Thursday Night Football Fantasy Preview: LA Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks

Week 5 kicks off with a banger between the Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday Night Football!

Let’s date ourselves. You’ll remember TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s Friday) from back in the day? It was a two-hour block of arguably the best shows on television being broadcast in a two-hour block, consisting of four shows. I vividly remember my whole family sitting around after eating dinner and starting at about 8 p.m. Eastern, enjoying all these shows in successive order. The era I remember most vividly was Full House, Family Matters, Step By Step, and some random mix of Dinosaurs (which I am watching again on Disney Plus), Perfect Strangers, Sabrina the Teenage Witch (loved the girl, hated the show), and of course Boy Meets World.

Those were some great times in the 90’s and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss them. But time waits for no one and that is now a bygone era of wholesome family entertainment and now people just go to clubs on Friday nights and don’t spend nearly enough time with their families (just my opinion). If only there was something similar that could fill the gap and bring people together on a different night….like say, Thursday…..Well if you’re feeling unusually nostalgic like myself I have great news, there’s a new thing (if you want to call 2006 new) that has the same family-type appeal. TNF…..Thursday Night Football (hey at least it’s not on Friday).

Now if you keep up with The Fantasy’s Phinest you will realize that no, I’m not the amazing Julian DiPaolo (@dipaoljp) who normally does the new Start/Sit articles. So I may not be able to fill Julian’s shoes as far as the intensive, well-researched breakdowns he gives but I will do my best to help you win by sharing random stats I’ve found to support my arguments (we all do that to some degree). Anyhow, Julian and I swapped this week (life happens) and he will be giving you an awesome Start/Sit column later this week. But let’s start with the first game of Week 5, the Seattle Seahawks vs the Los Angeles Rams.

THE QUARTERBACKS

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks: These have been surprisingly good Thursday Night games of late and this one shouldn’t be a letdown either especially headed by one of the most all-around talented quarterbacks in the league. Want to hear a cool stat? Russell Wilson has 10 total touchdowns so far this season (nine passing, one rushing) but has zero turnovers. The guy’s been efficient and very careful with the ball.

Last week he had some tough sledding against the 49ers defense and there may be some difficulty in this matchup against Aaron Donald and company but after seeing what the Cardinals just did to the Rams defense last week, 37 points, Wilson has both the talent and the weapons to do something similar. Also with the high-powered offense of the Rams likely scoring against a subpar Seahawks defense, he may have to pass a lot in this game to keep it close and that shouldn’t be a problem as he’s averaging 261 passing yards per game and two touchdowns per game.

The Rams defense ranks 19th against opposing passers this season and that’s probably not even as good as it seems as their first two games were against Andy Dalton (now the Bears backup QB) and Carson Wentz. Start Russ with confidence in all formats and take joy in knowing that his deep balls are almost as beautiful as his wife (ATL’s own Ciara).

Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams: The Detroit Lions probably should have kept Stafford and traded for Kupp. Are these guys’ besties or what? Stafford’s the number eight fantasy QB this season with over 90 fantasy points already and in real life, he’s thrown for over 1200 yards and 11 touchdowns with just two interceptions. He provides nothing in terms of rushing but the passing volume alone makes him a solid start.

It helps that the Seattle defense has been below average against QB’s this season, ranking 25th in fantasy points allowed. Only one QB (Carson Wentz) hasn’t thrown for at least 320 yards against them. Only one QB (Ryan Tannehill) hasn’t thrown for at least two touchdowns against them if you recall that was that monster Derrick Henry game from Week 2. They do get some pressure on the QB’s (nine sacks in four games) but even that won’t be enough to slow down the cannon-armed Stafford. There’s no reason not to have him in your lineup Thursday night, he’ll definitely be in mine. GO DAWGS!!!

RUNNING BACKS

Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks: As of this writing he’s questionable to play and dealing with a neck injury. He was a non-participant at practice and definitely not a lock to play. Be prepared to insert Alex Collins if need be, who filled in well this past Sunday but there may also be some combination of Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas so it could ultimately be a situation to avoid altogether.

If Carson is active he’s a solid RB2 play due to his volume (his usual volume of about 12-15 carries) and goal-line work (three rushing TD’s through four weeks). The real concern is his lack of involvement in the passing game this season (six catches, 29 yards) which has greatly decreased his value. This whole situation is a lot of uncertainty and you probably won’t get much clarity until around 7 p.m. Thursday. I’m not supremely confident in any of these guys but Carson, if healthy, is solid especially against a defense ranked 22nd against RB’s this season.

Darrell Henderson Jr., Los Angeles Rams: If he’s not injured then you play him. Don’t question or backtalk me, just do it. Averaging 16.5 fantasy points per game and has yet to have less than 15 in any game he’s played in, Henderson is heavily utilized in a high-powered Rams offense. He’s averaging 4.9 yards per carry and the Seahawks rank 31st in points allowed to RB’s.

Darrell (or is it Darrell?) will be used in all facets of the game and as long as he’s not healthy he will be getting your team plenty of fantasy points. So far the Seahawks haven’t given up less than 90 yards rushing on the ground and I don’t see that changing after Thursday.

PASS CATCHERS

D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks: To be clear, Freddie Swain isn’t a thing. Glad to see him have a little success in real life but in fantasy he’s irrelevant. Metcalf and Lockett are the only two you want this game and unfortunately, one of them will be lined up across from Jalen Ramsey. It’s hard to say which one as Ramsey tends to move around a lot nowadays as opposed to shadow coverage or staying in an alignment.

All that said, the Rams only rank 20th in fantasy points against wide receivers. Lockett, who started off hot, has cooled significantly over the last two weeks. Apparently struggling through a hip injury, Lockett has been resigned to underneath throws. That’s unfortunate because most of his production through the first two weeks came off of deep passes. Hard to say sit him but still hurt on a short week and averaging 6.7 fantasy points over the last 2 games I will say if you have healthier and safer options you may need to pivot to them. Staring at 6 points for the rest of the week might not be so aesthetically pleasing.

Metcalf may be the safest option of all the WR’s in this game if for nothing else the consistency. Yet to have less than 11 fantasy points, D.K. has tremendous upside and is easily capable of putting up over 20 points. He has a TD in every game this season but one and there’s a good chance he gets one in this game too. Averaging nine targets over the last three games, Russ has eyes for him. Not like he has for Ciara but it’s still something worth noting.

Gerald Everett should return from the COVID list this week and last time he took the field he was very heavily involved in the passing game (five catches, 54 yards on five targets) and in what could be a high scoring affair has a chance to get double-digit points or a score. If you’re limited at TE then feel free to use the former Ram who may be looking forward to somewhat of a Revenge Game.

Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Van Jefferson, Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams: Is Van Jefferson the new Robert Woods? It certainly appears so. Bobby Trees has been left out in the Woods most of this season (you knew it was coming) as he’s the number 40 WR in fantasy (Jefferson is number 38 for perspective) but Woods has scored at least 12 fantasy points in every game but one this season. McVay has seemed to take notice of his in-game frustration and has publicly acknowledged they need to get him the ball more. Woods has a safe floor and maybe more utilized in a potential shootout. Van Jefferson is a lottery ticket with really high upside. If I had to take a shot at someone Jefferson definitely has the chance to win you your week.

And then there’s Cooper Kupp. The number one WR in fantasy land. Kupp has been ridiculous over the first month of the season. No less than five receptions in every game, last week was the first time he had less than 23 fantasy points in what was a disappointing showing against a tough Cardinals defense. Seattle isn’t nearly as tough (22nd against WR’s) and Kupp should look like his old self (new self? I don’t know) this Thursday night. Start him in all formats and enjoy the early lead you get on your opponent.

Tyler Higbee will once again share a field with Gerald Everett (I wonder if these guys were ever friends or just bitter rivals) but this time it will be in opposite uniforms. The prevailing theory was Higbee would be a top 5 TE if Everett ever left. Well, he did leave but that’s not quite what happened. He’s only TE15 on the season (which is equivalent to coming in sixth place of a Spelling Bee) but it’s a bit skewed by his lack of involvement in Week 2 were only recorded one catch for eight yards. Every other week he’s had targets of six, five, and six and no less than seven fantasy points. Start Higbee with confidence in this matchup as he was taken off the injury report and is a full go.

DEFENSES

I’ve kind of hinted at them throughout the article and their various rankings but just in case you’re slow to the take, you probably want to sit these defenses this week. There are much better streaming options this week you could turn to and this will be a game where there’s likely to be a lot of points scored.

The Rams DST has seen their point totals drop every week of the 4 game season and in Week 3 they had zero so what does that tell you? Good real-life defense (maybe) but bad for your fantasy football winning percentage.

I could say almost the same about the Seahawks DST except in Week 4 their points actually jumped up by six points, to one! After 4 different opponents, Seattle’s DST has scored a grand total of… ZERO points! That’s something not even the 12th Man can fix. This ain’t your big brother’s Legion of Boom. Please leave both of these DST’s out of your lineups this week and thank me later.

That’s all I got for you this week and you’ll probably get Julian back for this next week (he does a much better job at this than I do but you got me this week, deal with it) and as always feel free to follow me on Twitter at @DevekkioCarter and please feel free to subscribe to the website thefantasysphinest.com for more content. Wishing you well and hoping your opponent plays one of the DST’s from this game and has to look at it until Tuesday.

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