at all, they’re going to need Tyrod Taylor back at QB. Taylor, who has been out since Week 2 with a hamstring injury, returned to practice this week, and once he gets up to speed, he’s going to start. But that isn’t this week.

Look, if Mills were moving this offense even half decently, it would be prudent to play the rook the rest of the year since the Texans aren’t going anywhere, but the fact of the matter is Houston does not have a functioning offense. Moreover, Mills is a third-round pick — if he becomes a good backup that will be a solid result for that pick. He clearly needs more time to simmer.

Since Mills took the starting job (beginning in Week 3, so five games), here are all the fantasy performances from Texan skill players who have reached 10 FP in a PPR:

WR Brandin Cooks — Weeks 3 and 6

WR Chris Moore — Week 5

WR Chris Conley — Week 5

WR Anthony Miller (no longer on the team) — Week 3

RB David Johnson — Weeks 5 and 7

RB Mark Ingram — Week 6

So in five games, the Texans have eight total instances of a non-QB reaching just 10 FP. Six of them are from players still on the team following Ingram’s trade to New Orleans. Only two players — Cooks and Johnson — have done it twice. At least the Ingram trade opens more opportunities for DJ, but nothing I’m excited about.

Tyrod raises the ceiling and floor of this offense when he returns, but until further notice — and in this nasty matchup — the only player I want to even consider is Cooks in a #RevengeGame. Unfortunately, he might want to take revenge on his own team first (the following was immediately after the Ingram trade on Wednesday).

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