Money drives the bus in the NFL and Thursday Night Football is the perfect example. With the Week 5 game being simulcast on Fox along with the NFL Network, the league is giving you its best match-up since the season opened with the Bucs and Cowboys. No more Texans. No more Jaguars. Tonight, we get two powerhouses from the NFC West as the Los Angeles Rams head north to take on the Seattle Seahawks. This game is loaded with marquee talent and, as such, should be a juicy showdown slate with plenty of options.
Now before we begin, please take a moment to understand what exactly you are getting yourself into by playing single-game Showdown Slates. We love to have some skin in the game, for sure, but these slates are, for all intents and purposes, a lottery ticket. Sure, there are times when the chalk hits and everyone shares in the prizes, but, more often than not, you need to hit on that random dart-throw that differentiates your lineup from that of the herd in order to claim the top prize. As a result, we encourage you to play responsibly and not over-invest. Stick to the GPP contests (single-entry preferred), don’t blow your whole bankroll, and understand that, unless you are a max-entry player, you should prioritize having fun.
OK. Lecture over. Let’s get to tonight’s action.
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks
Spread: Rams -2.5
Weather: Partly cloudy with temperatures in the low-to-mid 50s; winds blowing NNW at 6 mph
Los Angeles Rams
Chris Carson, RB – neck (questionable)
D’Wayne Eskridge, WR (concussion – out)
Gerald Everett, TE – COVID (questionable – needs one more negative test)
DVOA Defensive Rankings
vs Pass: 17th
vs Run: 22nd
vs Pass: 27th
vs Run: 17th
**Please note that players not listed below are not necessarily a complete fade and any player listed can certainly be used as the MVP/Captain. These are merely suggestions for players to use when setting Showdown lineups.
Matthew Stafford, QB LAR – Pretty tough not to love Stafford who couldn’t be happier playing for the Rams this season. He’s averaging 304 passing yards per game and has a strong 11:2 TD:INT against some strong competition. He’s getting back some support from the ground game tonight, but knowing the shortcomings of this Seattle defense and the 54 over/under, you know he’s going to be slinging the rock often.
Russell Wilson, QB SEA – While he may only be averaging 261 passing yards per game, this switch to a west coast passing attack has given Wilson a strong boost overall, most notably with his 72.5-percent completion rate. His accuracy is up, he hasn’t turned the ball over at all and he even started doing some running last week which led to his first rushing touchdown of the year. The backfield is dealing with some injuries right now, so don’t be surprised to see him take over a little more than usual.
Cooper Kupp, WR LAR – He’s Stafford’s best friend in the whole wide world. These boys are like peas and carrots, peanut butter and jelly or whatever comparison you’d like to make. Kupp has seen double-digit targets in every game thus far and that won’t change tonight against a Seattle defense that has allowed 292.5 passing yards per game and has given up eight touchdowns through the air. Expect another strong output.
Tyler Lockett, WR SEA – With Jalen Ramsey expected to blanket DK Metcalf, Lockett should see some extra targets come his way. He’s already produced two 100-yard efforts and has three touchdowns on the season. Whether he’s working against David Long in the slot or Darious Williams on the outside, Lockett has the physicality and speed to shake coverage and gain position downfield.
Robert Woods, WR LAR – It’s been a tough transition for Woods, going from Jared Goff to Stafford as he just isn’t seeing the usual volume. But that certainly doesn’t mean he is bereft of fantasy value as he’s found the end zone twice this season and is still averaging roughly six targets per game. What makes this match-up so intriguing is the defensive coverage. The Seahawks actually rank 30th in DVOA against the opposing WR2 and are allowing an average of 76.4 receiving yards per game to them. To put it simply, Sidney Jones just isn’t a strong cover-corner and Woods should be able to get the better of him in this match-up.
Darrell Henderson, RB LAR – He’s made his way back from the rib injury and could be an interesting option this week as the Seahawks are giving up the most rushing yards per game (152) and have allowed three rushing touchdowns so far. They also happen to rank 28th in DVOA against running back pass-plays and have allowed an average of 72.9 yards per game to them.
Chris Carson/Alex Collins, RB SEA – While many look at the Rams defense as being one of the top units in the NFL, few people are talking about how they’ve allowed 123.5 rushing yards per game and have given up six rushing touchdowns already. Carson is dealing with a neck issue and likely a game-time decision, so keep a watchful eye. If he plays, I like getting him into the lineup. If he doesn’t, I will happily pivot to Collins who should get some early work in this one.
DK Metcalf, WR SEA – It’s always tough to count out Metcalf, but with Ramsey crawling all over him, he serves only as a contrarian play for those setting multiple lineups and want at least some exposure. This is the fifth time the two have matched up and Ramsey tends to get the better of him. In fact, with Ramsey on Metcalf for 71% of the plays during their last two regular season games, Metcalf was limited to eight catches for 87 yards.
Freddie Swain, WR SEA – With Ramsey covering Metcalf and the Rams potentially drifting safety help towards Lockett after he burns them on a few plays, things should open up for Swain, particularly against David Long in the slot. The Rams rank 26th in DVOA against the slot receiver and while they’re only allowing 59.3 yards per game to them, they’ve been giving up the touchdowns which is exactly what you’re looking for in a showdown slate.
Van Jefferson, WR LAR – He’s really starting to blossom as a complete receiver with the way Sean McVay has insisted he be moved all around the field. He’s usually the first guy on the field in three-receiver sets and he’s seen a nice increase in targets over the last two games. He should prove to be a decent salary-saver if you’re looking for some cheap help.
DeSean Jackson, WR LAR – He’s the ultimate dart-throw as we are all very much aware of Jackson’s big-play ability. He’s only seeing a 30-percent share of the total snaps, but he’s now seen eight targets over the last two weeks and has one 100-yard effort with a touchdown.
Tyler Higbee, TE LAR – There is no injury designation heading into this game as Higbee was dealing with a slight ankle issue following last week’s game. The Seahawks are a middle-of-the-pack team with regard to covering the tight end, so using him would strictly be for salary relief. He’ll likely only see a small handful of targets but he could certainly make them count as he already has five red zone targets through four games.
Will Dissly, TE SEA – Starting tight end Gerald Everett still needs one negative COVID test before he is allowed to rejoin the team, so Dissly has been the guy seeing the first-team reps during this short week of preparation. He makes for a solid dart-throw this week as the Rams are allowing 76.9 receiving yards per game to the tight end position and are allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game to them. UPDATE: Gerald Everett will NOT play tonight, so Dissly remains in-play here.
Sony Michel, RB LAR – With Henderson returning to action, Michel’s role is going to be incredibly limited, but could be relied upon in short-yardage and possibly even goal-line work if the team is inside the five-yard line. Not my favorite dart, but if looking to differentiate yourself from the herd and setting multiple lineups, he gets the shrug and a “why not?”
Matt Gay, PK LAR – he’s already had nine field goal attempts this season (8-for-9)and has 13 successful extra-points made. The Rams offense is affording him with numerous opportunities, so if you need a pay-down who will still log you points, this is the move.
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