Now that we have two weeks in the books we can start to compare data points and identify trends that occurred in both weeks to make some preliminary conclusions on how teams and players will perform this season. We can also start to see play calling tendencies (run/pass ratios) to begin to modify the expectations we had coming into the season based on personnel changes and last year’s results.
At this point in the season, I do still include last year’s statistics as part of my model but will give the edge to the eye test if the overall numbers don’t back up what I am seeing watching the games or what my gut tells me will happen. Overall, my recommendations and prediction fared better last week than in Week 1 and I expect a positive trend to continue as we gather more data points for this season. So, let’s move onto Week 3 where there are some interesting options to consider.
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Note: DVOA referenced in this article stands for Defense-adjusted Value Over Average which is a metric from FootballOutsiders.com.
So, let’s get right to the numbers and analysis…
Los Angeles Rams @ San Francisco 49ers
|Los Angeles Rams||44||50||27||70||59||31||54||47||39.5|
|San Francisco 49ers||35||56||20||52||27||45||55||39||-2.5|
The Rams travel north to meet the 49ers in San Francisco on Thursday night after splitting their first two games at home. The offense behind Todd Gurley has been playing well and will again be the focus of the offense this week. While the 49ers appear to have made improvements to their run defense they still rank 23rd in rushing yards allowed to opposing RBs but have not allowed a rushing TD through the first two games. So, while Gurley should be able to gain some yardage, he may find it difficult to find the end zone on the ground. Jared Goff will lead a Rams’ passing attack that ranks 8th in passing yardage through the first two weeks but will face a stingy 49ers defense that ranks 5th in passing yards allowed. Goff will be limited in his yardage but could have success in the red zone hooking up with secondary receivers such as Cooper Kupp.
When the 49ers have the ball look for them to also focus on the ground game behind Carlos Hyde who is averaging 7.0 yards per carry through the first two games. Meanwhile, the Rams’ run defense has been lit up for 147.5 rushing yards per game (5.09 YPC) to opposing RBs this season and three rushing TDs. With the focus on the running game, Brian Hoyer and the passing game will have limited opportunities which will result in low fantasy output against a Rams’ defense that ranks 4th in passing yards allowed while allowing just one touchdown pass this season. The best chance for success for the 49ers passing game could be a deep ball to speedster Marquise Goodwin as the Rams have allowed 15.38 yards per catch against opposing WRs this season which ranks 28th.
- Cooper Kupp (*)
- Carlos Hyde (**)
- Marquise Goodwin (*)