– Thursday Night Football Preview –
LA Rams at Seattle Seahawks
Spread: Seahawks -1.5 | Over/Under 49
The NFL season is entering Week 5 and that means it’s time for a divisional matchup on Thursday night. For this week I won’t be diving specifically into the DraftKings Showdown slate, but rather focusing on previewing the game for all fantasy football purposes. But for those still interested in the DraftKings Showdown contests, as always make sure you check out some general strategy for Showdown contests in my article from Week 1. For this piece, I will focus on providing the facts behind your start and sit decisions in this particular matchup between the Rams and Seahawks. Hopefully, this one will be as thrilling as last week’s affair.
- The Seahawks are undefeated (8-0) when leading at the end of the first half since last season
- The Seahawks are 18-8 (.692) when committing less than 60 yards in penalties since 2016
- The Seahawks are 20-7 (.741) when intercepting at least 1 pass since the start of the 2016 season
- The Seahawks are 5-7-1 (.385) when the opposing team rushes more than 30 times since the start of the 2016 season
- The Seahawks are 9-11-1 (.429) when rushing less than 25 times since the start of the 2016 season
- The Seahawks are 9-2 (.818) when forcing at least one fumble since the start of last season
- The Rams are 12-1 (.923) when averaging more than 5 yards per rush since the start of 2016
- The Rams are 15-1 (.938) when making 3 or more explosive runs in-game since the start of 2016
- The Rams are 16-1 (.941) when average starting field position is better than their own 30
- The Rams are 16-5 (.762) when committing less than 60 yards in penalties since 2017
- The Rams are 16-5 (.762) when passing for more than 250 yards since the start of the 2017 season
- The Rams are 20-7 (.741) when allowing less than 3 sacks since the start of the 2017 season
The analysis here screams that Russell Wilson is the much better play than Jared Goff. Nine times out of ten Wilson will outscore Goff easily at home in Seattle. Goff’s home/road splits are absolutely atrocious. Last season his rating at home was 116.7 with his average yards per attempt at 10.04 and 342.1 passing yards per game. On the road last season his rating was 82.7 with his average yards per attempt at 6.77 and 243.9 passing yards per game. His touchdown-interception ratio at home was 22-3 versus 10-9 on the road. In 2019 through four weeks it has been a similar story. So far in 2019 on the road, his average yards per attempt are at 4.92 to go along with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Not to mention his 227 passing yards per game.
In total over his last ten road games, he has a 13-12 touchdown-interception ratio. He also has 14 fumbles in his last thirteen games. There is absolutely no reason to start Goff on a short week in Seattle outside of a contrarian leverage play in DFS. The one silver lining being with Goff is that last year he did throw for 300 yards twice against the Seahawks. Albite when he was on the road he also threw two interceptions. So do not trust Goff in Week 5, but how about Wilson? Can he get the job done after a lackluster performance in Week 4?
Well, for Wilson to absolutely smash as a quarterback he needs to let the game flow not dictate the Seahawks to just rely on the running game. However, even if that does happen Wilson has shown through his extreme efficiency that he can still put up respectable fantasy numbers despite the lower passing volume. However, this game does project a heavier flow of running though for the Seahawks. This is based on the fact that the Rams this season rank second to last in points per game scored in the first quarter. Realistically the ceiling in Week 3 might not be there for Wilson, but considering the Rams’ secondary was absolutely shredded by Jameis Winston a week ago they can obviously be beaten by excellent quarterback play. So make sure you have Wilson in your starting lineup. In his last two games versus the Rams, Wilson has thrown for six touchdowns, and zero interceptions going 30-47 for a total of 374 passing yards. He is the safest quarterback to play in cash games for DFS slates.
This could be another huge game for Chris Carson. You are starting him of course regardless of whether or not Rashaad Penny plays in the game. As of early-week reports, Penny should be good to go. The Seahawks showed confidence in Carson last week and he came up big against the Cardinals. He was charted from Sports Info Solutions breaking a whopping 21 tackles. An utterly impressive performance by Carson which should roll over into Thursday. The Rams this season have allowed the second-most rushing touchdowns to the running back position. On the road this season the Rams have allowed 111 rushing yards per game versus just 72.5 at home. Their yards per attempt allowed on the ground is at 4.7 versus 2.9 at home. Last season when Carson played the Rams he rushed for 116 yards on 19 carries. Good for a solid 6.11 yards per attempt. Carson has not scored for three straight weeks and with his touch usage, this could be his breakout performance where he sees multiple trips to the endzone.
For the Rams, proving the doubters wrong could also be on display for Todd Gurley owners. Gurley is obviously still a starter this week and his receiving work last week was extremely encouraging moving forward. His ten targets, seven receptions and 34 routes run were all season-highs. Gurley had just five targets and four receptions through the first three weeks of the season. Now, the targets are slightly inflated because of the massive amounts of passing attempts from Goff last week, but at the beginning of the game, it was clear the Rams were trying to get Gurley more involved in the passing game. A lot of screen and quick pass plays were drawn up for Gurley. If Gurley continues to see more passing-work this is a great spot to leverage it versus the Seahawks. Seattle has allowed the third-most receiving yards and eighth-most receptions to the running back position. Gurley has also scored a combined seven touchdowns in his last two games in Seattle.
The Rams up until last week were very good against the wide receiver position. They were then shredded by Chris Godwin for 12 receptions for 172 receiving yards and two touchdowns last week. He did a ton of damage out of the slot compiling seven receptions for 106 receiving yards on nine targets. This should carry over quite nicely for Tyler Lockett versus the Rams in Week 5. Lockett has played 72.7% of his snaps from the slot this season. That is ninth-highest in the NFL and number one on the Seahawks. 75% of Lockett’s total targets this season have come from him running a route from the slot position. He is an excellent play this week. D.K. Metcalf is also an interesting sleeper play in this matchup. The Rams have given up more fantasy points in particular to receivers that are bigger in size. Big-bodied guys like Godwin, Mike Evans, and Michael Thomas have all scored double-digit fantasy points versus the Rams this season. Metcalf leads the Seahawks in red-zone targets (six) but has zero receptions so far. That should change soon.
On the Rams side, I will rank the receivers as Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks, and then Robert Woods. Kupp has received at least nine targets in all four games this season making him the safest of all three. The matchup is not great with the Seahawks allowing the ninth-fewest fantasy points to the receiver position. However, we did see back in Week 1, that John Ross went for huge numbers against this suspect Seattle secondary. It’s possible we could see that replicated for a guy like Cooks to potentially having a huge game versus Tre Flowers who will see his coverage. As I mentioned in the Quarterbacks section, the Rams have started slowly in 2019. What better way to break that trend by hitting Cooks deep to start the game. Cooks has three straight games with at least 71 yards receiving and has 21 targets over the last two games.
At their current pace, Rams receivers Cooper Kupp (1,552), Robert Woods (1,228) and Brandin Cooks (1,184) each would finish the season with more than 1,000 yards receiving.
— Gary Klein (@LATimesklein) September 30, 2019
You’ve got to keep rolling with Will Dissly. Tight end is a barren wasteland and Dissly has a major role within the Seattle offense. The matchup is not great on paper, but Dissly is tied for third in the NFL in red-zone targets with Metcalf. He just needs one touchdown to validate a start. But based on regression to the mean, I would expect Metcalf to see his touchdown number go up in this game instead of Dissly.
Through the first two weeks of the season, the Seahawks had allowed 17 total targets to the tight end position. Over the last two weeks that dropped down to just three targets versus the Saints and Cardinals. Those teams do not feature tight ends in their offense. So any sleeper appeal for guys like Gerald Everett or Tyler Higbee is thrown out the window for me. Those guys are just not involved in the offense enough. Also, Kupp’s role on the Rams is very similar to that of a “move” tight end so he takes on any production those guys could potentially receive.
The Rams are coming off a tough home loss to go on the road in a short week. Seattle is favored by -2 with the total of the game coming in at 49 points. Via @BT_Sportsbets on Twitter, the Rams are 5-1 in their last six games against the spread and are 3-1 in their last four games in Seattle. Also, the Rams are averaging 29.3 points per game this season and the Seahawks are averaging 25.8 points/game this season. Though Seattle is a presumed tough place to play, the Seahawks have not played well at home this year. They barely beat a winless Bengals club and lost to a backup game manager quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The Rams are the best team they will have faced all year, so I believe the Rams will win outright on the road.
Final score 32-24, Rams over Seattle on Thursday night!
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