New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams Matchup Preview 9/15/19: Analysis, Depth Charts, Daily Fantasy
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In week 2, we get to see a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship, which ended with a narrow 26-23 victory in favor of the Rams. This season, we should see another great game between these two teams. Last week, the Saints won the closest game, beating the Texans 30-28 on a last second field goal. The Rams narrowly escaped a comeback win, defeating the Panthers 30-27. Both teams looked like Super Bowl contenders to kick off the season, and we might even see these two teams face off again in the playoffs. This is the game to watch this week. For both teams, this is an early test to see how they fare against difficult opponents. I expect it to be a very close game because these teams are so evenly matched. For odds movement and full matchup history, visit the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams matchup page.
Date: Sunday, September 15th, 2019
Time: 4:25 ET
Location: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – Los Angeles, CA
New Orleans Saints: DT Sheldon Rankins (Q) – Achilles, S Marcus Williams (Q) – Groin, WR Ted Ginn Jr. (Q) – Illness
Los Angeles Rams: S Eric Weddle (Q) – Concussion, DT Michael Brockers (Q) – Shoulder, LB Clay Matthews (Q) – Back
New Orleans Saints Analysis
The Saints offense looked very good last Sunday. Alvin Kamara had 169 scrimmage yards, Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn Jr. each had over 100 receiving yards, and the offensive line allowed only 1 sack. The Rams defense will be a more difficult task for the Saints this week. The Rams stifled the Panthers’ offense in the first half, allowing only 3 points. However, they still allowed Christian McCaffrey to have a huge game with 209 scrimmage yards. By that logic, Alvin Kamara will have a great game this week also. He is the focal point of the Saints offense and will get a lot of touches.
Michael Thomas got paid this offseason, becoming the highest paid non-quarterback in the league. It is well deserved, as he is always open for Brees to throw to. He will have a great game against the Rams because he is consistently productive. The concern for the Saints last season was that there are no other consistent receivers for Brees to throw to other than Michael Thomas. So, the Saints signed tight end Jared Cook. He did not have a great game last week, with only 2 receptions for 37 yards. The other receivers from last year were more productive. Ted Ginn Jr. looked like the clear WR2, catching all 7 targets for 101 yards. Also, second-year receiver Tre’Quan Smith caught two balls and a touchdown pass. Brees has great targets to throw to, and Jared Cook could become a larger part of the passing game in the coming weeks.
New Orleans Saints Depth Chart
Los Angeles Rams Analysis
The offense put up a good performance against the Panthers. While it was not an amazing game for the Rams offense, some players shined. Running backs Malcolm Brown and Todd Gurley were very effective as a tandem, with Brown rushing for 53 yards and 2 touchdowns and Gurley rushing for 97 yards. Brown had a lot more responsibility in the Rams offense, getting 11 carries on offense. Do not let that stat fool you. While Gurley and Brown had almost equal touches, Gurley was on the field for 54 snaps compared to Brown’s 24 snaps. He is still the primary back, and Brown’s performance should be considered an anomaly. 2 touchdowns on 11 carries was lucky for Brown, and we might not see Brown get another performance like that going forward.
Another interesting part of the offense to watch is the tight ends. Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett have been splitting snaps at tight end for this high powered offense. Last week, Higbee was on the field for 52% of snaps, caught 4 balls for 20 yards and 1 touchdown, while Everett was on the field for 39% of snaps and caught 1 pass for 7 yards. Higbee looks like the top tight end for now, and should see a lot of snaps against the Saints. He could do well this game. However, in the Rams offense, tight ends are not a huge factor because the Rams almost always have at least three receivers on the field. The three top Rams receivers were all on the field for at least 90% of snaps, but had varying levels of productivity. Robert Woods was the most productive, and had 13 targets, more than Cooper Kupp’s 10 targets and Brandin Cooks’ 6 targets. Woods looks like the primary passing option for Jared Goff, but it is hard to definitively say that after only one game.
Los Angeles Rams Depth Chart
Daily Fantasy: Todd Gurley Returns to Form
Alvin Kamara (DK: $8,200, FD: $8,700) and Todd Gurley (DK: $7,000, FD: $7,000) will pop off this week. Alvin Kamara is always a safe bet for the Saints, but this week is an especially good matchup for him because they Rams allowed 209 scrimmage yards and 2 touchdowns to Christian McCaffrey last week. As a dual-threat running back, Kamara will tear apart the Rams. I also really like Gurley for this week because he is still the lead back for the Rams. Even though he did not get any touchdowns, Gurley still received 70% of snaps at running back. He will rebound from last week’s underwhelming performance, and is heavily underpriced on FanDuel. I would not go with Malcolm Brown (DK: $4,100, FD: $5,500) this week, even if he might seem like a sneaky pick. He just has not shown that he will be consistently involved in the offense, getting only 27% of snaps. The Rams receivers–Brandin Cooks (DK: $6,300, FD: $7,000), Robert Woods (DK: $6,400, FD: $7,300), and Cooper Kupp (DK: $6,000, FD: $6,800)–always put up solid numbers as a unit, but it is very difficult to predict which of them will have the best game. Last week Robert Woods had 8 receptions for 70 yards and Brandin Cooks had 2 receptions for 39 yards. I would beware of picking any of them because they are all prone to having occasional unproductive games.