Seattle’s biggest advantage in this game is clear – Russell Wilson.
He’s been exceptional this season in leading the Seahawks’ offence – he ranks fourth in Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back (0.30) out o the 25 QBs who’ve dropped back more than 100 times so far this season.
His opposite number Jared Goff has stunk it up, relatively speaking, placing 19th in the same metric. On Sunday he had over 500 yards passing, which sounds great, but that was on 63 attempts, and he also had four turnovers in a game the Rams lost.
The Seattle signal-caller also carries a threat on the ground that Goff does not, so he’s a clear candidate for one of your player slots, and even the MVP multiplier.
These are two of the elite running backs in the league, so we could see a decent amount of Todd Gurley and Chris Carson on Thursday night.
Among the 32 ball carriers with 20 or more carries, Gurley has clearly been a more efficient runner of the two backs, with a 0.12 Rushing Net Expect Points (NEP) per carry, which ranks as fifth-best in the league, while Carson has been one of the league’s worst runners, placing 30th thanks to a minus figure of -0.27, with three fumbles lost accounting for a large part of this negative number.
You’d have to consider the way Gurley has been used too in these stats though, as he has been on a very limited snap count through the opening weeks – he had two touchdowns on Sunday, which is great for fantasy, but the volume of usage is alarming – he was handed the ball just five times.
He did play a role in the passing game too, so that helps. The Rams are a pass-focused offence, so as long as they keep using him there too, he’s a viable fantasy option.
Seattle could work CJ Prosise into the mix too given Carson’s slippery fingers, but he’ll still dominate the majority of rushing touches.
Tyler Lockett is the unquestioned standout for the home team. He ranks as 12 WR overall in standard fantasy scoring through Week 4 and has stepped up as Russell Wilson’s #1 target following Doug Baldwin’s retirement.
He accounts for 25.2% of all Wilson’s completions this season, with rookie DK Metcalfe and tight end Will Dissly up over a third of the remaining targets.
The Rams offence is more diverse in terms of targets, with Cooper Kupp standing as Jared Goff’s favourite target, but Robert Woods is not far behind, and Brandin Cooks presents a deep threat too.
Kupp’s become a touchdown hog in recent weeks, with three to his name so far, while Woods is still scoreless through four weeks.
Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett both contribute at the tight end spot, though the even distribution of looks makes them a hard quantity to predict for fantasy purposes.
It’s still early, but neither of these defences have looked great this year.
The Rams are a real disappointment. They rank 14th overall by opponent-adjusted metrics, which, considering their talent, is really not excusable and will put their offence under pressure consistently if it continues. Despite Jadeveon Clowney’s arrival via trade, the Seahawks rank even lower, at 23rd overall. They’ve been better against the run, ranking 12th, but are only 24th against the pass.
Pass rushers for both teams have failed to trouble QBs this year too – based on Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate, the Rams are the 18th best QB press, while Seattle are 21st.
That should mean that offences dominate tonight, so filling out a fantasy line-up should skew toward the passing game.