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ST. LOUIS (vs. N.E. in London):
Posted Oct. 24 at 09:50 AM
The Rams should lose, but they should manage to score a couple of superfluous touchdowns, and those count just as much in fantasy leagues. The Rams’ offense is showing slight signs of respectability, while New England’s defense is nothing special. The Patriots have allowed over 20 points in five straight games. If the Rams can sneak up to around 20 points (and we think they can) they’ll have some viable fantasy options. ... New England has one of the leakier pass defenses in the league. Last year, the Patriots allowed 4,977 gross passing yards, the 2nd-most in NFL history. They’re trying to get that fixed, but they’re really not that much better this year -- at least not yet. They’re currently on pace to give up 4,823 yards -- 301 per game. Joe Flacco, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Peyton Manning all passed for over 340 yards against them, with a combined 10 TDs. Russell Wilson went for 293 and 3 TDs. Mark Sanchez went for 328 yards and a touchdown last week. If Wilson and Sanchez can put up above-average passing numbers, you’ve got to concede Sam Bradford could be a top-15 quarterback this week. Bradford has
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been coming on anyway. He’s thrown for 315 and 255 yards the last two weeks, against the Dolphins and Packers. Granted, both of those pass defenses have also had some issues, and Bradford threw only 1 TD in those eight quarters. But there’s some value here. The way the Patriots are playing right now, it looks very possible -- likely, in fact -- that Bradford will pass for 270-plus yards and a couple of touchdowns. The multiple touchdowns will be the harder part of that contract to fulfill, but consider that 80 percent of St. Louis’ touchdowns (8 of 10) have come on passes, while 84 percent of the touchdowns the Patriots have allowed (16 of 19) have come on passes. If the Rams score about 17-20 points in this game, it likely will be with a couple of touchdown passes. We like Bradford. ... Brandon Gibson looks like a viable wide receiver. He’s their go-to guy now; Danny Amendola is out for a few more weeks. And there should be plenty of catches and yards to be had this week. Since Amendola got hurt, Gibson has caught 12 passes for 151 yards in two games. If our hunch is correct and the Rams put up something like 260-300 passing yards in this game, Gibson probably will challenge for 100 yards. He’s legit for this week. His value isn’t as high in a TD-only format, but he’s caught 2 TDs this season. ... Chris Givens also makes some sense. He’s just a rookie and far from finished product, but he’s got the speed to get behind defenses. Four games in a row, he’s had a reception over 50 yards. That’s remarkable. Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald have never done that. Mike Wallace is a great deep threat, but he’s never done that. Jerry Rice never did that. There’s some talent there, and it’s a leaky secondary he’ll work against. You can be sure they’ll uncork a couple of deep balls in his direction. It’s a hit-or-miss crapshoot, but maybe one of those will result in a 70-yard touchdown. ... We’re putting Lance Kendricks higher than usual. He’s having just a so-so year. He’s caught only 16 passes and one touchdown in seven games. He’s not a big part of their passing game. But maybe that changes this week. It’s definitely a soft pass defense, and other tight ends have had big games against them. Dennis Pitta had a monster day against them back in Week 3. Dustin Keller caught 7 for 93 and a touchdown against the Patriots last week. Kendricks has a Pitta-Keller type skill set. They could try to do a lot more with him this week. New England has allowed tight ends to catch 5 TDs in the last five weeks. ... We don’t have much interest in the running game. Steven Jackson is the starter, but they’ve gone to a committee approach. Daryl Richardson should get 30-40 percent of the work. And the Patriots are way better against the run anyway. New England ranks 28th against the pass but a solid 8th against the run. And the Patriots have given up only 3 TDs on runs all year. The Rams, meanwhile, have scored only 2 rushing touchdowns, so that’s a combined 5 TDs in 14 games. At best, you’re looking at about a one-in-three chance of a rushing touchdown (and then you would have to calculate at that point whether it would be Jackson or Richardson to score it). ... The Rams Defense has been pretty good. It’s got 21 sacks and 8 interceptions. On pace, in other words, to finish the year with 48 sacks and 18 picks. But this is a below-average situation. Tom Brady has thrown only 3 interceptions, and he’s taken only 14 sacks (2 per game). Factoring in that a whole bunch of those St. Louis sacks came in that game against Arizona’s overmatched offensive line, we’re figuring you should look for about 1-2 sacks, with maybe a 50 percent chance of an interception. ... Greg Zuerlein is having a great year -- a Pro Bowl year. He’s already kicked 5 field goals over 50 yards, so he’ll probably break the league record of 8 in a season. He was just wide on a 66-yard attempt. Based in a dome, he looks like the frontrunner to be the guy to finally take down (not just tie) Tom Dempsey’s record 63-yarder. Typically, we tend to strongly favor kickers who play on the better teams (they tend to attempt more field goals and extra points). But Zuerlein is a mold buster. Just hope the Rams don’t fall way behind early.
Posted by BILL REHOR | Oct. 24 at 01:16 PM
Hi Ian/Andy, I was hoping for some guidance on tonight's waiver claims. With the news that Amendola has returned to practice, I'm thinking about picking him up. Assuming he returns in a week or two, where do you expect him to rank ROS? Is he a top 30 WR in a non-PPR? Thanks as always!
Posted by IAN ALLAN | Oct. 24 at 02:10 PM
I expect he'll probably return in a couple of weeks. He catches some balls -- a nice option in PPR. Not as valuable, I think, in your format. If he plays the final seven games, I think you'd probably get about 35-40 catches for about 400 yards. Maybe 2 TDs. Could make sense to bring him in as a depth guy.
Posted by JEFF FOSTER | Oct. 26 at 03:33 PM
Just a thoughr, but maybe patriots give up more on the groynd than normal. Reasons: jet lag. The rams got thwre tuesday. They fell fine now, but patriots arrivwd friday.. jet lag usually takes two days to hit and when it does it can really drain you..(happened to our rugby team)..day two for ne is sunday......also something about the patiots' tone suggests they are overlooking rhe rams...(including their late arrival.)..I have brady so I hope im wrong...
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