What We Saw: Patriots at Rams

Benjamin Haller breaks down a game of miscues and misery for fantasy football managers! That Cam Akers though...!?

Patriots @ Rams

 

A truly dismal spectacle at SoFi Stadium saw the Los Angeles Rams completely dominate the wretched New England Patriots and run out 24-3 winners in what was a non-contest for most of the night.

Sean McVay jumped ahead of Bill Belichik early with an up-tempo offense that caught the Patriots’ defense off guard. Belichick never recovered and the faltering offense under Cam Newton was embarrassingly poor and fell apart quickly in the 2nd quarter.

The stories of this game were the fierce Rams defense and the breakout rookie performance from Cam Akers – the 2nd-round pick out of Florida State rushed for 171 yards, the most for a Rams rookie in a game since Jerome Bettis in Week 15, way back in 1993.

 

New England Patriots

 

Quarterback

 

Cam Newton: 9/16, 119 yards, 1 INT, 1 FUM, 4 sacks | 7 carries, 16 yards

Jarrett Stidham: 5/7, 27 yards, 2 sack | 1 carry, 3 yards

 

A horrific showing from Cam Newton (5.36 fantasy points) laid bare just how bad this Patriots offense is this season. Newton threw just 16 times, completing 9 passes for a measly 119 yards and an interception. Noticeably struggling to push the ball down the field, Cam looked impotent when asked to do anything more than hand the ball off or rush up the middle for short yardage today. The Rams defense was swarming all night, including 3 3rd quarter sacks that essentially knocked him out of the game and finished it as a contest.

 

The writing was on the wall for Newton on the 1st play of the 2nd half, a failed dump off to Damien Harris that Kenny Young returned for a defensive score.

 

Newton had thrown for less than 100 yards in both of his previous contests but had rescued his fantasy day last week thanks to a couple of rushing TDs. There was no room for that tonight against a stiff Rams defensive front who shut Cam out twice near the goal line.

 

Newton remains a non-starter for fantasy purposes. And it was somewhat unfair on Jarrett Stidham, who was mauled twice by the Rams defense in just 2 series, to take the licks and run this game out to its inevitable conclusion.

 

Running Backs

 

Damien Harris: 11 carries, 50 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, 0 yards

Sony Michel: 7 carries, 22 yards | 1 target

James White: 3 carries, 16 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, 2 yards

 

The return of Sony Michel (2.20 fantasy points) from IR once again throw a big fantasy spanner in the works of this offense but it didn’t really matter on a day when the Patriots couldn’t find a way to be effective on offense. Damien Harris (6.00 fantasy points) has finally shown some promise as a lead back this season but his opportunities were limited against a Rams defense giving up the 7th fewest fantasy points to backs this year. Harris left the game in the 2nd half after taking a big hit whilst blocking. He stayed down for a while before leaving the field under his own power. Neither Michel nor James White (2.80 fantasy points) were intrinsically involved in the gameplan today and remain fantasy irrelevant.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

N’Keal Harry: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 49 yards

Damiere Byrd: 8 targets, 5 receptions, 48 yards

Jacobi Meyers: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 47 yards

Devin Asiasi: 1 target

 

Working off short change has been the par for this receiving corps, however, there is not much talent here to be truthful and it showed. Former 1st-round selection N’Keal Harry (7.90 fantasy points) led the team in yards with just 49, most of which came on a contested jump ball in which he showed promising movement, awareness, and execution. The problem is that this offense is not going to throw the ball up into contested situations that often so Harry seems like an odd man out in New England.

 

Damiere Byrd (9.80 fantasy points) and Jakobi Meyers (8.70 fantasy points) have both registered 20+ fantasy points in a single game this season. On both occasions, it looked like the offense had been built especially for them. Outside of those games, it has been slim pickings and how Josh McDaniels figures these guys fit into the long term strategy is anyone’s guess at this stage. There is little to get excited about from a fantasy perspective here, and I doubt anyone contesting fantasy playoffs had any Patriots players in their lineups this week.

 

 

Los Angeles Rams

 

Quarterback

 

Jared Goff: 16/25, 137 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 1 sack, 2 FUM | 3 carries, 12 yards, 1 TD

 

Despite the scoreline, this was near enough to a horror show from Jared Goff (17.58 fantasy points) as they come. Fantasy managers have come to expect a “bad Goff game” once a month and for it to come in the 1st week of the playoffs is a rough call. However, it wasn’t all bad as he did manage to hit paydirt early on a QB sneak to produce a respectable fantasy output.

 

Goff took a backseat to rookie Cam Akers in the 2nd half as the Rams defense grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck. And we should mention that the interception was a tad unlucky as Robert Woods allowed Myles Bryant to rip the ball away from him for the turnover.

 

Saying that Goff was lucky to escape with only 1 pick and McVay clearly knew that restricting Goff to hand-offs in the 2nd half would be his best way to win the game. Goff continues to be a polarizing option as a high-end QB2 fantasy quarterback whose high ceiling is as high as his low floor is low. Help us all out, Jared.

 

Running Backs

 

Cam Akers: 29 carries, 171 yards | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 23 yards

Darrell Henderson: 2 carries, 5 yards

Malcolm Brown: 1 target

 

Welcome to the show, Cam Akers (21.40 fantasy points)! Leading the Rams backfield for the 2nd consecutive game, Akers picked his holes wisely (there were many) to rack up 194 total scrimmage yards, the 12th most by any player all season in the NFL.

 

Akers impressed with 4 runs of 10+ yards, finishing the game with 5.9 yards-per-carry despite some negative late plays to run out the clock. It is tough to say that Akers has completely taken over this backfield as a nicked up Darrell Henderson was rested for most of the contest as the Rams dominated. Still, Akers is the guy to start next week against the moribund Jets defense.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Tyler Higbee: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 34 yards

Cooper Kupp: 5 targets, 5 receptions, 33 yards, 1 TD

Robert Woods: 8 targets, 5 receptions, 32 yards | 1 carry, -1 yard

Gerald Everett: 3 targets, 1 reception, 9 yards

Josh Reynolds: 2 targets, 1 reception, 6 yards

 

It was a quiet night for the primary receivers as McVay rolled out the 12 personnel offense for much of the night, taking advantage of the Patriots’ inability to stop the power run game. Only Cooper Kupp (14.30 fantasy points) came out of this game with a respectable fantasy score, mainly thanks to a nice grab from Goff’s best throw of the night to put the game beyond doubt. Kupp is fantastic on the outside near the red zone and seems to have the nod for looks ahead of Robert Woods (8.10 fantasy points) in that area.

 

Woods was held to his 2nd-worst fantasy day of the season topped off by that misdemeanor on the interception. A matchup with the Jets next promises a “more fun” day out. Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett continue to do nothing with their high snap counts. There is no fantasy love any longer in this Rams tight end grouping.

 

Photos by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire and All-Pro Reels Photography ([email protected]) | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

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