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FFL: Week 13 | NFL: Week 13

A .500 team: McVay's Rams in unfamiliar position so far

Tue Oct 4 6:47pm ET
By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer

Related photo caption below

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay speaks at a news conference after an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)


Related photo caption below

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel, left, shakes hands with Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp after an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)


LOS ANGELES (AP) Perhaps it's a positive measure of the Los Angeles Rams' achievements over the previous half-decade when their fan base is panicking after a 2-2 start with losses to two Super Bowl-contending opponents.

Or perhaps it's because those two defeats were ugly enough to inspire serious doubts about whether these Rams have the wherewithal to contend for a repeat championship.

The Rams are a .500 team after their dismal 24-9 loss to the 49ers on Monday night exposed deficiencies in Los Angeles' game planning, roster depth and decision-making by its most important players. The Rams were held to fewer than 10 points for the first time since the 2020 season, and they failed to score a touchdown for only the fifth time in coach Sean McVay's six seasons.

The Rams have only been at .500 later in a season one time under McVay. That was in 2019, when they started 3-3 and eventually missed the playoffs for the only time in his impressive coaching career.

''I'm not sitting here going to make excuses for why we have or haven't done the things that are in alignment with the expectations we have,'' McVay said Tuesday. ''But there's a lot of football to be played. The story isn't written yet. We do have a say in how that story is written ... (and) I've got a good sense for this team. We've got a great mental makeup, and we've just got to continue to battle and stay in the moment.''

With the 3-1 Dallas Cowboys visiting SoFi Stadium on Sunday, the Rams will need a quick turnaround to avoid falling below .500 for only the second time in McVay's coaching career.

The first time was last month, when the Buffalo Bills blew out Los Angeles 31-10 in the season opener.

McVay's Rams had never taken two double-digit losses this early in a season, and a tepid, injury-filled offense is largely to blame. Although the defense allowed four explosive plays by the Niners, coordinator Raheem Morris' unit did more than enough to win most Rams games.

Along with producing only 257 yards and three field goals, the Rams' offense allowed Matthew Stafford to be sacked seven times before he threw a clinching pick-6 - his sixth interception of the young season. The Rams managed 3.52 yards per play and rushed for a mere 57 yards in one of the worst offensive efforts of McVay's career.

''Our guys have high standards,'' McVay said. ''There's been a lot of good things that have gone on over the last couple of years, and I do think it's a fine line between having such high standards that it takes away your ability to compete and enjoy it while acknowledging the different circumstances, none of which will ever be an excuse.''

WHAT'S WORKING

Stafford and the Rams are leaning heavily on Kupp, and the All-Pro wideout isn't letting them down. Kupp had a career-high 14 catches for 122 yards on 19 targets - the second most in his career. He remains largely unstoppable even when an opposing defense knows it's coming.

Kupp leads the NFL in catches and first downs this season, even with newcomer Allen Robinson contributing almost nothing to the offense and Van Jefferson still sidelined by knee surgery.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

Kyle Shanahan still owns McVay, his friend and former colleague in Washington. The Niners have seven consecutive regular-season wins over the Rams, and LA's NFC championship game victory looks increasingly like a fluke in which San Francisco blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and allowed the Rams to sneak back in. McVay must face Shanahan again Oct. 30 at SoFi Stadium, and absolutely nothing Monday suggested anything will be different.

STOCK UP

Tight end Tyler Higbee is making the most of the Rams' decided lack of a dangerous No. 2 receiver. The veteran had 10 catches - the second most in his career - for 73 yards at San Francisco. He already has 26 catches for 244 yards this season, tying Travis Kelce for the most receptions by a tight end in the league.

STOCK DOWN

Takk McKinley apparently isn't making friends quickly at his new job. The 2017 first-round pick got into a vociferous argument with Rams teammate Justin Hollins in the second half, with teammates forced to hold them apart. Hollins claimed the spat was no big deal, but it wasn't a good look for McKinley, who is trying to stick with his fifth franchise in six NFL seasons.

INJURED

The Rams' offensive line depth is extremely thin. Right guard Coleman Shelton will be out for at least the next four weeks after incurring a high ankle sprain Monday while filling in at center for oft-injured Brian Allen, who might not be ready to return from the knee issue that has kept him out since the opener. Jeremiah Kolone was forced to play despite never before snapping the ball to Stafford in team periods at practice. ... S Jordan Fuller will be out two to four weeks with a hamstring injury.

KEY NUMBER

16 - The number of sacks taken in four games by Stafford, already more than half of the 30 he took in 17 games last season. All but two of those sacks occurred in the Rams' losses, but he could be in for more with third-stringers possibly playing all three interior positions on the offensive line this week.

NEXT STEPS

Back-to-back home games against Dallas and Carolina offer a prime chance for the Rams to get back on track. The question is whether they're good enough to take it.

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The Paur Report

Starts, Sits and Sleepers: Week 13

Player Notes
David Montgomery Dec 3 2:30pm ET
David Montgomery

Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery will go up against a Packers run defense in Week 13 that just allowed 363 team rushing yards to the Eagles last week. Green Bay's run prevention has been extremely vulnerable all season and is currently allowing the seventh most fantasy points to opposing runners. This provides an excellent opportunity for Montgomery, who ran for 122 yards against them in Week 2. With Justin Fields back under center, Montgomery represents solid RB2 value in Week 13.

From RotoBaller

Lamar Jackson Dec 3 12:50pm ET
Lamar Jackson

Denver Broncos defensive back K'Waun Williams (knee) has been downgraded to out for the Week 13 contest against the Baltimore Ravens, according to a source. Williams was listed as questionable on Friday but now won't travel with the team to Baltimore. The 31-year-old is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery and will miss his third straight game. The good news is he was able to return to limited practices this week, so Williams should have a shot to return in Week 14 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Denver's D has been good at limiting opponents total yards and points per game, but they don't have much fantasy upside, especially in a tough matchup against Ravens dual-threat quarterback Lamar Jackson this Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Marquise Goodwin Dec 3 12:40pm ET
Marquise Goodwin

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (illness) wasn't given an injury designation on Friday and will play in Week 13 against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. Goodwin was added to the injury report on Thursday, but he'll be good to go this weekend. The 32-year-old pass-catcher had a two-touchdown game in Week 7 and also scored a touchdown in Week 10 in the loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but outside of those games he's done very little for fantasy managers. He caught all three of his targets for 48 yards in Week 12 and has 19 receptions for 265 yards and three TDs on 25 targets in nine games for Seattle in 2022. With both DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett healthy, Goodwin has no business being in starting fantasy lineups in Week 13.

From RotoBaller

Kenny Golladay Dec 3 12:40pm ET
Kenny Golladay

New York Giants wide receiver Kenny Golladay (illness) was added to the injury report on Saturday and is now questionable to play in Week 13 against the Washington Commanders. The Giants could be short-handed at receiver on Sunday, as Darius Slayton (illness) and Richie James (knee) are also up in the air to play. The 29-year-old Golladay is nowhere near fantasy relevance this year, catching only four of 10 targets for 51 yards in seven games. Depending on which receivers can actually play for the Giants this weekend, Isaiah Hodgins, Marcus Johnson and David Sills could see expanded roles in the passing attack against the Commanders.

From RotoBaller

Bryce Perkins Dec 3 12:30pm ET
Bryce Perkins

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay said that quarterback John Wolford will start in Week 13 against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, but rookie Bryce Perkins will also be available for the Rams, and there's "a chance" he could also play. Matthew Stafford (concussion, neck) will miss another game and may not return to play in 2022 with the Rams well out of playoff contention, so the Wolford-Perkins show could continue beyond this weekend. The 25-year-old Perkins has much more scrambling ability than Wolford, which probably makes him slightly more attractive as a desperation low-end QB2 in superflex leagues if he makes another start to close out the season. In his first career start last week, Perkins went 13-for-23 for 100 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions while also carrying the ball nine times for 44 yards.

From RotoBaller

Zonovan Knight Dec 3 12:20pm ET
Zonovan Knight

With New York Jets running back Michael Carter (ankle) doubtful to play in Week 13 against the Minnesota Vikings, the Jets are prepared to use a backfield by committee involving rookie Zonovan Knight, Ty Johnson and James Robinson on Sunday. Carter took over the starting gig when rookie Breece Hall (knee) was lost for the season in Week 7. The Jets are confident in Knight and Johnson, who combined for 131 rushing yards and a touchdown last week against the Chicago Bears. Knight had 103 yards from scrimmage, the most by a Jets rookie in his debut. Robinson was a healthy scratch last week. The Vikings run defense isn't anything special, so both Knight and Johnson could be productive again while sharing touches in New York's backfield this weekend.

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Jamison Crowder Dec 3 12:20pm ET
Jamison Crowder

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Jamison Crowder (ankle), who was placed on Injured Reserve before the Week 5 game due to a fractured ankle, is targeting a late-December return. Crowder suffered a clean break of his fibula and he began walking again a little under a month ago. He's been running on an underwater treadmill for the last two weeks and is intending to get back on the field to start jogging in "maybe like, two weeks." Getting Crowder back for the postseason would be big for the team's receiver depth, but they could also add free-agent Odell Beckham Jr. (knee) after they visit with him this weekend. Crowder would be an upgrade over normal slot receiver Isaiah McKenzie when working against zone coverage, but he's unlikely to have any fantasy appeal the rest of 2022.

From RotoBaller

Odell Beckham Jr. Dec 3 12:10pm ET
Odell Beckham Jr.

There is "considerable doubt" around the league that free-agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (knee) is healthy enough to play football this year, according to an NFC executive. It's a problem because Beckham has told teams he's seeking a multi-year deal that he hopes will end up being worth $20 million per season. He met with his old team, the New York Giants, on Thursday, but the Giants remain "the longest of long shots" to sign OBJ. The most likely team to sign him remains the Dallas Cowboys, who have been talking Beckham up for months. Beckham tore the ACL in his left knee twice in a 16-month span, with the last time less than 10 months ago in the Super Bowl. The Buffalo Bills will also visit with Beckham this weekend. If he signs with a team soon, there's no guarantee he'll become fantasy relevant anytime soon.

From RotoBaller

Tom Brady Dec 3 11:50am ET
Tom Brady

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady threw for 190 yards and a touchdown while completing only 52.9% of his throws against the Saints in Week 2. In all fairness, the signal-caller was forced to navigate his way though that one without Chris Godwin and Julio Jones. Although the signal-caller will be without tackle Tristan Wirfs (ankle), he'll at least have most of his weapons on the offensive end. With New Orleans also banged up defensively, the 45-year-old garners fantasy attention and starting consideration, despite the potential for another lackluster outing.

From RotoBaller

Skyy Moore Dec 3 11:30am ET
Skyy Moore

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Skyy Moore has totaled 10 catches for 99 yards in his previous two games. Although the rookie hasn't scored a touchdown, his increase in production has been a welcome sight, especially for those who'd thought he'd be hot right out of the gate in 2022-23. While Moore has a way to go before being a must-start fantasy option, he may continue to benefit without Kadarius Toney (hamstring), Mecole Hardman (abdomen), and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle) for the Week 13 AFC Championship rematch versus Cincinnati. However, Travis Kelce, JuJu Smith-Schuster (illness), and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (shoulder) will be on the field, so Moore will need to fight for targets from Patrick Mahomes. That said, the wideout has upside for those with nowhere else to turn, so he deserves starting considering for a likely high-scoring affair.

From RotoBaller

Cole Kmet Dec 3 11:10am ET
Cole Kmet

Chicago Bears tight end Cole Kmet had a slow start to the 2022-23 campaign. However, he turned things around by totaling five touchdowns over a three-game span, beginning in Week 8. Unfortunately, the 23-year-old couldn't find the end zone in his previous two games, although he didn't have Justin Fields (shoulder) for the Week 12 loss to the New York Jets. Fields will be back against the Packers on Sunday, which is a plus. At the same time, the season-ending injury to Darnell Mooney (knee) could open up more targets for Kmet in Week 13, so fantasy managers should consider him a starting option in all formats.

From RotoBaller

Kyren Williams Dec 3 10:50am ET
Kyren Williams

Los Angeles Rams running back Kyren Williams had 11 carries in the Week 12 loss to the Chiefs, three more than Cam Akers. He finished with two fewer rushing yards than Akers (35), although he was more involved on the receiving end, catching all three targets for 25 yards. Both men should have a role in Week 13 for the NFC West showdown with Seattle. However, Williams may be the lead option against a horrendous Seahawks run-stop unit, especially since Akers was under the weather throughout the week. That said, L.A. has averaged a second-worst 79.7 rushing yards per game this season, so Williams' outlook isn't bright by any means. Yet, his pass-catching prowess could be somewhat beneficial for desperate managers in deeper PPR fantasy setups.

From RotoBaller

Hayden Hurst Dec 3 1:00am ET
Hayden Hurst

Cincinnati Bengals tight end Hayden Hurst caught six passes for a season-high 57 yards in Week 12 against the Titans. With Joe Mixon (concussion) and Ja'Marr Chase (hip, labrum) sidelined for that one, Hurst got some extra attention from Joe Burrow. However, the 29-year-old hasn't scored a touchdown since early October, leaving many frustrated with his lack of production. Yet, with David Njoku (knee), Kyle Pitts (knee), Dallas Goedert (shoulder), and Darren Waller (hamstring) out, fantasy managers are struggling to fill the tight end spot on the roster. While Hurst has had plenty of underwhelming performances in 2022-23, he certainly has a higher upside than others for Sunday's meeting with the Chiefs, even if Chase and Mixon are back in the lineup.

From RotoBaller

Samaje Perine Dec 3 12:30am ET
Samaje Perine

Cincinnati Bengals running back Samaje Perine got the start in Week 12 against the Titans, filling in for Joe Mixon (concussion). He played well, too, finishing the day with 58 yards and a touchdown off 17 attempts while catching four of his seven targets for 35 yards. With Mixon still in concussion protocol, Perine may lead the backfield once again on Sunday for the AFC Championship rematch versus the Chiefs. If that's the case, the 27-year-old, who has amassed four total touchdowns over the last two weeks, could be in store for another productive outing, so fantasy managers should keep him on the roster for now.

From RotoBaller

Cameron Dicker Dec 3 12:20am ET
Cameron Dicker

Los Angeles Chargers kicker Cameron Dicker was not asked to do much last week but projects as a great option in Week 13 against the Las Vegas Raiders. Dicker has proven himself to be reliable as he is perfect through his first five starts and could be busy on Sunday with the Raiders allowing over 25 points per game. Fantasy managers can start Dicker with full confidence in what could be a high-scoring divisional affair.

From RotoBaller

DeAndre Carter Dec 3 12:10am ET
DeAndre Carter

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver DeAndre Carter posted a career performance last week and will hope to keep the momentum going in a Week 13 contest against the Las Vegas Raiders. Carter has finished as a top-30 fantasy WR in three of his last four games and should stay highly involved with Mike Williams (ankle) inactive once again. Both Keenan Allen and Joshua Palmer should be viewed as superior options, but Carter is worth a look as a flex option in deeper leagues as the Raiders' defense ranks as a bottom-10 unit against the pass.

From RotoBaller

Gerald Everett Dec 3 12:10am ET
Gerald Everett

Los Angeles Chargers tight end Gerald Everett disappointed fantasy managers in a great matchup last week but will have an opportunity to redeem himself against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 13. The Raiders have allowed the sixth-most PPR fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season and surrendered a touchdown to Everett back in Week 1. His inconsistencies make him difficult to trust as a top fantasy option, but the list of reliable tight ends is so short that Everett should still be viewed as a low-end TE1 with solid upside.

From RotoBaller

Josh Palmer Dec 3 12:00am ET
Josh Palmer

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Joshua Palmer has been up-and-down for fantasy purposes this season but will have an excellent opportunity in Week 13 against the Las Vegas Raiders. Palmer exploded for over 100 yards and two scores in Week 11 but was outshined by DeAndre Carter last Sunday. Both should remain involved this week with Mike Williams (ankle) inactive, but Palmer will be the preferred fantasy option due to his more consistent target volume. With Las Vegas allowing over 25 points per game, Palmer has great upside and can be deployed as a WR3 or flex option in all formats on Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Austin Ekeler Dec 2 11:50pm ET
Austin Ekeler

Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler has found the end zone in seven of 11 games this season and should be able to find success against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 13. Ekeler leads all running backs with 98 targets and could easily feast as a PPR option against a Las Vegas defense allowing over 28 PPR fantasy points per game to opposing RBs. This divisional matchup has one of the highest projected point totals of the week, so fantasy managers should have supreme confidence deploying Ekeler as a high-end RB1 in all formats.

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Cameron Brate Dec 2 11:50pm ET
Cameron Brate

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate (illness) missed his second straight practice this week on Friday with an illness. If Brate doesn't return to practice on Saturday, there's a good chance he won't be available to play on Monday night against the New Orleans Saints. But even if the 31-year-old veteran tight end is out there in Week 13, he's not even much of a realistic TE2 streamer in fantasy with rookie Cade Otton's emergence. Brate is still searching for his first touchdown of the 2022 season in seven games and has only 16 receptions on 29 targets for 137 yards. In his last two games, he's hauled in three of his seven targets for 23 yards. Look elsewhere.

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