25/37, 355 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Despite a slow first half for the Rams offense, Jared Goff and company came alive in the second half en route to the gunslinger throwing a career-high in passing yards as well as adding three touchdowns. For the second consecutive week, Goff found one of his receivers with a perfectly placed deep throw, this time finding Robert Woods in stride for a 94-yard touchdown early in the second half. The young Rams’ quarterback looked poised and patient when he dropped back to pass on Sunday, and once again, he showed the league why he was worthy of the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft. Goff and Woods have shown great cohesion this season, with Woods on pace for over 1000 receiving yards. Overall, the Rams’ receiving corps looks much stronger than it did a year ago and this has been an integral factor in letting Goff succeed.
The coming weeks will be a true test for the Rams as they play the Vikings, Saints, Eagles and Seahawks all in the next five weeks. If the season ended today, these would be four of the six NFC playoff teams (the Rams and the Panthers being the other two). While the Rams look like a contender right now, these next games will be indicative of their true strength in the face of stiffer competition. Goff and the rest of the Rams’ main offensive weapons should be started in fantasy leagues without fear, but just know that the difficulty of their schedule may get to them at some point in terms of fantasy production.
6 receptions, 82 yards
With wide receiver Mike Evans on suspension, Jackson put up 82 receiving yards. The matchup of the Buccaneers versus the Jets was a low scoring outing, with the two teams combining for 25 total points.
The next three games, the Buccaneers play an incredibly mediocre Dolphins team, the Falcons, who are struggling to find their footing, and an Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers squad. All of these are potentially winnable games for the Buccaneers, but they may be without quarterback Jameis Winston for an extended time period. Whoever starts at quarterback is somewhat irrelevant as the team’s struggles seem to be rooted in a lack of cohesion rather than talent. As such, cautiousness should be exhibited in starting anybody on the Buccaneers’ offense, beside maybe Mike Evans.
There is no doubt that Jackson still has the talent to be a big-numbers receiver in this league, but given the state of the team and their inability to produce meaningful offense the past month, starting Jackson would be a very high-risk, medium reward situation.
Marvin Jones Jr.
1 reception, 22 yards
In a bizarre Sunday game against the Browns, Jones Jr. only received two targets, leading to his 22 yards on the day. Quarterback Matthew Stafford put up a relatively strong performance with 249 passing yards and three touchdowns, but Jones Jr. was not the benefactor of that productivity.
The Lions’ next game will be against a scrappy Chicago Bears team that relies on their defense for their success. Currently, the Bears rank 10th in passing yards allowed, a respectable standing for a 3-6 team, but are somewhat susceptible to the run. This begs the question of whether or not Detroit will use their rushing attack more.
Given the team’s tendencies, they will probably stick with a passing attack, and a week removed from Chicago letting Green Bay quarterback Brett Hundley put up halfway decent stats, it should be safe to say that Detroit should get the better of the Chicago defense. Stafford should have the green light, and as such Marvin Jones Jr. should have no trouble bouncing back and having a fantastic game.
4 receptions, 48 yards
Maybe my [San Diego] bias leads to over-rating Allen, but despite his recent struggles, I still view him as an elite receiver who can go off at any second. The Jacksonville secondary is definitely a force to be reckoned with, so given the context of the game, Allen could have done a lot worse. Next week, the Chargers will play the Buffalo Bills whose defense is liable to give up high receiving yards as well as rushing yards. In that context, Allen is a solid fantasy start as should take advantage of the weak matchup.
To play devil’s advocate, the Chargers have shown in recent weeks an increasing effort to diversify their offense, with rookie running back Austin Ekeler leading the team in rushing yards, receiving yards and touchdowns on Sunday as well as easing rookie receiver Mike Williams into the lineup these past few weeks. All of that said, my [biased] gut leads me to believe that this could be a big game for Allen. He should be treated as a cautious start in most leagues – only take him out of your lineup if you feel you have more surefire receivers available.
10 rush, 54 yards
Despite the Broncos’ continued downward spiral as well as only receiving a medium-sized amount of carries on Sunday, Anderson produced a respectable 5.4 yards per carry. He remains a small flicker of hope on the offensive unit as he is able to produce in the limited capacity allowed to him. The worst of the Broncos’ schedule is over, and going forward they may be able to put together a decent offensive performance.
Ethan Epstein writes for Bear Bytes, the Daily Californian’s sports blog. Contact him at [email protected].