Thursday, Dec 1st
Monday, Dec 5th
Bye Week:
Cardinals
Panthers

Rams @ Colts

GAME OVERVIEW::

By Hilow >>
  • Not much to love from this one from a “guaranteed points” perspective – floors are mostly scary low
  • Jonathan Taylor gains some appeal for his heavy involvement in the Colts offense, but the matchup is less than ideal
  • Rams defense may gain steam as the week progresses, but I don’t like betting on low pressure rate defensive lines against solid offensive lines

HOW LOS ANGELES WILL TRY TO WIN::

First of all, this offense is so much more fun to watch with a quarterback capable of attacking all areas of the field. The Rams ran only 52 offensive plays in a Week 1 dismantling of the Bears and held a very modest 54% situation-neutral pass rate. The offensive snap rates played out largely as we thought they would, with tight end Tyler Higbee leading the way with a full 100% snap rate, followed by Cooper Kupp at a  94% snap rate (tied with running back Darrell Henderson, who I expect to see his snaps gradually decrease as Sony Michel learns the offense), Robert Woods at 77%, Van Jefferson at 69%, and offseason addition DeSean Jackson at 27%. 20 of Matthew Stafford’s 26 pass attempts filtered through the three primary pass-catchers (Kupp: 10, Higbee: 6, Woods: 4). Expect the Rams to continue to play with pace in neutral to negative game scripts, allow their top-rated defense to provide good field position and additional possessions, and remain aggressive with the ball as the year goes on.

As previously mentioned, Darrell Henderson played a massive 94% of the offensive snaps run from scrimmage in Week 1 and saw 17 of 18 total running back opportunities. His snap rate and opportunity share was a full 100% until deep into the game when Sony Michel saw his one carry. I expect this to turn into a loose committee once Sony learns a complex offense and run scheme, which could be as soon as this week or could take a few weeks. Henderson saw only one target on 16 routes run, but the Rams largely didn’t need much as they cruised to an easy victory. I expect Henderson to lead the way once again with Sony likely mixing in for 15-20% of the offensive snaps. The matchup is a poor one against a top three run defense from 2020, even after the Colts surrendered 5.37 adjusted line yards in Week 1.

The aerial attack is where the majority of the fantasy value on this team lies. Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Tyler Higbee are all borderline every-snap players in a high-powered passing offense. The biggest news out of this game as far as injuries go lies with the Colts second level as both All-World linebacker Darius Leonard and lockdown corner Xavier Rhodes have yet to practice this week (as of Thursday). Leonard missing would be a large boost to the Rams offense overall but a massive boost to Tyler Higbee, while Rhodes’ absence would again benefit the entire Rams offense but be a massive boost to both Kupp and Woods. Consider all three high, high ceiling plays here. The Colts continue to struggle with the deep ball, providing further intrigue for the speed of Van Jefferson and DeSean Jackson.

HOW INDIANAPOLIS WILL TRY TO WIN::

The Colts landed in the middle of the pack with respect to situation-neutral pass rate in Week 1 at 58%, right in line with their 56% rate from 2020. The limitations placed on the offense through Carson Wentz should not be understated as his 6.6 yards per completion places him in the bottom three in the league. This offense should continue to flow through the running backs, with low upside passing mixed in.

The ground game flows through Jonathan Taylor, who also saw additional pass game usage in Week 1 compared to his previous roles (seven targets). The fantasy prospectus for this Colts run game depends largely on the health of their offensive line as two members of one of last season’s top-rated offensive lines worked their way back from offseason surgeries. The matchup is middling on paper after the Colts struggled to sustain a push up front against the solid run defense of the Seahawks. The matchup yields an average net-adjusted line yards metric of 4.17.

The biggest surprise from Week 1 through the air was the heavy involvement of both running backs in the pass game. Colts running backs accounted for 15 of the 38 total targets, split eight to seven in favor of Taylor over Hines. With TY Hilton still out, expect Michael Pittman, Jr. and Zach Pascal to continue to operate as the starting wide receivers, with both Parris Campbell and rookie Mike Strachan mixing in for three-wide sets. Keep an eye on Strachan, tight end Jack Doyle, and offensive linemen Quenton Nelson’s injury statuses leading up to the game as all three have either yet to practice or have gotten in only one limited practice as of Thursday. As alluded to earlier, the pass game is primarily short and intermediate work and of the low upside variety. 

LIKELIEST GAME FLOW::

It is likely up to the Colts to keep pace here the way this game lines up. Expect them to start the game attempting to control the time of possession battle but eventually be forced to move the ball via increased short-area passing and long, sustained drives. This should lead to a scenario where the Rams assert control of the game rather early and can run a conservative offense deeper into the game. With this type of set up, we shouldn’t expect a spike to volume for the primary pass-catchers out of the Rams, and the Colts spread the ball enough (and are low-upside enough) to limit much of the fantasy appeal from the game overall. 

DFS+ Interpretation ::

Both defenses leave me with a lot to be desired.