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Raiders vs. Rams: Thursday Night Football Primer & Start/Sit Advice (Week 14)

by Derek Brown | @dbro_ffb | Featured Writer
Dec 7, 2022

Every week, I’ll be writing a comprehensive primer on every NFL matchup and all of the relevant players, matchups, pace and playcalling notes, and injuries. It covers everything you need to know when setting your lineups. But since that article is massive and requires a full pot of coffee, we’re also going to offer these more focused matchup overviews to help you prepare for Thursday Night Football.

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Thursday Night Football Primer & Start/Sit Advice: Raiders vs. Rams (Week 14)

Pace and playcalling notes

  • Since Week 12, the Rams are 27th in neutral pace while sporting the second-highest neutral rushing rate.
  • Las Vegas is 15th in neutral pace while maintaining their pass-happy ways (eighth in neutral passing rate).

Quarterbacks

Derek Carr: Carr has been on a roll with QB1 outings in four of his last five games. Since Week 9, he is 18th in PFF passing grade, eighth in yards per attempt, seventh in big-time throw rate, and first in passing touchdowns (minimum 25 dropbacks). Since Week 8, the Rams have been 29th in pass defense DVOA. Over their last three games, they are bottom-three in passing yards per game, yards per attempt, and passer rating allowed. Carr is a QB1.

LAR QBs: John Wolford is a game-time decision this week. If he can’t suit up, the Rams’ most recent acquisition, Baker Mayfield, could draw the start. Mayfield has had 15 seconds to learn the playbook, so expect a conservative game plan that will continue to lean heavily on the run. The Raiders are a good matchup for whoever draws the start. Over their last four weeks, the Raiders have been 27th in passing yards per game, 19th in EPA per drop back, and 31st in explosive pass rate allowed. Despite this being a glowing matchup, this is a quarterback room to avoid. Wolford is banged up, and Mayfield couldn’t produce viable fantasy numbers even when he fully grasped the Panthers’ playbook. 

Running Backs

Josh Jacobs: Jacobs has been incredible. Over the last three weeks, he’s averaging 31.1 touches and 204.4 total yards. Yes, those numbers are insane. Jacobs is also fifth in yards after contact per attempt, second in runs of ten-plus yards, and second in PFF’s elusive rating behind only Nick Chubb (minimum 50 rushing attempts). Jacobs is top-five in opportunity share, weighted opportunities, and expected fantasy points per game. The Rams have been a tough draw for running backs. Despite their injuries, they held DeeJay Dallas and Tony Jones to 3.0 yards per carry (17 carries) last week. They also rank 20th in rushing success rate allowed for the week, so there’s some hope for Jacobs to enjoy a surprising day on the ground. Since Week 10, Los Angeles is seventh in rushing yards per game, 14th in EPA per rush and third in explosive run rate allowed. Whatever Jacobs lacks in the rushing department, he can make up in the passing game. Los Angeles has allowed the tenth-highest receiving yards per game and fourth-highest yards per reception to running backs. Jacobs is 11th in target share (12.9%), sixth in routes run, and 14th in yards per route run among running backs. Jacobs is a top-five running back weekly.

Week 13

Player Rushing attempts Targets Routes Red zone opportunities
Cam Akers 17 1 19 3
Kyren Williams 3 1 11 0

 

Cam Akers: Well, last week was unexpected. After Williams had seemingly taken over the backfield the week before, Akers looked like an overrated early down banger. Then Week 13 happened. Akers played 72% of the snaps, easily his highest snap count of the season, with 18 touches and 60 total yards (two rushing touchdowns). He ran more routes than Williams and gobbled up all of the red zone work. Something I highlighted last week in the Primer and have to revisit this week. Since Week 10, Akers has shown some life, ranking 16th in yards after contact per attempt, 16th in missed tackles forced, and tenth in PFF’s elusive rating (minimum 15 carries). Since Week 10, the Raiders are 21st in rushing success rate, 17th in EPA per rush, and 25th in fantasy points per game allowed to running backs. A large portion of that has come through the air, as they are 29th in receiving yards per game and yards per reception allowed to backs. Akers hasn’t earned a decent share of the passing game all year, so I’d be surprised if that flips this week. Akers is a high-end RB3.

Kyren Williams: Williams is stash worthy, but after last week’s changing of the guard, he’s unplayable. Williams played 28% of the snaps with only four opportunities and nine total yards.

Wide Receivers

Davante Adams: Adams has kicked it into full legend mode. He’s arguably having the best season of his career. He’s on pace for 191 targets, 112 receptions, 1,666 receiving yards, and 17 receiving touchdowns. Adams has a 32.7% target share, 38.2% end zone target share, and 41.5% air yard share. He is second in PFF receiving grade behind only Tyreek Hill and third in yards per route run (minimum 25 targets). Since Week 10, the Rams have allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to perimeter wide receivers. Adams will run about 68% of his routes against Jalen Ramsey (70% catch rate, 126.1 passer rating) and Derion Kendrick (69.1% catch rate, 113.4 passer rating). Adams is a top-three wide receiver weekly.

Mack Hollins: With Waller out, Hollins has an 18.4% target share and 23.7% air yard share with 1.23 yards per route run. In that seven-game stretch, Hollins has four weeks with WR3 or better finishes, but he sadly has only seen two red zone targets. Hollins has been the Raiders’ deep threat (15 deep targets, 19th among WRs). The lack of a red zone role and touchdown equity has left him at 64th in fantasy points per target. Hollins is a WR4 that will run about 85% of his routes against Ramsey and Kendrick.

Van Jefferson: Since Week 11, Jefferson has had a 19.7% target share (five targets per game), 50% end zone target share, and 28.5% air yard share. In those three games, he has a 91% route run rate, 1.2 yards per route run, and 16% target per route run rate. Jefferson is a WR5 that will run about 66% of his routes against Sam Webb (74.2% catch rate, 97.5 passer rating) and Nate Hobbs (69.4% catch rate, 90.0 passer rating).

Tight Ends

Foster Moreau: Since taking over the starting role in Week 7, Moreau has a 15.1% target share (five targets per game), 38.5% end zone target share, 1.18 yards per route run, and an 18% target per route run rate. Moreau has two top 12 tight-end weeks. He’s been heavily utilized in the red zone over the last four games with five red zone targets. Moreau is a touchdown-or-bust TE2 with top-12 upside if he gets in the endzone. The Rams are giving up the seventh-highest yards per reception and ninth-most receiving touchdowns (tied) to tight ends.

Tyler Higbee: With Stafford out of the lineup, Higbee has seen his volume drop to 2.5 targets per game. He goose-egged in Week 12 and scratched out 14 receiving yards in Week 13. With the team moving to a run-heavy approach and their pace going in the tank, Higbee is a TE2 that will disappoint if he doesn’t score. Higbee is a low-end streaming option. Las Vegas is 25th in DVOA, surrendering the seventh-highest catch rate and tenth-most receiving yards per game.

If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant, which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.

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*All data utilized in this article courtesy of FantasyPros, PFF, SharpFootball Stats, Football Outsiders, FTN, Rotoviz, and Playerprofiler.com unless otherwise specified.*

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