What We Saw: Rams at Buccaneers

Will you just take it like a man and shake Goff's hand, Tom?

Rams @ Buccaneers

 

When Buccaneers’ QB Tom Brady got the ball back trailing by 3 points with 2:32 left in the 4th quarter, it felt like he was bound to march down the field and make for a great ending. Unfortunately, he threw his 2nd interception of the night instead, and the Bucs fell to the Rams, 27-24. Both QBs carried their teams’ offenses through the air on Monday night, as both rushing attacks succumbed to the stout rush defenses of both of these teams. With so much of the fantasy production coming from passing plays, what does this mean for your roster? Let’s dive into what we saw:

 

Los Angeles Rams

 

Quarterback

 

Jared Goff: 39/51, 376 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs | 1 carry, 0 yards

 

Rams’ QB Jared Goff turned a tough matchup with Tampa Bay’s defense into a huge fantasy performance – finishing with his highest fantasy output since Week 3 against Buffalo. Goff wasn’t sacked and often had plenty of time to carve up the middle of the field. Goff also made good use of the short passing game – setting up several well-designed screens and bootlegs. All three of Goff’s TD passes were less than 10 yards. But all the short passes added up and Goff’s 376 passing yards were a season-high. Goff hasn’t produced consistently enough to trust as a weekly starter, but with another solid performance or two, it may be worth taking a look at Goff’s favorable playoff schedule.

  

 

Running Backs

 

Cam Akers: 5 carries, 15 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 4 yards, 1 TD

Darrell Henderson: 8 carries, 5 yards | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 4 yards

Malcolm Brown: 3 carries, 20 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 8 yards

 

Other than a 4-yard receiving TD from RB Cam Akers, the Rams’ backfield offered practically zero fantasy value on Monday night. The TD was the first of Akers’ career, and he found himself wide open on the play thanks to Los Angeles’ preference to stay in their hurry-up offense for much of the game.

 

 

RB Darrell Henderson led the group with eight rushes but was only given the ball in obvious rushing situations, which allowed Tampa’s defense to key in on him. One of Goff’s interceptions was on a play where Henderson was targeted and Tampa’s DT Jason Pierre-Paul came up with the ball instead. The Rams seemed to game plan around the fact that Tampa Bay’s rushing defense was so tough, that the way to beat them was with the short passing game. Henderson continues to lead Rams’ RBs in snap percentage and touches, but for now, he still feels like a risky play with his recent lack of production. The Rams’ RBs face another tough challenge next week against the 49ers defense.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Robert Woods: 15 targets, 12 receptions, 130 yards, 1 TD | 2 carries, -4 yards

Cooper Kupp: 13 targets, 11 receptions, 145 yards

Van Jefferson: 1 target, 1 reception, 7 yards, 1 TD

Josh Reynolds: 6 targets, 3 receptions, 32 yards

Gerald Everett: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 27 yards

Tyler Higbee: 4 targets, 4 receptions, 19 yards | 1 carry, 1 yard

 

Los Angeles’ top two WRs Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods both had fantastic fantasy performances on Monday night against the Bucs. It was the first time in Rams’ history that two teammates had at least 10 receptions each, and both of them ended up with season-high totals in receiving yardage. Woods’ biggest play came on a perfectly executed screen-play to set up a Rams’ FG to end the first half. Kupp did most of his damage in the first half, including five catches on the Rams’ first drive, but both WRs produced throughout and turned in WR1 performances. Rookie WR Van Jefferson only had one catch, but the 7-yard TD was the first TD of the rookie’s career. Neither of Los Angeles’ TEs had much fantasy impact, but it is of note that Gerald Everett produced slightly more than TE Tyler Higbee. Both Everett and Higbee will be tough to trust with several upcoming matchups against teams who are defending TEs well.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

Quarterback

 

Tom Brady: 26/48, 216 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 1 sack 

 

Bucs’ QB Tom Brady left several plays out on the field that I bet he wishes he could have back. Brady’s 2nd interception gave away Tampa’s chance at a win late in the 4th quarter, and he failed to figure out a way through the Rams’ halftime adjustments. Brady has been a QB1 this season, but he has been susceptible to poor games against great defenses. Brady was involved in a crazy play in the second half where his pass was batted back to him in the air, and he then threw again to WR Mike Evans for a completed pass. A flag was thrown on the play for an illegal forward pass, but since the penalty was declined, wouldn’t the play stand as a reception for Brady – and a completed catch to Evans? I don’t know for sure if the catch was scored for Evans, but that may be worth keeping an eye on for stat corrections. Brady will hope to bounce back next week against the Chiefs before their Week 13 bye.

 

 

Running Backs

 

Leonard Fournette: 7 carries, 17 yards, 1 TD | 4 targets, 1 reception, 9 yards

Ronald Jones: 10 carries, 24 yards | 1 target

 

Much like the Rams’ offense, the Bucs had a tough time running the football on Monday night. RB Leonard Fournette out-snapped fellow Bucs’ RB Ronald Jones 52%-36%. While Fournette wasn’t able to do much with his touches, he did find the end-zone on a 2-yard plunge midway through the second quarter. Fournette also had three ugly drops before finally hauling in his 4th target. Both of these backs will hope for a better showing next week against Kansas City.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Chris Godwin: 10 targets, 7 receptions, 53 yards, 1 TD

Mike Evans: 9 targets, 5 receptions, 49 yards, 1 TD

Antonio Brown: 13 targets, 8 receptions, 57 yards | 1 carry, 1 yard

Cameron Brate: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 23 yards

Rob Gronkowski: 6 targets, 2 receptions, 25 yards

 

Even though Tom Brady and the Bucs’ offense struggled at times throughout the night, their primary pass-catchers were all able to provide some fantasy production for their managers. WR Chris Godwin and WR Mike Evans both added spectacular TD catches while WR Antonio Brown led the group in targets and receiving yardage. It seems that it will be tough to predict which of the Bucs’ WRs will go off on any given week, but for now, they seem to be sharing a fairly equal amount of opportunities in this offense. TE Rob Gronkowski‘s disappointing campaign continued on Monday night as Gronk saw his 5th game this season with 2 receptions or fewer. This pass-catching group has a tough matchup with Kansas City before their Week 13 bye, but afterwards, their schedule really softens up for the fantasy playoffs – they’ll face Minnesota, Atlanta, and Detroit in Weeks 14-16.

 

Photo by All-Pro Reels (https://www.flickr.com/photos/joeglo/) / Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

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