Opening day for the Rams is this Sunday at the Coliseum as they are set to take on the Indianapolis Colts. Let’s take a look at who could be fantasy relevant in this game.
RB Todd Gurley, Rams (Started in 100% ESPN Leagues)
Gurley is likely in for a major confidence booster in his contest. After an extremely disappointing 2016 campaign, Gurley looks to bounce back immediately with a tone setting game. What better of a team to do that against than the Colts who are ranked by ESPN Fantasy as the 25th defense versus running backs. Expect Gurley to take advantage of a defense that still has to gel and likely won’t be playing their best football until later in the season.
Stat Prediction: 18 carries, 91 yards, 2 touchdowns & 3 receptions, 27 yards
Projected Points: (STANDARD) 23 pts/26 pts (PPR)
RB Frank Gore, Colts (Started in 45% ESPN Leagues)
Gore is still trucking along at 34-years old and while people are expecting him to finally hit his wall, I say don’t listen to them. Gore will be running hard and the Colts will need to give up a nice dose of carries with Andrew Luck out. Expect Gore to take advantage of the defensive line shifting without Aaron Donald and have a pretty good game. The most carries Gore had in a game last year was 26, but I believe he will get more than that right off the bat.
Stat Prediction: 28 carries, 101 yards, touchdown
Projected Points: 17 pts
WR Sammy Watkins, Rams (Started in 47.3% ESPN Leagues)
Sammy Watkins is a very risky pick for some as it’s uncertain how much he can really help out an offense after he was just traded not long ago to the team. I’m here to tell you, if you have concerns about Watkins knowing the playbook…well…don’t. Reports have come out that Watkins stayed multiple days after practice and working overtime to learn the playbook and he now knows it and knows it well. Watkins may seem touchdown dependent in this one, but I would completely disagree. With the lack of experienced talent in the secondary, I believe Watkins could break out day one for the Rams. Cooper Kupp may have just as much value because of his high target percentage from QB Jared Goff in the preseason, but I think Watkins ends up with more yards due to the simple fact he will be able to take the top off the defense. Especially without star CB Vontae Davis.
Stat Prediction: 7 receptions, 141 yards, touchdown
Projected Points: (STANDARD) 20 pts/27 pts (PPR)
WR Cooper Kupp, Rams (PPR DEPENDENT) (Started in 0.8% ESPN Leagues)
As previously mentioned, I believe Kupp is going to be heavily targeted by Jared Goff and while he may not have the yardage that Watkins will have, Kupp is going to be a PPR game-breaker that you can deploy right in your FLEX spot each week. Kupp was targeted n preseason 10 times, coming down with eight of them for a total of 105 yards and a touchdown. Kupp’s savvy route running, underrated separation and taller frame at 6-foot-2 is going to pose a nightmare in the middle of the field and outside the numbers all year long. The Colts just do not have a talented secondary and they aren’t going to be able to stop a savvy route runner that has great hands like Kupp.
Stat Prediction: 9 receptions, 95 yards
Projected Points: (STANDARD) 9 pts/ 18 pts (PPR)
WR T.Y. Hilton, Colts (Started in 98.3% ESPN Leagues)
Regardless of the defense T.Y. Hilton is such a dynamic player and if you have him on your roster he should always be starting. Unless he is on a bye of course. The Rams starting cornerbacks have actually never played with each other in an actual game yet, just practice. Hilton could take advantage of a talented secondary that has literally never played all together in a game. Tolzien started the game versus the Steelers last season and slung the rock around a bit. Tolzien was not careful with the ball and gave his receivers chances to make a big play. Hilton caught three balls for 54 yards, whereas teammate Donte Moncrief six for 45 yards and a touchdown. With the amount of time Tolzien has had working with the one’s of this offense, he and Hilton should be on the same page.
Stat Prediction: 5 catches 72 yards, touchdown
Projected Points: (STANDARD) 13 pts/18 pts (PPR)
Rams Defense (Started in 22.6% ESPN Leagues)
Yes, I have the Colts scoring some touchdowns in this one, but the Rams are going to force some turnovers on the backup Tolzien. Expect at least a couple and especially with the athletes on the roster, the Rams could take one to the house.
Stat Predictions: 17 points allowed, 288 yards allowed, interception, forced fumble, three sacks
Projected Points: 10 pts
Sleeper FLEX Considerations
RB Marlon Mack, Colts (Started in 0.1% ESPN Leagues)
This is a deep, deep, deep FLEX option and I am just merely saying his name for you guys. I don’t have Mack breaking out or anything, but I felt like he was a name to mention. Mack could receive the backfield pass catching duties as he is the backup RB now passing Robert Turbin who has been unable to stay healthy. The fourth-round pick is a nice sleeper for down the road, but in this draft unless your league is real deep I don’t see the point.
Stat Predictions: 4 carries, 18 yards, 3 receptions, 15 yards
Projected Points: (STANDARD) 2 pts, 5 pts (PPR)
WR Tavon Austin, Rams (Started in 0.1% ESPN Leagues)
Tavon Austin is extremely intriguing, on one hand he didn’t get any preseason action and was held out of almost the whole off-season with an injury. However, one the other it’s Sean McVay and Matt LaFleur in charge of this offense, you can expect creativity and Austin will likely be used as a RB/WR. Bear in mind what happened the last time Austin played the Colts. Austin dominated to the tune of three touchdowns. He probably isn’t in for that, but expect the Rams to send a message to the league this Sunday when the Rams turn Austin into what Ty Montgomery is in Green Bay.
Stat Predictions: 5 carries, 40 yards & 4 receptions for 44 yards
Projected Points: (STANDARD) 8 pts/ 12 pts (PPR)
That’s all I have for you. As you can see just by doing the math I expect Jared Goff to have a great game, but I don’t advise playing him. You are much better off going with other QB’s this early in the season. If Goff continues to play well at a high level then I would say go for it. Also, with Robert Woods and Donte Moncrief I would operate on a wait and see basis. I am not about to start either because of the weapons in front of them. Woods will be battling for touches from Watkins, Kupp, Austin, Gurley and Moncrief will be battling from Gore, Hilton and Kamar Aiken. Honestly, I might even go with Aiken over Moncrief this season. Good luck in opening week and take it right back here with our fantasy reaction after the game and next week’s Redskins @ Rams Fantasy Overlook.