What We Saw: Week 8

It's backup QB SZN

Rams @ Texans

Final Score: Rams 38, Texans 22

Writer: Joe Orlofski (@joeorlofski on Twitter)

Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp’s chemistry continued to build in this game, and the Rams easily took down the hapless Texans.  The Texans did show some life in garbage time, but it was just too big of a deficit to overcome.

Davis Mills looked decent enough, although most of his yards and touchdowns came in the fourth quarter, luckily enough for anyone who started him.  Sometimes garbage time points just work, and that is the case for the Texans’ offense this season.

Let’s take a look at the fantasy-relevant players in this blowout.

 

Los Angeles Rams

 

Quarterback

 

Matthew Stafford: 21/32, 305 yards, 3 TD

John Wolford: 1/2, 5 yards

 

Matthew Stafford was efficient on the first drive, finding Cooper Kupp multiple times, and finished 6/8 with a touchdown pass to Darrell Henderson.

He did throw one bad pass across the middle that was just out of the reach of Robert Woods, but other than that he looked sharp on this drive.

Stafford let the run game move the ball on the second drive, although he was a bit less efficient, which was mostly due to the pass rush of the Texans’ defense.  On fourth-and-one on the four-yard line, Stafford and the Rams tried the same play they had used on the touchdown throw, but Darrell Henderson was unable to haul it in.  It was a good throw by Stafford but Henderson probably would have been stopped immediately.

Stafford narrowly missed Kupp for a touchdown midway through the second quarter, overthrowing him and forcing a field goal instead.

The next drive was a short field that forced the Rams to initially turn the ball over on downs, but a bad defensive holding call gave the Rams another shot and Stafford immediately took advantage, connecting with Robert Woods for a three-yard touchdown.

Stafford continued to find wide-open receivers (mostly Kupp) as the half came to an end.

Stafford found a streaking Van Jefferson early in the third quarter for a 68-yard reception.  Had he thrown it a little further Jefferson probably would have taken it in for a touchdown.  Unfortunately, Jefferson had to slow down and was tackled on the 11-yard line.  Once again, Stafford made up for it by finding Kupp in the middle for another easy touchdown.

Stafford and the Rams continued to pour it on, hitting rookie Bob Skowronek for a few first downs, but it was a Woods carry that scored the last points for the Rams.

Stafford was benched for the entirety of the fourth quarter.  Overall, Stafford looked sharp in this one, but it was against a very soft defense ,  it was expected.

 

Running Back

 

Darrell Henderson Jr: 14 carries, 90 yards, TD | 2 targets, 1 reception, 3 yards, TD

Sony Michel: 9 carries, 42 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 14 yards

Buddy Howell: 5 carries, 11 yards

 

Darrell Henderson Jr. got the first carry in this one and sliced up the middle for an easy first down.  He got a few more carries on the first drive and ended up catching a short pass for a touchdown to give the Rams their first points of the game.

Henderson continued to find big holes on the second drive, taking one carry for 19 yards (longest of the day).  He almost had another touchdown catch but was unable to hold onto the ball and the Rams turned it over on downs.

Sony Michel saw his first bit of action on the third drive.  Stafford isn’t known for checking down too often but Michel is capable of catching passes, although not enough to be super fantasy relevant.

Henderson came in after the Mills’ interception with a short field and saw a bunch of red-zone carries but was unable to punch it in.

Henderson got his second touchdown of the game on a short run on second-and-goal.

Henderson was in on the first drive of the second half and picked up 10 yards on his first carry.  He wouldn’t get any more rushing yards in this game, finishing with 90 yards on 14 carries.

Michel finished out the third quarter and also found some decent running room, although he wasn’t super fantasy-relevant in this one.  Michel seems to be a touchdown-or-bust type of player for now.

With the game seemingly out of reach, Buddy Howell came in to finish off the game.

 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

 

Cooper Kupp: 9 targets, 7 receptions, 115 yards, TD

Robert Woods: 9 targets, 3 receptions, 35 yards, TD | 3 carries, 22 yards, TD

Van Jefferson: 6 targets, 3 receptions, 88 yards

Bob Skowronek: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 30 yards

Tyler Higbee: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 25 yards

 

The ball was relatively spread around on the first drive, with passes going to Van Jefferson, Tyler Higbee, and Cooper Kupp.  Kupp was once again continuously wide open on the first drive and made the Texans pay.

Robert Woods got his first touch on the second drive with a handoff, which the Rams love to do.  Both Kupp and Woods ran a lot of fake jet sweeps throughout the game, making actual jet sweeps work magnificently.

Tyler Higbee wasn’t really involved in this one, with his largest play coming from a screen pass that went 11 yards.

Kupp easily beat the Texan defender for a 52-yard gain to set the Rams up in great field position at the two-minute warning.  Woods got a quick pass at the line and was almost able to get another touchdown, but he was dropped just short of the goal line.  The next play was a play-action rollout that looked like it was going to Higbee, but he was covered so Stafford threw it away.  It is good to see Higbee getting looks in the endzone.

Woods had a few bad drops in this game (he also fumbled an onside kick), and it showed with his three catches on nine targets.  Thankfully, fantasy managers were saved by his touchdown catch, and later his rushing touchdown.

It goes to show that the Rams’ constant jet sweep motions do eventually pay off.  It was a nice trick play by the Rams.

Jefferson had a massive catch in the third quarter but then limped off the field, opening a spot for rookie WR Bob Skowronek to get some action.  He caught a 20-yard pass and looked good in relief, but probably won’t be super fantasy relevant unless Jefferson misses time.  Even so, this is a Kupp/Woods show, so don’t expect too much from any third receiver.

Kupp and Woods sat the fourth quarter.  Jefferson, however, did return to the field.

 

Houston Texans

 

Quarterback

 

Davis Mills: 29/38, 310 yards, 2 TD, INT

 

Davis Mills has had some decent numbers this season, but the lack of offensive line and run game has made it difficult for him to produce.  The Texans also had a lot of early penalties that killed promising drives, including the first drive, which had some promise after a few nice throws by Mills.

Mills made his first big mistake in the second quarter when he threw an interception.

I’m not sure if he thought he could drop it in or if throwing on the run forced him to throw it short, but that was a pretty awful pass.

Mills bounced back on the next drive with a nice 26-yard completion to Nico Collins, but a few bad plays and a sack ended the drive quickly.

Mills then drove down the field with under 30 seconds, but Kaimi Fairbairn missed the field goal and the Texans came away with no points in the first half.

Mills finished the game with 310 yards, but you should know he had only 92 yards passing at the start of the fourth quarter.  Mills got good field position after a punt and then threw a great pass to Chris Moore while getting tackled to keep the drive going.  Mills makes mistakes, but he does show some promise with athletic throws like those.

The next drive started with good field position and Mills made a great throw to a wide-open Brandin Cooks for a 45-yard touchdown.

The Texans went with an onside kick and somehow got it.

Mills hit Chris Conley for a big gain to move the ball close to the red zone.  It was a great play by Mills, who spun out of a sack and then threw a perfect pass on the run.  It was a great catch by Conley but Mills made it possible.  Mills continued to hit his receivers and finished another good drive with a touchdown pass to his rookie TE.

Mills saved his day with that fourth-quarter performance, but fantasy players shouldn’t celebrate yet.  Mills struggled a lot until garbage time, and Tyrod Taylor looks primed to return next week.

Mills finished off the touchdown drive with a two-point conversion run.

The Texans managed to get the ball back after the two-minute warning, and once again was finding his receivers down the field.  Mills managed to get the ball into Rams’ territory and threw it into the endzone as time expired, but it went incomplete and the game ended.

 

Running Back

 

Rex Burkhead: 4 carries, 21 yards | 4 targets, 3 receptions, 27 yards | 0/1 Passing

Scottie Phillips: 5 carries, 11 yards | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 9 yards

Phillip Lindsay: 3 carries, 8 yards

David Johnson: 2 carries, 4 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, -1 yard

 

David Johnson got the start after the Texans traded Mark Ingram to the Saints this past week, but it’s safe to say he won’t hold the job long.

Phillip Lindsay saw a few carries after Johnson but did nothing with them.

Scottie Phillips, who performed relatively well in the preseason, came in midway through the second quarter and was involved immediately, seeing carries and targets.  He ended up with the most carries for the Texans, although he didn’t find much running room.

Rex Burkhead came in later in the second quarter and ended up performing the best out of all the RBs.  Burkhead, as we know from his days in New England, is a multi-talented back who may see his playing time increase.

Phillips started the second half but again found no room to run.

Burkhead saw a bulk of the work in the fourth quarter, including a short touchdown run to finally give the Texans their first points of the game.

Scottie Phillips did see some more work, including a target, but again it’s tough to trust any Texan RB for now.

 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

 

Brandin Cooks:  6 targets, 6 receptions, 83 yards, TD

Nico Collins: 4 targets, 4 receptions, 55 yards

Jordan Akins: 5 targets, 5 receptions, 53 yards

Brevin Jordan: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 41 yards, TD

Chris Conley: 2 targets, 1 reception, 24 yards

Chris Moore: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 16 yards

Danny Amendola: 5 targets, 2 receptions, 3 yards

 

Brandin Cooks had himself a decent game and got started early with a nice first-down grab.  Jordan Akins was then used for a screen pass, which throwing screens to Tight Ends seem to be a thing these days.

Rookie TE Brevin Jordan also saw a screen pass on the second drive.

Nico Collins saw a decent amount of work in this one, starting with a 26-yard reception.  After that, he saw some shorter passes and appears to be the clear number two receiver behind Cooks.

In the fourth quarter (garbage time), Cooks finally started getting some targets.  He got a few short receptions, but then broke open for the 45-yard touchdown.  Now it may be due to the Rams playing a bit looser, but it was still nice to see Cooks get a deep pass.

Brevin Jordan made a nice play on his touchdown pass.  It was his first game in the NFL and he made an impact right away.  I wouldn’t go running to the waiver wire, but he might be a TE to just watch for now since the Texan receiving corps is nothing to write home about.  Jordan made another big catch on the last drive, and fellow TE Jordan Akins also caught a few passes.

Danny Amendola did get five targets, however, I don’t believe it’ll amount to anything for fantasy.

 

— Joe Orlofski (@joeorlofski on Twitter)

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