Game Overview ::
- The Rams like to lean on the run, and this game sets up well for them to do so
- Washington has been better on defense than they’ve appeared on the surface, with turnovers and short drives on offense giving opponents far too many chances
- The Rams have controlled games thoroughly enough that they’re actually notching/allowing among the fewest drives per game in the league
- The Rams are highly likely to be playing from in front, but this game might track down a notch or two from some other Washington games
- There’s nothing unexpected on the Rams in DFS, and there’s nothing unexpected on Washington
How Los Angeles Will Try To Win ::
After the nearly-twice-as-long-as-normal writeup for Panthers // Falcons, we flow into two games that are far more straightforward (or…so I think, as I begin diving into research; though I’ll note that I did have a deleted paragraph at the top of the Panthers // Falcons game that had talked about how straightforward that one appeared…so I guess we’ll see what the research has to say).
L.A. has been emphatic this year in their desire to win games on the ground. On early downs with the game within seven points, they are running the ball 54% of the time — good for the eighth most in the league…but in all situations, they are running the ball 51% of the time — good for third most in the league. In fact (and this probably tells the story best of all), when trailing by two scores or more, the Rams have run the ball on 50% of early-down plays. Cleveland has run the ball on 51% of early-down plays. No other team with more than 10 plays “trailing by two or more scores” has run the ball more. As the Rams play in the unbelievably difficult NFC West, they aren’t guaranteed to make the playoffs, but they are very clearly a playoff-caliber team, while the Washington Football Team will be competing for a top five draft pick this season. All signs point to the Rams playing from in front in expected game flow here, and all signs point to them leaning on the run in order to control this game.
How Washington Will Try To Win ::
Washington will try to win this game with prayer and good fortune.
L.A. ranks seventh in DVOA against the pass, and they have held Dallas (17), Philly (19), and the Giants (9) to under 20 points. Dak had his only game under 450 yards against the Rams, with 266 yards. Wentz has struggled all year, but he threw zero touchdowns and two picks vs the Rams. And Daniel Jones looked worse against the Rams than he looked against the Steelers and Bears, and he looked as bad as he looked vs the 49ers. This week, Washington projects to be chasing points, and they are turning their team over to Kyle Allen.
Expect Washington to take some shots downfield — knowing that they’ll need points in order to win — but against an L.A. team forcing the seventh shallowest opponent aDOT and allowing the eighth fewest pass plays of 20+ yards, Washington’s best bet for a win will be playing keepaway for as much of this game as they can against the 28th-ranked run defense (DVOA) of the Rams.
Likeliest Game Flow ::
Similar to the Bucs last season, the Washington defense has looked worse than it is. Only 10 teams are allowing more points per game than Washington, but this defense quietly ranks fifth in drive success rate, second in yards allowed per drive, and second in plays allowed per drive. They rank eighth in third down defense (unfortunately for them, the Rams rank fourth in third down offense), and they even rank 17th in red zone touchdown defense. Only Philly and Dallas have more giveaways than Washington, and only two teams have been worse at sustaining drives than Washington. As noted previously in the NFL Edge: Washington is tied for the most opponent drives allowed per game.
With the Rams’ ground-leaning approach and slower pace of play (re: pace of play — the Rams average roughly 28.5 seconds between plays regardless of whether they’re in a neutral situation or not; this has them showing as the “eighth fastest” team in situation-neutral pace — but because they’re playing at roughly this pace all the time, they rank 23rd in overall pace), the Rams have had the ball for the second fewest drives per game and faced the fourth fewest opponent drives per game. Boil it all down, and what has made Washington look so bad is not production-per-drive, but is instead the huge boost in total drives they’re facing. The Rams, meanwhile, intentionally create fewer drives in a game (and if Washington turns the ball over, they’ll just keep controlling this game and giving Washington less time with the ball). There’s no reason a powerful offense like the Rams can’t score four or five times in a spot like this — but the Over/Under of 45.0 is toward the higher end of what should be expected here. The Rams should be playing from in front and controlling this game, and this should lead to fewer drives all the way around than we’ve been seeing in Washington games so far (Washington games are averaging 12 drives per team, per game; the Rams are averaging 9.5).
DFS+ Interpretation ::
- WAS currently ranks 3rd in pass eff def after facing Wentz, Murray, Mayfield, Lamar
- The LAR have faced defenses ranked 25th, 16th, 17th, 24th in pass eff def
- WAS is tied-3rd with 5 INT
- Goff has thrown 20 INT in his last 22 games
- Goff in two close wins: totaled 475 yds, TD, INT // In blowout win: 267 yds, 3 TD // ultra-comeback mode: 321 yds 2 TD, INT, rush TD
- Goff has been between 27-32 pass att in each game
- Lamar & Murray added 30 DK pts on the ground, so WAS’s passing DK pts allowed read: 15.8 (Wentz) // 14.44 (Murray) // 14.24 (Baker) // 14.72 (Lamar)
- WAS has allowed the fewest DK pts to WRs through four weeks, with Hopkins (20.8) being the only to reach 20 DK pts
- WAS has allowed a multitude of WRs to connect once or twice deep, but the deep passing game has mostly disappeared from this offense without Cooks, with Goff tying Brees for the lowest average intended air yds in 2020
- Van Jefferson caught two balls over 20+ air yds in first two weeks but has since barely seen the field
- Woods has two solid games (119 & 104 total yds + 1 TD) and two mostly duds (33 & 37 totals yds + 1 TD)
- Woods has now seen the same or less targets than Kupp in each of the last three games, but he is also getting 2 rush att/g and has 6 RZ touches to Kupp’s 3
- With Higbee running just 56.6% routes, Kupp has gone back to his higher usage role (23 targets in past 3 games) and has total yardages of 100, 107, 71 to go with 2 TDs
- Higbee does get a nice matchup considering WAS has been hit by TEs for the 6th most DK pts thanks to 5 TDs allowed to the position
- This crowded backfield, that looked to be led by Henderson after Weeks 2-3 before Brown out-touched & out-produced him in Week 4, is expected to return Week 1 projected starter Cam Akers
- WAS ranks 18th in rush eff def and only Chubb has posted a good score (27 DK pts)
- In 13 games with Ramsey, the LAR defense has only allowed 3 QBs to top 20 DK pts (Dalton, Lamar, Allen)
- The Rams have 16 forced TOs in those 13 games
- In 14 career games, Kyle Allen has thrown 16 int and lost 7 fumbles
- With Kyle Allen, DJ Moore surpassed 20 DK pts 4 times in 12 games (20.1, 24, 34.4, 23.3) while averaging 5.8 rec (9.1) for 84.1 yds, 0.3 TD
- McLaurin is currently averaging 6.5 rec (9.8) for 96.8 yds, 0.3 TD
- LAR have allowed 9 WRs to surpass 40 rec yds, but just 3 above 64 yds: Cooper (81), Davis (81), Beasley (100)
- #1 WRs vs LAR have scored: 18.1 (Cooper) // 12.4 (DJax) // 14.9 (Diggs) // 7.8 (Slayton)
- LAR have allowed an average of 20.5 att 99.3 rush yds and 5.3 rec 51.5 rec yds to RBs
- All three high-usage backs (Elliott, Sanders, Singletary) would have scored over 20 DK pts if not for Singletary getting stuffed at the goal-line multiple times
- Antonio Gibson touches: (9 att, 2 tg), (13 att, 2 tg), (9 att, 3 tg), (13 att, 5 tg)
- Gibson has scored a TD in three straight games with a team-high 8 RZ touches during that span
- McCaffrey averaged 8.3 targets a game with Kyle Allen