Patriots vs. Rams - Week 14
Patriots @ Rams
44.5, LAR -5
The Patriots travel to California and play their second LA opponent in 5 days. They’re following up on a 45-0 walloping of the Chargers and look to complete the LA sweep. The Rams are coming off a comprehensive victory in Arizona, where they demolished the Cardinals and held Kyler Murray in check. The Rams are trying to compete for the NFC West crown and a possible bye, while the Pats are just looking to stay in the AFC Wild Card race. This should make for an exciting matchup on Thursday night.
Through the Air
Jared Goff has had two top 10 performances in the past 3 weeks, sandwiched around a tough matchup with the 49ers. The Patriots defense has been strong this season, averaging only 21 points against, including the 4th-fewest passing TDs against. This is probably not a great week to dust off the Goff in your lineup. His receivers, however, should get some work, especially in PPR. Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp are both solid WR2s this week, with an edge to Woods as the bigger scoring threat. Van Jefferson and Josh Reynolds have both shown that they can be productive in this offense, but neither has been consistent yet, and we’d advise holding off on them for now. They’re risky WR4/5 types with TD upside. At TE, Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett are both involved in the offense, but they’re probably low-end, TD-dependent TE2s this week.
On the Ground
Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, and Malcolm Brown make up one of the most frustrating backfields to own this season. Akers is coming off 3 straight games with a TD and becoming a more important part of the offense. Most weeks it seems like there are 15-20 guaranteed RB points in this backfield, but the split between the ball carriers is a bit unpredictable. Right now, Akers is in the ascendency, Henderson is staying relevant, and Brown is losing touches, so we’d suggest ranking them in that order. Akers as an RB2, Henderson as a Flex play, and Brown on the bench.
Through the Air
Cam Newton has been playing very well against everyone but the NFC West. Unfortunately, the Rams fit that category. He’s scored at least 1 TD in each game since his COVID comeback, except for the Cards and 9ers. Those were also the only two teams that held him under 100 yards passing (and the Chargers last week, although that had more to do with game script than defensive competence). He’s a QB2 this week, but I’d avoid him. The Patriots may find a way to win this week, but it will likely be due to their defense, not Cam. Fade on all the WRs and TEs. The best option here is Jakobi Meyers, and Gunner Olszewski is an option in return yardage leagues, but none of these guys are higher than WR4/Deep Flex territory.
On the Ground
Damien Harris has been playing well since his return from IR and should continue to be a solid floor RB2 type in this game. James White is TD dependent as always, but the Rams defense makes him a risky gamble this week. He’s in deep flex territory. You can safely ignore Sony Michel, because Bill Belichick certainly is.
The Rams D/ST is slated as one of the top options this week, and with good reason. This should be a low scoring game, they have a great D-line that can force some sacks, and they’re at home. Matt Gay and Nick Folk both should have limited opportunities, so go elsewhere if you can. Patriots Defense is a dangerous start, but could have high upside. Goff plays better at home, so be careful. I’d avoid the Pats D/ST this week, even after their blow-up performance last week.