Week 5 TNF Showdown: Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks

by Matt Babich · Matchups Start/Sit
tyler-lockett-fantasy-football

Advanced stats and analytics will be utilized to identify favorable matchups and players to avoid. The purpose of this article is to paint a picture of how the teams play and matchup with one another in less than 1,000 words.

As the season continues, less emphasis will be put on last season and early season’s stats. Vegas trends will also be implemented to help predict the game flow. I’ll conclude the article with a Cliff Notes section and give the readers my prediction for the game.

Welcome to the newest edition of Thursday Night Showdown. Similar to what the Salary Cap-tain has brought you on Monday nights, I’ll be guiding you through the important aspects to watch in each Thursday night matchup.

Without further ado, let’s get into the NFC West battle between the Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks.

Vegas Trends

  • The total has gone OVER in 6 of LA’s last 6 games.
  • LA Rams are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games against the Seahawks.
  • Matthew Stafford is 1-4 SU in his 5 games against the Seahawks.
  • Seattle are 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Seattle’s last 13 games.
  • Seattle are 1-3 SU in their 4 games as home underdogs against the Rams.

Los Angeles Rams

The Studs

Matthew Stafford has been ballin. So far in his debut with the Rams, he’s compiled 1,222 (No. 4 among qualified quarterbacks) passing yards, 11 (No. 2) passing touchdowns, and 23.1 (No. 8) Fantasy Points Per Game. He’s been as efficient as he’s ever been. Stafford has had trouble with the Seahawks in his career, but the Legion of Gloom has given up the fifth-most passing yards this season. Look for Stafford to explode in an NFC West Shootout.

Matthew Stafford 2021 Efficiency Metrics

Sony Michel is not going to happen while Darrell Henderson is active. Henderson is the team’s workhorse and is now facing the league’s worst rushing defense. What makes him so valuable is his usage in the passing game, checking in with a 62.9-percent (No. 5) Route Participation and a 12.5-percent (No. 14) Target Share. Henderson is a smash play tonight.

Will the real WR1 please stand up? Cooper Kupp currently leads all receivers with 25.7 (No. 1) Fantasy Points Per Game. Kupp has certainly enjoyed the quarterback transition, since his opportunity and productivity metrics are off the charts. Despite a down game, he still saw 13 targets last week and is an auto start tonight.

Cooper Kupp 2021 Opportunity & Productivity Metrics

In the post Gerald Everett world, Tyler Higbee‘s usage has shot up. He’s constantly on the field and running routes. Not only that, he’s seen a 13.4-percent (No. 17) Target Share en route to 9.1 (No. 15) Fantasy Points Per Game. He is a solid start this week.

The Other Guys

Robert Woods has been forgotten about in this new offense. He managed to score a touchdown last week to maintain relevance, but his 78.5-percent (No. 51) Route Participation and 21.3-percent (No. 59) Air Yards Share show little promise for production. His primary corner this week is D.J. Reed, who has held receivers to minimal success. Despite the poor secondary as a whole, Bobby Trees should be a sit tonight and is a risky DFS play.

Robert Woods 2021 Opportunity & Productivity Metrics

In non-DFS formats, neither Van Jefferson nor DeSean Jackson are reliable plays. However, in DFS both are intriguing. Jackson has the potential to go nuclear on a deep touchdown, but Jefferson has seen consistent usage and has run more routes. Jefferson faces Sidney Jones, who is ranked No. 108 in our Cornerback Rankings. It’s hard to believe we’ve come to this point, but I’m recommending starting Jefferson in DFS.

Seattle Seahawks

Chef Russ And His Running Backs

Let Russell Wilson Cook. Wilson hasn’t been scorching hot, but he’s been a consistent top 10 fantasy QB. His 0.75 Fantasy Points Per Dropback is impressive, but Seattle’s 27.3 (No. 29) Team Pass Plays Per Game isn’t. The problem with Russ lies in the team’s surprising +2.62 Game Script. With Seattle’s porous defense, this trend won’t last. Chef Russ is going to cook tonight in a negative Game Script matchup.

Chris Carson is a game-time decision with a neck injury. On a short week with no practices, his outlook doesn’t look good. Carson has received a dismal 40.8 (No. 30) Weighted Opportunities so far and has seen little passing game work. Alex Collins is the backup and should earn a decent workload regardless of Carson’s status. Collins had a nice outing on Sunday, scoring 16 PPR points. Sit Carson no matter what, and flex Collins if Carson sits.

The Pass Catchers

After a hot start, Tyler Lockett has cooled down the past two weeks. His opportunity shares are solid, with a 95.4-percent (No. 17) Route Participation and 36.7-percent (No. 19) Air Yards Share. However, it seems that only one WR in this offense can thrive in positive Game Script matchups. This week, Lockett finds himself opposite David Long, who has a -16.0 Coverage Rating. This is a boom week for Lockett.

D.K. Metcalf has the higher floor of the receiving core, and has either tied or led the team in targets in each game. He is crushing opportunity metrics, most impressively his 31.1-percent (No. 10) Target Rate. The bad side is that Metcalf squares up against Jalen Ramsey, who is PlayerProfiler’s top-ranked cornerback. It’s tough to admit, but Metcalf is at best a risky Flex play this week and might be better off on your bench.

D.K. Metcalf 2021 Opportunity & Productivity Metrics

If you’re a fan of revenge game narratives, let me introduce Gerald Everett. He’s questionable due to COVID, but it looks like he’ll test negative again today and be good to go. There’s not much beauty in his stats this year, but he does have a 70.9-percent (No. 12) Route Participation and 2.48 (No. 8) Fantasy Points Per Target (on only nine targets). His floor isn’t worth the risk if he goes, but he’s an interesting DFS option since D.K. might have trouble against Jalen Ramsey.

fantasy-football-dynasty-league-rankings

Cliff Notes

Conclusion

From a fantasy perspective, the start candidates for the Rams are the same as they have been all season. On the home side, Chris Carson is not set up for a relevant workload (but monitor Thursday injury reports just in case) and D.K. Metcalf is on the wrong side of a bad matchup.

The Rams are favored by 2.5 points and the total is set at 54.5 points. The Rams have the better team, and Seattle has been struggling to stop opponents. I like the Rams to cover the spread and the over because of the shootout potential, despite it being a trap total.

Prediction: Rams 30-27