Kickoff: Monday, October 3rd, 8:15 PM ET
Location: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara
Betting Odds: SF -1.5, 42.0 total via PFF.com
Writer: Estevão Maximo. (@estevao_maximo on Twitter)
Los Angeles Rams
Matthew Stafford (Start, QB1)
Matthew Stafford didn’t have a passing touchdown, that was the big news of the Rams’ Week 3 win at Arizona by 20 to 12. It was the first time for the former number one overall pick to go through a game without at least one passing touchdown since he put on the Rams uniform at the beginning of last season, knocking a streak of 19 straight in what’s been a very lackluster start to 2022.
Stafford’s early numbers will be skewed by a particularly poor outing against the world beaters that the Buffalo Bills have been early on, as he currently sits with an 0.80 touchdown to interception ratio (4 TDs and 5 picks).
However, even if Allen Robinson fails to acclimate himself to the offense like we hoped during the off-season, Cooper Kupp doesn’t seem to be slowing down from a triple crown season last year, and under McVay, Stafford should be fine long-term.
The Rams have averaged over 25 points since that week 1 debacle, and although the Niners represent an unfavorable matchup, Stafford still remains a QB1 as the Niners D should shut down the running game, and force LA to air it out.
Cam Akers (Sit-Flex), Darrell Henderson (Sit)
The Week 1 victory for the zero RB crew that drafted Darrell Henderson late and saw him have a 55% snap share against the Bills may have been premature, as McVay has been involving Cam Akers more and more over the last two weeks, culminating with a touchdown game against the Cardinals.
Akers and Henderson split the snap shares at 24 in Week 3, but the arrow is clearly pointing up for Akers, and down for Henderson. However, the Niners are a very tough matchup, currently only allowing 2.8 yards-per-carry and ranking eighth overall in fantasy points allowed to opposing backs.
With all of that in mind, Akers is an OK flex-start, but you shouldn’t expect much against the Niners’ run D and are probably best served to look at other available options, if possible. Henderson is a sit for now, with the team favoring Akers as of late.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Cooper Kupp(Start, WR1), Allen Robinson (Sit-flex) Ben Skowronek (Sit), Brandon Powell (Sit), Tyler Higbee (Start, TE1)
Cooper Kupp has 35 targets and 28 receptions over the first three games. All other Rams’ wide receivers and running backs have 29 catches, one more than Kupp. That illustrates the monopoly that the standout receiver has on targets from Stafford.
Allen Robinson had nowhere to go but up after receiving basically zero looks in Week 1, but it still has been rather underwhelming for the former Chicago Bear, with five targets a piece in Weeks 2 and 3, and fewer than 100 yards on the year as a whole. Until he shows otherwise, Robinson is not much more than a desperate start at flex.
Managers that punted tight ends in the draft and picked up Tyler Higbee late must be thrilled at this point, as the Rams’ tight end is clearly the second option on what’s still a very favorable offense this year.
Higbee has seen 24 targets and caught 16 balls over three weeks, both marks are comfortably second on the team behind Kupp with no one really establishing themselves as a WR2, it’s been up to Higbee to take advantage of those opportunities, and he has with 171 yards.
San Francisco 49ers
Jimmy Garoppolo (Sit)
For those that watched the last Sunday Night Football, my condolences. A brutal game that ended in the second 11 to 10 score in NFL history, showed incompetence on offense for both teams through four quarters.
The game was there for the taken for San Francisco for basically its entirety, but Jimmy Garoppolo‘s failure to accomplish anything after the Niners’ first score ultimately proved costly, as Russell Wilson did just enough late, to lead the Broncos to victory at home.
In a divisional matchup against a defense that’s already forced seven turnovers on the year, Jimmy G and his 28.9 QBR is a clear sit. Even if you’re in need of a streamer, better options should be floating around in your waiver wire.
Jeff Wilson Jr. (Start, RB2)
Elijah Mitchell is still out, and after two weeks it is clear that Jeff Wilson Jr. will get the bulk of the work, peaking at a 41% snap share last Sunday, and the Niners’ back has done enough in a bleak RB environment to enter RB2 status.
Wilson Jr. is averaging 4.6 yards-per-carry and even has sprinkled in some receiving work with seven catches and 58 receiving yards on the year. Wilson Jr. hasn’t scored yet, but that basically goes for the entire Niners offense, averaging 15.7 points per game, good for 28th in the league.
After a lot of offseason debating, Deebo Samuel has gone back to his hybrid role, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for Jordan Mason to be a factor with Jeff Wilson Jr. playing well enough to fill in for Elijah Mitchell.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Deebo Samuel (Start, WR1), Brandon Aiyuk (Start, WR3), Jauan Jennings (Sit), George Kittle (Start, TE1)
Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk have been targeted 40 times, and only caught 22 of those passes. That’s an indictment on the QB play for the Niners, between the monsoon game in Week 1, and the subpar display on Sunday Night Football, it’s been a rough out there.
However, with the volume he gets on the air and on the ground, Samuel remains a WR1. He and Aiyuk will have an intriguing duel against a secondary that’s been surprisingly vulnerable, allowing the fourth most points to opposing wide receivers through the first three weeks.
After Aiyuk, there isn’t much on the Niners’ depth chart at WR, with Jauan Jennings having caught six balls on the young season.
George Kittle returned last Sunday, and like any pass catcher on the night, was severely limited by the quality of QB play, on both sides. However, in a tough environment, Kittle is one of the few set-it-and-forget tight ends when healthy and should perform better as he gets into a rhythm.