Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams
- Spread: Seahawks -1
- Total: 46
- Seahawks implied points: 23.5
- Rams implied points: 22.5
Geno Smith: I understand that Smith is coming off of a productive week against the Washington Commanders, but not all good games demand your reaction.
I’m moderately encouraged by the fact that he funneled 52.4% of his throws to WRs DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett last week. I’m also moderately encouraged by the fact that he has thrown multiple TD passes in three of his past four.
That said, he still isn’t running like he did last season (under 15 yards in seven of nine games), and the Rams held him in check in the season opener with 112 yards on 26 passes.
Neither QB in this game is a top-20 play for me this week.
Matthew Stafford: All signs point to the veteran signal-caller returning to action following the bye, and that means a lot to his receivers.
Stafford, himself, doesn’t need to be on your radar in single QB formats. His upside (best finish this season: QB14) doesn’t warrant you playing the matchup game with him, and the fact that he managed to throw for 334 yards without a touchdown in the first meeting hints as much.
If we assume his health is in order, Stafford is an average QB2 in Superflex formats and nothing more.
Kenneth Walker III: Walker’s carry count rebounded last week against the Commanders after a pair of single-digit carry efforts, and that was as good to see as the open field upside was in his 64-yard touchdown catch.
The Rams held him to 16 touches for 67 yards in Week 1, a production level that reflects the lone end of what I expect this week. He is my RB16 this week, and while there is some risk involved, I have him looking at 15-17 touches – a role that is too valuable to bench.
Zach Charbonnet: The rookie has out-snapped Walker in three-straight games and held an eye-popping 30-13 edge over the “starter” in routes run last week. It’s clear that the ‘Hawks trust Charbonnet in the two-minute drill and third downs. Walker was on the field for exactly zero snaps in either situation.
While that’s important for Seattle’s offense, it means very little for us. He’s yet to clear 10 touches.
Charbonnet’s nothing more than roster depth. I have him ranked as RB38 and would rather Flex low-volume receivers with high per-target potential.
Darrell Henderson: I’ve been anything but impressed with Henderson during his three games (2.8 yards per carry), but his lead role, along with being the preferred RB in the passing game, gives him enough outs to be a viable Flex option against a Seahawks defense that is below average in most metrics.
Henderson is ranked behind the running backs whose volume I feel good about and is just ahead of the secondary backs with a lower touch expectation.
Royce Freeman: Committee situations are difficult as is, and I tend to penalize RBs in situations that lack versatility in a significant way.
Freeman has just one target this season and has been out-carried in two of three games by Henderson. Not only does that make him the second-most impactful running back on this roster, but it excludes him from my comfort zone when it comes to Flex ranks.
He deserves to be rostered due to his role, but I’m looking for reasons to not play him – the Rams totaled just 92 yards on 40 carries in the Week 1 meeting.
DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett: These two stars had combined for two top-20 finishes in Weeks 1-9 per the Week 11 Cheat Sheet, but both showed out last week against the Washington Commanders and posted top-20 finishes at the position. Metcalf caught seven passes for 98 yards, while Lockett caught eight passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.
I don’t think all previous struggles can be forgiven after a single strong game, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. This passing game was locked down in the Week 1 meeting — the two receivers combined for 57 yards on nine targets.
The Rams rank below average in QB hurry rate this season, and that has me slightly preferring Metcalf to Lockett. The Ole Miss product’s aDOT advantage has grown this year from last, and with Smith having time to read downfield coverage schemes, I’d rather bet on Metcalf in DFS formats.
That said, I have both ranked as fantasy starters (Metcalf as a WR2 and Lockett as a Flex) in all formats.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba: The rookie has shown some strong target-earning skills this season, and his 68.8% catch rate is impressive. That said, those metrics have yet to return much in the way of yardage upside. He has yet to reach 65 yards in a game.
Smith-Njigba ran a route on 67.3% of Smith dropbacks last weekend and is in no danger of losing his WR3 role to Jake Bobo, but he is outside of my comfort zone when it comes to looking for a Flex.
Could that change when Seattle faces Tennessee during the fantasy semifinals in Week 16? Maybe, but I need to see more per-catch upside before I consider him for my starting lineup.
Cooper Kupp: Rostering Kupp this season has been no different than your high school/college experience — let me explain.
Kupp started the season on IR, and that was you in high school. It was a safe space. You were sheltered from decision-making, simply waiting for the time to come when you were going to have to make difficult calls and venture into the “real world.”
He then returned, and that was you leaving for college. In his first two games, he caught 15 passes on 21 targets for 266 yards.
All systems go! You’re locked into your studies to make your parents proud. You’re going hard on the weekends to ensure that you make the most of your newfound freedom. You’re thriving — the bubble you were in during high school was worth it for this experience.
Then came the second year of college. The courses get more difficult, and the honeymoon stage of living on your own is over. The upside of that first year didn’t go anywhere, but you begin to realize that not everything is sunshine and roses.
In QB Matthew Stafford’s last two starts, Kupp recorded six catches on 17 targets for 50 yards.
So, what does the future hold? Will Kupp managers be the kid that masters the balance of college and truly makes it the best four years of life? Or will managers be the kid that flames out due to a lack of support and decision-making?
I choose to believe the former because this “Kupp manager” persona that I have created was a high-achieving high school student. This person has a track record of success, and the hope is that the potential shines through after a bump in the road. This Kupp persona is me.
Did you need all of that to say you should feel good about playing Kupp? Probably not. But if it helps one person to stay motivated during the tough times, it is 100% worth it. College made me a person that I am proud of today.
If it wasn’t for those who believed in me when I hit rock bottom, I have no idea where I’d be today. With Thanksgiving coming up, this is as good of an excuse as ever to thank those people. Thank them for believing in me when I had no interest in doing so.
Support those you believe in — it costs you nothing, and I promise you, the impact can be so much greater than the effort it takes. So yeah, this is a long article about fake football. And yes, I’m making a very loose life comparison between personal struggles that we all go through and my confidence in Kupp turning things around.
But the moral of the story here is to have people in your corner — people who care. I found support when I needed it most and currently work for people who reinforce that daily. I’m lucky, and I want that for you.
Puka Nacua: Nacua’s career started with a bang against these Seahawks (10 catches for 119 yards on 15 targets), but Kupp was a spectator for that game. If we are to assume that Kupp is the superior target earner — that’s not a knock on Nacua — there is more risk than reward in counting on Nauca.
In Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals, Nacua caught four catches on seven targets for 26 yards. In Week 8 in Dallas against the Cowboys, he caught three passes on the same amount of targets for 43 yards.
Those are the last two games in which Kupp earned more targets than Nacua in a game started by Stafford. Of course, that’s a small sample, but it is a concerning data point that at least needs to be considered. Assuming that Stafford is “all systems go” as expected, Nacua checks in with Metcalf and Lockett toward the bottom of my WR2 rankings for Week 11.
Tutu Atwell: With Kupp out and Nacua debuting, Atwell piled up 119 yards on six catches in the Week 1 meeting against the ‘Hawks, but the situation is far different this time around.
Since that big season opener, Atwell is averaging just 31.9 receiving yards per game, and that’s more in line with what I expect against an above-average defense in terms of limiting yards per pass attempt.
Tyler Higbee: Higbee has been held without a touchdown since last Christmas and is pacing for just 541 yards this season. His name is one you know, thanks to some production last season, but make no mistake about it – he belongs on waiver wires in all formats.
Should You Start Davante Adams or Tyler Lockett?
We saw signs of life from Lockett last week, and that’s enough to earn him a start in this spot.
Do I think Davante Adams is the more talented player? Yes, but the difference at the quarterback position is too great for me to overlook. Both receivers are lower now in my rankings than they were coming into the season, but if forced to play one, it’s Lockett over Adams for me.
Should You Start Darrell Henderson or Chuba Hubbard?
I prefer Henderson in this spot due to my faith in Stafford giving this offense a reasonable floor. I can’t say that about Bryce Young in Carolina. Chuba Hubbard is clearly the featured back for the Panthers this season, but with him averaging under 3.0 yards per carry since Thomas Brown installed him as the lead back, the upside simply isn’t there.
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