Seattle Seahawks (5-8, 7-6 ATS) at Los Angeles Rams (9-4, 6-7), apparently Tuesday
Brolley’s Seahawks Stats and Trends
Seattle is 10-3 toward unders this season, and they’re 6-1 toward unders in their last seven road games.
The Seahawks have covered and played over the total in consecutive games.
Russell Wilson has strung together three consecutive performances with two TDs with between 17.7-21.2 FP in those contests. He’s also averaged 7.9 YPA or more in three of his last four games. Russ suffered his mallet finger in this matchup against the Rams in early October. He completed 11/16 passes for 152 yards, one TD, and one INT in three quarters of action before leaving. Kyler Murray (19.4) and Aaron Rodgers (26.3) have had success in this matchup in two of the last three weeks.
Tyler Lockett has clearly emerged as the go-to receiver in Seattle’s offense since Wilson returned from his throwing-finger injury in Week 10. Lockett is coming off his fourth game with 26+ FP after hanging 5/142/1 receiving on nine targets against the Texans in Week 14, which gives him 12+ FP in four straight contests. He’s now averaging 4.2/88.8 receiving and 7.0 targets per game with two TDs since Week 10. Lockett and Wilson are connecting at 70.4% clip over the last four weeks for 22.2 YPR. Lockett would have been the preferred target again this week with Metcalf mostly locking horns with Jalen Ramsey, if Ramsey passes through COVID protocols, but Lockett landed in the COVID list himself. Freddie Swain will be the next man up in Seattle’s passing game with Penny Hart being elevated into the #3 WR role.
D.K. Metcalf has seen exactly eight targets in four of his five games since Wilson returned, but he’s failed to score more than 11 FP in any of those contests. He’s averaging just 3.4/34.6 receiving on 7.2 targets per game with no touchdowns in that span. Metcalf and Wilson are sitting at just 50% completion rate and 10.5 YPR over the last four weeks. He at least erupted for 5/98/2 receiving on five targets in this matchup in Week 5, but he’s clearly in a different place than he was 10 weeks ago.
Gerald Everett had a truly miserable performance in Week 13 with three plays that resulted in turnovers, but he bounced back with 2/15/1 receiving with a 13-yard carry for 10.8 FP against the Texans in Week 14. He’s hit double-digit FP in three of his five games since Wilson returned to the lineup. Everett didn’t play in this matchup earlier this season because of COVID, and Will Dissly managed just 2/29 receiving on four targets in his place.
Rashaad Penny planted his flag to potentially take over the backfield for the final four weeks of the season with an impressive performance in Week 14. He broke off touchdown runs from 32 and 47 yards away against the Texans on his way to posting 16/137/2 rushing (8.6 YPC) while playing 57% of the snaps. Alex Collins managed 7/16 rushing on a 23% snap share while Adrian Peterson sat with a back injury. HC Pete Carroll said he’ll continue to give Penny a shot to be the team’s lead back, but he also added that he’ll rotate his backs to keep them fresh. Collins will likely be out of the mix after landing on the COVID list this week. Penny didn’t play against the Rams earlier this season, and Seattle RBs combined for 20/59 rushing (3.0 YPC) and 5/70 receiving in this matchup.
Brolley’s Rams Stats and Trends
The Rams beat the Seahawks 26-17 back in early October as 2.5-point road favorites in a game totaled at 53.5 points.
Los Angeles is 1-5 ATS in its last six games as a favorite.
The Rams are 5-2-1 toward unders in their last eight games.
Matthew Stafford has had better statistical performances this season, but the first-year Rams QB had his most important performance of the season in Los Angeles’ Week 14 victory over the Cardinals. He completed 23/30 passes (76.7%) for 287 yards (9.6 YPA) and three touchdowns to thrust the Rams back into the NFC West title race. Stafford has now thrown for 3+ TDs in three consecutive games while averaging 8.3 YPA and 294.7 yards per game in that span. Stafford completed 25/37 passes for 365 yards (9.9 YPA), one TD, and one INT against the Seahawks in Week 5.
Cooper Kupp is pacing the league in every major receiving category including receptions (113), targets (151), yards (1489), and now receiving touchdowns (12). He hung a season-high 13 catches on the Cardinals last week for 123/1 receiving. For his lofty standards, Kupp posted a pedestrian 7/92 receiving on 10 targets against the Seahawks in early October.
Van Jefferson could see a little more volume this week with Odell Beckham landing on the COVID list this week. He’s riding a three-game scoring streak with 14+ FP in each of those games, and he had seen 7+ targets in four straight games before seeing just three looks in Week 14. Jefferson managed just a 16-yard catch on four targets when these teams met in Week 5, while Robert Woods (ACL, IR) dominated with 12/150 receiving.
Tyler Higbee could also take on a slightly bigger role in the passing game after he missed last week for a false-positive COVID result. He’s reached double-digit FP just twice in his last nine games, but he’s at least seen 5+ targets in four straight contests. Higbee caught both of his targets for 14 yards and a touchdown in this matchup in Week 5.
Sony Michel has played all but two snaps the last two weeks with Darrell Henderson dealing with a quad injury in Week 13 before landing on the COVID list before Week 14. Michel racked up 44/200 rushing (4.5 YPC) in those two games but he’s been a non-factor as a receiver with 3/8 receiving on five targets. Michel should stick as the top runner at least for this week even if Henderson is cleared in time to play. Henderson posted 17/82/1 rushing and Michel added 11/37/1 rushing in this matchup in early October. The Seahawks are facing a league-high 26.5 rushing attempts per game from RBs but they’re allowing just 3.7 YPC on those carries.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 27.1 (8th)
Plays per game: 55.0 (32nd)
Pass: 61.9% (13th) | Run: 38.1% (20th)
Pace: 27.4 (12th)
Plays per game: 62.3 (19th)
Pass: 67.3% (3rd) | Run: 32.7% (30th)
All pace / play data is from the last eight weeks.
While the Seahawks are playing faster and getting to the line quicker in between plays, it hasn’t led to more volume offensively. Over the last eight weeks, Seattle is dead last in plays per game and 31st in time of possession per drive (2:16). Because HC Pete Carroll constantly emphasizes the wrong things, Seattle can’t have nice things. We saw their play volume spike to 68 plays against the 49ers but it fell back down last week as the Seahawks ran just 57 plays against the Texans.
The Rams are dealing with the worst of the NFL’s COVID outbreak as 25 of their players are in the protocol as of Friday morning. While they will be down multiple starters and miss key depth, their outbreak hasn’t affected their offense too badly… yet. If Matthew Stafford steers clear, the Rams are going to come out and do what they do here: Throw the ball. Over the last eight weeks, L.A. is the third-most pass-heavy team in close games, they are sixth in pass rate when leading, and second when trailing.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
And I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Van Jefferson will find the end zone for the fourth week in a row. The timing of Odell Beckham Jr.’s lacement on the COVID list while Jefferson has been blazing hot could foreshadow big things this week. An additional 20% of the target share floating around is not going to be eaten up by Cooper Kupp. He’s already taking on a ridiculous target share each week.
The number of alterations that will unfold from now until Sunday’s kickoff will change the entire landscape of Week 15. This was, by a wide margin, the craziest week in the NFL since the beginning of the COVID pandemic. And the Seahawks have DK Metcalf missing multiple practices this week, to boot, with Tyler Lockett already on the COVID list.
We have no way of knowing if Dont'e Deayon will be available to hold down the slot against D’Wayne Eskridge and Freddie Swain. If not, Terrell Burgess will hold down the role. We just can’t extend reasonable expectations with less than 50 snaps in coverage from Burgess. Gerald Everett could be headed for added opportunities… against a LAR defense shutting down TE production.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
NOTE: Because of COVID, this game is reportedly being moved to Tuesday.
With Odell Beckham on the COVID list and potentially out for this weekend’s game, Scott Barrett examined two schools of thought on WR Cooper Kupp, ultimately landing on Kupp being a must-play in DFS and obviously in season-long. From the XFP Report:
“Kupp not only leads all WRs in receptions, yards, and touchdowns — the esteemed triple crown — but he’s pacing the league in each stat, and, most importantly, by FPG. He averages 28% more FPG (+4.8) than the next-closest WR (Davante Adams). And yet, he’s just $100 more expensive than Adams on DraftKings this week.
Most Fantasy Points (PPR) by a WR in any Season All-Time— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) December 14, 2021
1. COOPER KUPP, 2021 (438.5*)
2. Jerry Rice, 1995 (414.0)
3. Antonio Brown, 2015 (388.2)
4. Antonio Brown, 2014 (386.9)
5. Randy Moss, 2007 (385.3)
6. Marvin Harrison, 2002 (384.2)
*on pace for
At $9,000, he’s (merely) priced like a high-end WR1, but nothing quite like a WR one pace for the single-greatest fantasy season of all-time. His 27.7 DK FPG leads all players at all positions (including QBs). And, among WRs, it ranks 2nd-most all-time, just 0.1 DK FPG behind Jerry Rice’s famed 1995 season.
Seattle is glaringly the league’s top slot-funnel defense, ranking 7th-worst in FPG allowed to slot WRs (15.9) but 2nd-best in FPG allowed to outside WRs (15.1). And we saw Houston try to take advantage of this vulnerability last week. Brandin Cooks was running just 30% of his routes from the slot, but that jumped to 62% last week. And it worked; he scored 21.1 DK fantasy points (most since Week 3), with 83% of his receiving yards coming from the slot.
Kupp naturally runs 67% of his routes from the slot. Though Seattle did somewhat hold him in check in their last meeting (Week 5), when he scored only 16.2 fantasy points (his 2nd-worst outing of the year). Still, he exceeded 90 receiving yards; a feat he’s accomplished in an astounding 12 of 13 games this year.
Odell Beckham Jr. is in COVID protocols and is expected to miss Sunday’s game. That should be beneficial to Kupp, as he leaves behind the 7.3 targets per game he’s received over the last three weeks. But you can also argue that maybe his absence hurts Kupp, and will lead towards more shaded safeties, bracket coverage, and/or double coverage.”
Really, the story for the Rams here is if Beckham, Darrell Henderson, and others will clear the league’s relaxed COVID testing protocols by Sunday. For that, I have no answers. If Beckham and Hendo don’t clear, that’s obviously a boost to Van Jefferson, Kupp, Sony Michel, and TE Tyler Higbee (who did clear), but a problem for QB Matthew Stafford.
Not only has Seahawk RB Alex Collins been added to the COVID list, but Rashaad Penny had the best game of his difficult career so far last week. Here’s Jake Tribbey from DFS Early Look with a look at Penny:
“Penny absolutely smashed after Pete Carroll said he would “be a big part” of the game plan in Week 14, earning a 57% snap share and 63% of backfield opportunities. He scored rushing TDs on runs of 32 and 47 yards and easily looked like Seattle’s best rusher on his way to 26.8 fantasy points — the 2nd-best mark of any RB this week. With how unimpressive DeeJay Dallas and Alex Collins have been this season, it’s easy to envision Penny’s role expanding further in Week 15.
If Penny can capture just 70% of RB production in a backfield averaging 19.7 FPG, then we are looking at somewhere in the realm of 13.8 FPG. That may not sound particularly impressive, but among slate-eligible RBs, 13.8 FPG ranks 11th-best. And keep in mind Penny is priced as a low-end RB2 for this slate on both sites.
With that said, this matchup with the Rams and the projected gamescript aren’t exactly favorable. Los Angeles has allowed -4.5 schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing RBs over their last 5 games (7th-toughest), and the Seahawks are 7.0-point underdogs, so there is a real risk Penny and Seattle won’t be able to establish the run in this contest. Still, Penny led all Seattle RBs with a 48% backfield route share last week, so he should retain the lion’s share of pass game involvement if Travis Homer (calf) is unable to play.
Rashaad Penny had a breakout performance in Week 14, but consider that came against a Texans team ranked 28th in run defense DVOA and that increases opponent run plays by 13% per game. The Rams this week are 2nd in run defense DVOA.— Scott Spratt (@Scott_Spratt) December 14, 2021
This is a risky play. But, getting Penny touches to justify selecting him in Round 1 in 2018 may very well be at the top of Pete Carroll’s priority list given the Seahawks have little else to play for. And, we’ve really never seen what a fully-healthy Penny in a high-volume role looks like. He’s only earned 12 or more touches in 4 career games, and in those games, he’s averaged 22.3 FPG. So maybe, just maybe, he’s actually really good and has just been astonishingly unlucky with injuries thus far in his career.”
Rashaad Penny has earned 12 or more touches in just 4 career games.— Jake Tribbey (@JakeTribbey) December 13, 2021
His per-game averages in those games:
Hear me out...
Maybe he's really good?
“Metcalf hasn’t done much of anything since Seattle’s Week 9 bye, averaging just 6.9 FPG, compared to 18.1 FPG in Weeks 1 through 8.
But, even so, he’s mostly just been unlucky. From Weeks 10 through 13, Metcalf still averaged 14.2 XFP per game, which is actually more than he averaged in the first 8 weeks of the season (12.8 XFP per game). He isn’t dealing with any serious injuries, so it’s reasonable to expect the Metcalf of old to return sooner rather than later.
And, at least to me, it looks like Week 15 is setting up as an ideal ‘buy-low’ spot for Metcalf. Jalen Ramsey was just placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, casting his Week 15 availability into doubt. And even with a healthy Ramsey, the Rams are giving up +2.6 schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing WRs (10th-worst). In each of Metcalf’s last 2 games against LAR, he has scored at least 26.6 fantasy points. He’s very capable of posting stellar performances against this defense.
It’s always difficult to roster players who have been struggling as of late. But there’s very little evidence to suggest Metcalf is 6.9 FPG-bad, or even anywhere close to that.”
“Since Week 10, Everett ranks 11th (tie) in targets per game (5.8), 6th (tie) in receptions per game (4.4), 13th (tie) in red zone targets (5), 10th in routes (133), and 11th in FPG (9.4) among TEs. In fact, over that 5 game stretch, Everett has just 7 fewer targets (27) than both Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf (34). And after seeing no more than 5 targets in any of his first 6 games, Everett has eclipsed 6 targets in 3 of his last 5.
Pete Carroll heavily implied post-draft that Everett would be Seattle’s “third receiving option” and that finally seems to be coming true in the 2nd-half of the season.
Week 15 appears to be a solid spot for Everett, as the Rams are giving up the 10th-most schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing TEs (+1.5). And the Seahawks are 7.0-point underdogs, so more likely than not, this will be one of Seattle’s high volume passing games. Russell Wilson has attempted more than 40 passes just once this year, but in that game, Everett saw 8 targets, recorded a season-high 63 receiving yards, and scored 14.3 fantasy points. If Seattle gets down big early, Everett is sure to be a beneficiary of increased passing volume.”
Keep in mind that the only WR on the Seahawks’ active roster to practice on Thursday was Penny Hart, as Metcalf (back, foot), Swain (ankle), and Dee Eskridge (foot) all were sidelined. It’s very possible that coach Pete Carroll and staff are taking it super easy given Lockett was placed on the COVID list, but it’s something that must be monitored.
The Rams still have some critical COVID issues on their defense, including CB Jalen Ramsey and EDGE Von Miller, so again, it’s whether or not they can clear the NFL’s relaxed testing protocols.