Kickoff: Sunday, October 31 at 1:00 PM ET
Location: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
Betting Odds: LAR -14.5, 47.5 Total on Oddshark
Los Angeles Rams
Matthew Stafford (Start)
Matthew Stafford is currently QB4 in the Expert Consensus Rankings on FantasyPros.com for Week 7. We don’t think he’ll finish quite that high, as we expect the Rams to put this game out of reach early and run the clock out for much of the second half. Regardless, he’ll do enough damage in the first half to make him a lock as a Top 10 quarterback this week. There are simply too many weapons at his disposal, and the lack of talent on the other side of the ball will make it extremely difficult for the Houston Texans to slow down the former leader of the Georgia Bulldogs’ huddle.
Darrell Henderson (Start, RB1), Sony Michel (Sit)
Darrell Henderson compiled only 64 total yards last week against a very beatable Detroit Lions defense, despite logging plenty of touches (18, to be exact). It was a disappointing outing for a guy who entered the week as the RB8 from Weeks 4-6, but we expect him to return to form as a Top 12 running back this week against a Texans defense that has allowed more rushing yards than any other team in the NFL to date this season.
Sony Michel played fewer than 20 percent of his team’s snaps in three of the last four weeks, so we don’t see him taking much work away from Henderson. He has proven irrelevant for fantasy purposes as long as Henderson remains healthy. He can be dropped in smaller leagues with shallow benches, especially those that employ PPR scoring.
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
Cooper Kupp (Start, WR1), Robert Woods (Start, WR2), Van Jefferson (Sit), DeSean Jackson (Sit), Tyler Higbee (Start)
Cooper Kupp continues to set the fantasy football world ablaze as *the* WR1 in all of fantasy football in PPR formats, and as the kids say, “it’s not close.” Kupp’s 27.2 fantasy points per game so far in 2021 are in a class of their own. Tyreek Hill is the next closest at a distant 21.5 points per game. Houston hasn’t allowed a ton of fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this year, but they also haven’t faced Cooper Kupp yet. We expect yet another week of WR1 production.
Robert Woods finished as the WR19 of Week 7, which makes complete sense from a player who’s currently the WR19 on the season to date. Woods has had his ups and downs this season, uncharacteristic of a player who was as consistent as they come in recent years. We expect Woods to finish as a low-end WR2 this week, which is an endorsement of the depth at the position, not an indictment of his capabilities.
Van Jefferson has taken the field for 74.2 percent of his team’s snaps so far this season, hitting a new peak in Week 7 (94 percent). He’s a boom-or-bust option that makes sense as a flex for those set back by injury or bye week challenges. However, we expect most fantasy football managers will have more stable options to choose from in 12 team PPR leagues, and perhaps others with more upside, as well.
DeSean Jackson has seen his snap share decrease over the past three weeks and has yet to line up for more than one-third of his team’s plays in any given week this season. We can’t recommend starting him in any format. Meanwhile, for the second straight week (and the fourth time this season), Tyler Higbee played every down for the Rams. He has averaged 4.2 receptions over his last five contests and draws a Houston Texans defense that covers a tight end about as well as a G-string thong. No team has allowed more tight end touchdowns, so we like the odds of Higbee crossing the stripe at least once.
Tyrod Taylor (Sit), Davis Mills (Sit)
Tyrod Taylor is looking like a good bet to start this Sunday for the first time since Week 2, but does it matter for fantasy football purposes? It would take an unspeakable level of quarterback hoarding in a traditional, 12 team, 1 QB league for Taylor to pop up on our radar. To be fair, he does come with a solid rushing floor, and he’s an upgrade over Davis Mills: the former blue-chip high school recruit failed to throw a touchdown pass in three of his last four NFL starts.
David Johnson (Sit), Mark Ingram (TRADED), Phillip Lindsay (Sit), Rex Burkhead (Sit)
A respectable Week 8 waiver wire target, David Johnson led Texans running backs in targets for the fourth consecutive week, leaving no doubt as to his role on a team that will continue to play from behind most of the time. You could do worse for your flex spot, but odds are you’ll find a better option in traditional 12 team PPR leagues. With Mark Ingram gone to New Orleans in a trade, Johnson should see a larger opportunity, but he hasn’t looked explosive at all and has a brutal matchup against a tough Rams defense. Meanwhile, Phillip Lindsay and Rex Burkhead each played just 4 snaps last week, so neither can be counted on as a start even with Ingram out of the picture. I suppose there is some appeal to stashing Lindsay if the production that Ingram was putting up is at all useful to you, but there’s a chance his role gets divided between the two backups and Ingram wasn’t very productive anyway.
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
Brandin Cooks (Start, WR3), Danny Amendola (Sit), Nico Collins (Sit), Chris Conley (Sit), Chris Moore (Sit), Pharaoh Brown (Sit), Jordan Akins (Sit)
Hats off to Brandin Cooks for his yeoman efforts on a terrible football team: Cooks has led the team in receptions (or at least tied for the lead) in each week of the season so far. Meanwhile, Nico Collins has played over 50 percent of the snaps in all three games he’s been healthy for this season. The big-bodied wide receiver from Michigan should be able to create a few mismatch opportunities in the slot, thanks to his above-average size.
Meanwhile, sure-handed veteran receiver Danny Amendola logged 5 targets in his return to action last week, second-best on the team behind Cooks. He offers a non-zero floor, but no ceiling whatsoever. Chris Moore saw far fewer snaps on the field in Week 8, a trend we expect to continue as Amendola works his way back into the offense.
Chris Conley also hangs around…but that’s about all he does. Except for his 3-84-1 performance in Week 5, Conley has yet to catch more than 2 passes for more than 27 yards in a game this season. Along these same lines, we recommend passing on the tight end room: Pharaoh Brown and Jordan Akins have combined for exactly one performance of 50 yards or more so far this season; neither has logged a touchdown catch in 2021.