The Los Angeles Rams 2019 season fell well below expectations. While QB Jared Goff had the third-most passing yards in the league (4,638), that did not translate to wins the way the Rams had hoped. His touchdown percentage of 3.5% was the lowest since his dreadful rookie season. As a result, Goff threw for just 22 touchdowns in 2019. Draftkings sportsbook has Goff’s 2020 player props set at 4,325.5 passing yards and 23.5 passing touchdowns, as well as +700 to lead the league in passing yards.
Is there any value in these numbers, and should you draft Goff in fantasy football redraft leagues this year? Let’s find out.
Will Sean McVay afford Jared Goff enough opportunities to hit the over on his 2020 player props?
After an abysmal rookie season under Jeff Fisher, McVay took over and has adopted a pass-heavy approach. I’m not as into overall numbers, as game script can skew those numbers. Instead, I prefer to look at what an offense does on early downs in situation neutral game scripts (score within eight points either way) to get a feel of what an offense strives to be.
Since 2017, the Rams have had early-down pass/rush play percentages of 54/46, 53/47, and 56/44, respectively, according to Sharp Football Stats. In all three years, the Rams have been above league average in terms of throwing the football on early downs. This has translated to a total of 477, 561, and a league-leading 626 pass attempts for Goff, respectively.
We know they want to be a pass-first offense, but what about their projected game scripts? The defense lost three quality starters in pass rusher Dante Fowler, linebacker Cory Littleton, and slot-cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman. The Rams were seventh in the league in yards per play allowed last season. Still, considering the three players mentioned above and a shift in defensive coordinator (Wade Phillips to Brandon Staley), I expect them to be worse this year. We should see a steady flow of neutral or negative game scripts for the Rams in 2020.
What role will pace and personnel play in Goff’s 2020 player prop?
Pace of play is also an important stat when attempting to determine how much volume an offense will see. In 2019, the Rams were top-five in pace in all situations but one (leading by 7+) as identified by Football Outsiders.
Despite trading away WR Brandin Cooks, I believe this team still has the personnel to dictate the pass-heavy approach Rams’ fans have grown accustomed to. Tyler Higbee exploded when the team shifted to more 12 personnel in the second half of the season, while Gerald Everett is an intriguing athletic receiving option at tight end. On the perimeter, you have Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, who form one of the better wide receiver duos in the NFL.
Please don’t take my opinion on it, though. Look at the pass to rush splits when the Rams shifted to more 12 personnel.
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The Rams went from running the second-fewest amount of 12 personnel in the first eight weeks, to the fifth-most in the final nine weeks. Despite that drastic change, they still held a 55/45 pass/rush split on early downs in one-score games.
Here we have a team that wants to pass, will probably have to pass, and plays at a fast pace regardless of the game script. Goff will have all the opportunity he needs to hit the over on his 2020 player props.
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Will Jared Goff’s touchdown percentage show positive regression to hit the over on his 2020 passing touchdowns player prop?
As I mentioned above, Goff’s touchdown percentage of 3.5% was his worst since his rookie year. I went and looked back to 2015 to see how quarterbacks who posted a 3.6% rate or worse fared the following season. I trimmed it down to quarterbacks who attempted at least 400 passes or played 12 games. Those are somewhat arbitrary numbers, but I wanted to weed out those who only played in a handful of games.
There have been 23 QBs that have had a 3.6% or worse touchdown rate since 2015, seven of which did not play enough games the following year to have an adequate sample. Of the 16 who did, 13 saw their touchdown percentage rise by an average of 1.3%. Of course, Goff is no lock to see his touchdown percentage increase based on one trend, but it seems like a relatively safe bet to make. Again, I realize the parameters I used are somewhat arbitrary, but touchdown percentage has been a metric that is known to regress to the mean year to year.
Goff’s career TD percentage clocks in at 4.7%. Under McVay, he has attempted an average of 554 passes per year. If he regresses to his career average, we can project him to throw right around 26 touchdown passes, which is two and a half more than Goff’s touchdown player prop.
How will Goff fare in regards to his 2020 passing yards player prop?
I am not as excited about taking the over on Goff’s passing yards. For one, I don’t expect him to hit 626 attempts again. It’s safer to project him for around 554 (his average under McVay). Using 554 as a baseline for pass attempts and multiplying it by Goff’s career average yards per attempt figure (7.6), we can expect him to throw for approximately 4,210 yards, which is 115.5 less than his projected total. If anything, I’d suggest the under on his yards.
Is Goff a viable target in 2020 fantasy football redraft formats?
As we know, a player’s value on the “real” football field doesn’t always accurately translate to fantasy football. In “real life,” Goff is seen as more of a “trailer” than a “truck,” meaning you can win with him, but not because of him.
Pro Football Network’s Offensive Share Metric supports this, with Goff finishing as the QB35, QB14, and QB33, respectively, since 2017. You may think that it’s up for debate whether you can win with him or not, which is fine. What isn’t up for debate is where Goff has finished in fantasy scoring the past three seasons.
According to Pro Football Reference, Goff has finished as the QB12, QB7, and QB13 under McVay. Fleaflicker’s average draft position (ADP) data has Goff priced as the QB17 (117 overall) in fantasy football drafts. That isn’t much of a discount, but still lower than his career threshold.
Related l 2020 Fantasy Football QB Tiers
Phillip Caldwell has decided to bring his consistency score metric to PFN this season. It tells us how consistent a player is in regards to other players. The higher the score, the more consistent he is.
In 2017 and 2018, Goff posted consistency scores of 7.24 and 6.99, which was good enough to be ranked as the QB9 and QB14, respectively. Last year, like most of the Rams season, was forgettable with a 4.59 (QB31) consistency score. The common denominator here could be Goff’s touchdown rate. Regression to the mean should vault him back up to the QB1 range in Caldwell’s metric.
Where I prefer to target Goff is in best ball formats at Draftkings and Underdog. Goff is priced as the QB18 (143.48 overall) at Draftkings and QB17 (149.2 overall) at Underdog. While he offers no rushing upside, getting your QB1 at the back end of the 12th round is quite the bargain. And if he has a bounce-back year in terms of his touchdown rate, he could be closer to the QB8 we saw in 2018.
If you decide to go late-round QB this year, Goff is more than capable of being your team’s QB1.
Should we bet the over or under on Goff’s 2020 player props?
If you just skipped to the end to see if there are any bets to make, shame on you. That said, I like the over for his passing touchdowns at 23.5, and would lean under on his passing yards at 4,325.5. My colleague Drew Haynes has a firmer stance on Goff’s under passing yards player prop, which you can read about in his Rams 2020 season betting preview.
We have to be careful in the number of overs we expose ourselves to due to the increased risk of players missing games this season. A bet on the over is, more than anything, a bet on a player playing as many games as possible. If this were a typical season, I’d be comfortable laying two units on the over of 23.5 touchdown passes. That said, I’m sticking to one unit on this wager. If you only have access to FanDuel sportsbooks, I still like the over of 24.5.
As for his standing in fantasy, I think you can rely on Goff to give you quality QB1 weeks at the back end of drafts. I prefer to draft him in Draftkings and Underdog’s season-long best ball contests, but also have no problem targeting him in typical drafts as well.
Bets l Jared Goff 2020 Player Props l Over 23.5 touchdown passes l 1 Unit
James Aguirre is a betting and fantasy analyst at the Pro Football Network (@PFN365). For all of our up-to-the-minute picks and analysis, follow the betting group @PFNBets, the fantasy group @PFNDynasty, and James @James_AG1.