Robert Woods fantasy

Is Robert Woods a legit fantasy wide receiver?

The Rams’ offense has taken the entire league by storm this year. They went from the worst scoring offense to the best and haven’t looked back.

Last year under Jeff Fisher, this Rams team scored 224 points, the lowest in the NFL. Through nine games this season, the team has already scored 296 points. Led by Jared Goff and Todd Gurley, this offense has flourished. But the true story of this team is the players behind the scenes who have made some noise and helped this team.

In the last two games, Robert Woods has really stepped up with 12 receptions for 241 yards and four touchdowns. He went off for a huge 94-yard touchdown in his last game to really break the game open. In six out of the nine games this season, Woods has had at least four receptions for fifty yards. As of late, he’s starting to pick up in a big way.

Now fantasy owners are asking themselves, “Is Robert Woods a legit fantasy wide receiver?”

Upside on Robert Woods

As Jared Goff has picked up his play this season, it has affected his supporting cast in a great way. Woods has had a great season so far. He has accumulated 39 receptions for 622 yards and four touchdowns in nine games. He already has more yards and touchdowns than he did with the Bills last season.

Over the last two games, he’s scored all four of his touchdowns and has evolved into one of Goff’s top targets. The volume is there for Woods as he has received at least seven targets in four of his last five games. With this volume, he has shown his production and made the most of his opportunity. With double-digit fantasy points in his last two games, each coming with two touchdowns, Woods is trending in the right direction. 

Question Marks for Woods

Now it is true that Woods’ only four touchdowns have come in the last two weeks, which is something to consider about his fantasy production. He produces well on a PPR scale, but for standard league owners, he may only be good if he can find the end zone.

Robert Woods fantasy

Photo from http://www.trbimg.com

Woods is good for at least five fantasy points every week for the rest of the season, but if you’re looking for him to continue his hot streak, he’s going to have to find the end zone. It should also be noted that his latest game of eight receptions for 171 yards and two scores came against a pretty good Houston secondary.

 

In his next three games, Woods goes up against Minnesota, New Orleans and Arizona, three defenses that may give him problems. Even going up against these stout defenses, Woods should be given ample opportunities to continue to produce at a high level for the Rams and fantasy owners.

From here on out, Woods should be considered a solid WR2 or a flex play. However, depending on the matchup, you may need to bench him at times.

 

Feature image from USA Today Sports

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NFL week 3 takeaways

NFL week 3: Eight takeaways

1. Is Jared Goff a franchise quarterback? 

A week ago, we watched Goff throw a terrible interception to Mason Foster, which sealed the victory for the Redskins. In one of the best Thursday night football games of recent memory, Goff led the 2-1 Rams past the 49ers, 41-39. Goff went 22-of-28 for 292 yards and three touchdowns. Goff also did not take any sacks and had zero turnovers. The Rams are seeing his confidence grow, and it is showing on the football field.

NFL week 3 takeaways

Is Goff legit? (SI.com)

So what should we expect moving forward? Well, mistakes will happen, but this kid is growing and improving every week. Under Sean McVay, Goff is in a legit system, unlike Jeff Fisher’s high school offense. McVay turned Kirk Cousins into a respectable quarterback, so the sky is the limit for Goff and the Rams.

2. Tom Brady is not human

Father time had been undefeated up until Tom Brady arrived on Earth. In one of the best performances of his career, Brady led the Patriots to a miraculous come-from-behind win against Houston 36-33. He completed 71 percent of his passes, threw for 378 yards and tallied up 5 touchdowns.

Brady was getting lit up all game by the Texans defense, but nothing phases this guy. He currently has the most passing yards, passing touchdowns, passes for more than 20 yards and passes for more than 40 yards. Keep in mind that he has yet to throw an interception.

Yeah, Tom Brady is statistically the best quarterback in the NFL, at 40 years of age.

3. The Jaguars absolutely smacked the Ravens

You know the game is getting out of hand when Ryan Mallett is behind center. In a 44-7 slaughtering, the Jaguars recorded their third consecutive victory in London.

If I’m Tom Coughlin, I’m at least asking Roger Goodell if the Jags can build a home stadium in London. No seriously, Jacksonville has now won as many games in London as they have at EverBank Field since October 2015.

As bizarre as this sounds, the Jaguars are legit contenders for the AFC South. Indy is without Andrew Luck until at least week 6. Deshaun Watson looks like he’ll be just fine, but we still don’t know what to expect from him and the Texans moving forward. The Titans defense is also incredibly suspect.

The Jags currently rank fourth in scoring and fifth in rushing yards. Their passing defense has been tremendous, as they have allowed the fewest passing yards in the entire league, and have already forced eight turnovers.

4. How about the Bills beating Denver!

It appeared the Bills were in full tank mode when they gave away Sammy Watkins and contemplated trading LeSean McCoy. After a 26-16 victory over Denver, the Bills are hungry for a playoff spot.

NFL week 3 takeaways

All smiles for Tyrod Taylor and the 2-1 Bills (Eagles Tribune)

After getting off to a slow start and generating just 10 yards in the first quarter, the Bills came alive, much thanks to Tyrod Taylor. Taylor had the best game of his season as he threw two touchdowns and completed 77 percent of his passes. The Bills struggled to run the ball against Denver’s potent defense, as Buffalo only managed a total of 75 rushing yards on 2.3 yards per carry.

What does this loss mean for the Broncos? No need to worry too much, as Jamaal Charles ran the ball well, and the defense played good enough to win. Trevor Siemian played bad, but that is expected from time to time. Siemian is 3-6 in his career on the road, so that is something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

5. Was Cam Newton’s 2015 MVP season just a fluke?

The Panthers took their first loss on Sunday to the Saints, and Cam Newton continued to struggle. Newton threw three interceptions and was only able to pass for 167 yards against one of the worst defenses of the past few years.

It’s hard to argue that Newton is a franchise quarterback at this point. Sunday’s 43.8 passer rating was Cam’s third worst of his career. Next week, the Panthers travel to New England, so hopefully Newton can figure it out fast.

Also, the Panthers defense played really bad. After allowing 60 yards per game on the ground in the first two contests, Carolina allowed the Saints to rush for 149 yards. They allowed a total of 362 yards and 21 first downs. You can’t be elite every game, so it will be interesting to see if Carolina is able to bounce back against Tom Brady.

6. The Bengals and Giants’ seasons are most likely over

The Bengals have been in the playoffs in five of the past six seasons, and the Giants went into this season with a Super Bowl in sight. Now with both at 0-3, it is essentially impossible to make the playoffs. Since 1990, only three teams, the 1998 Bills, 1995 Lions and 1992 Chargers, have made the postseason after starting 0-3.

Cincinnati looked like they were going to upset Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, until they absolutely imploded in the second half. The Bengals scored a touchdown on their first possession and even had a pick six against Rodgers, which had only happened one other time in his career. Unfortunately, Cincinnati was 0-5 on third down and did not reach the red zone after halftime.

The Giants lost on a heartbreaking 61-yard field goal by Eagles rookie Jake Elliott. At least Odell Beckham Jr. is dominating again. OBJ has now reached 300 receptions in fewer games than any other player in NFL history. Let’s see if either of these squads can do the impossible and make the postseason.

7. The Seahawks are in trouble

Not only did Seattle fall to 1-2, but their defense played poorly. After carrying this team for years, is this star-studded defense getting tired?

NFL week 3 takeaways

DeMarco Murray scoring with ease against Seattle (The Tennessean)

All of a sudden, teams are running all over Seattle. They currently rank dead last in rushing yards allowed per attempt at 5.3. A week ago it seemed like the 49ers rushing for 159 yards against Seattle was just lucky.

On Sunday, the Titans ran for 195 yards, proving that this Seattle defense has lost a step. This was the most rushing yards allowed by the Seahawks since November 3, 2013. Russell Wilson played well, but the Seahawks now have question marks on both sides of the ball.

8. That Raiders loss was weird

No need to panic if you’re a Raiders fan, but what a weird game. Carr threw a pair of picks and had a quarterback rating of 52.9. The Raiders offense had only 128 yards of total offense. In the first two games, Oakland had 359 and 410. They were also unable to rush the ball against Washington’s defense.

Still, you can’t win all of them. Carr blames himself for the loss and will bounce back. Kudos to the Redskins. Their defense was outstanding, Kirk Cousins looked great and Chris Thompson had a career game. Both teams sit confidently at 2-1 heading into week 4.

 

Featured image by SI.com

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LA Blues: The Sad State of the Rams and How to Fix It

The Rams put everyone involved out of their misery by firing Jeff Fisher earlier this week. A blowout loss to Atlanta at home sealed his fate. Believe it or not, Fisher was a really good coach in this league at one time. However, a 31-45-1 record in almost 5 full seasons in St. Louis/Los Angeles speaks for itself. That time is no longer now. His dismissal creates one of the most unique head-coaching openings in NFL history.

 

The Rams return to the crowded LA sports market has gotten off to a disastrous start. This is a city that has lost its fair share of NFL franchises in the past, but has never lacked big-time sports. Right now LA has the exciting and fun Clippers, the young and rebuilding Lakers, a resurgent USC football program and the star filled Dodgers and Angels. At best, the Rams are the sixth most relevant sports story in their own city, and the second most relevant in their own stadium. USC is infinitely more competitive in college football than the Rams are in the NFL at the moment. Forget the NFL as a whole, the Rams are irrelevant in their own city. That is a battle no other franchise has to fight.

 

There are a few other issues working against the Rams right now. All of which are their own doing. Rams ownership seems more concerned about building a new stadium and finding a second team to join them in LA than they do about the current state of the franchise. Also, the Rams sit at 4-9 with the worst offense in the league, averaging just 12 points a game. Rookie quarterback Jared Goff is quickly headed down the path of David Carr (not Derek) if they do not surround him with better talent quickly. Their drafts on offense have turned out to be comically bad in recent years. Following Sunday’s loss running back Todd Gurley said the Rams “look like a middle school offense.” Honestly, that is insulting to middle school offenses everywhere. Gurley is the one offensive draft pick the Rams have gotten right in recent years, even he has faded into obscurity in 2016. On Sunday, Atlanta’s defense scored as many points as the Los Angeles offense. That is not even taking into account the Rams botching the opening kickoff and setting up Atlanta at the LA 3 yard line. It was the kind of performance that leaves an organization no choice but to make changes immediately, even though Fisher had inexplicably just been given a contract extension. After the season, the rest of the current staff is probably gone as well.

 

Despite the many challenges facing whoever takes over the head-coaching gig in Los Angeles on a full-time basis, it is not all bad. It is LA after all. The fact that the Rams have somehow accumulated four wins speaks to how good the defense is and can be. Even so, the Rams cannot give this job to whoever the hot coordinator candidate winds up being. That is doomed to fail. There is too much going on with this franchise for it to be anyone’s first NFL head coaching job. One name already being floated around is Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. While McDaniels seems to have grown up a lot since failing miserably as a head coach in Denver, the Rams need someone with both star power and substance. McDaniels does not check either box.

 

This narrows the list considerably. Names like Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll would certainly fit the bill, but both have said they are not interested. Additionally, I will eat my own left arm if either one of them leaves their current gig for such a massive undertaking like rebuilding the Rams in Los Angeles. There are two names that have been rumored that would be slam dunk hires. In fact, they may be the only realistic candidates that could be successful in such a chaotic environment. They are Mike Shanahan and Jon Gruden.

 

It is not known if either one of them are on the Rams list. Everything that is out there right now is speculation. I know there are going to be some eye rolls at Shanahan’s name, but there should not be. Yes, his time with the Redskins was largely a failure , but dig deeper. He has been the only coach to get a good year out of Robert Griffin III. Griffin was rookie of the year and led the Redskins to the playoffs in 2012. No other coaching staff has figured out how to even keep him on the field, much less get any sort of production out of him. Shanahan also has two Super Bowl rings as the head coach Denver in the late-1990s. Often times, he gets no credit for that because those Denver teams were loaded. While true, realize that John Elway did not win a Super Bowl until Shanahan came along, then he won two.

 

Somehow, Shanahan has gotten the “washed up old hack” label by fans and media. Unlike Fisher, he does not deserve it. He did the best he could under the dysfunctional conditions of the Redskins at that time. Shanahan would likely bring his son Kyle on as his offensive coordinator. He is the coordinator behind the 2016 resurrection of Matt Ryan. Both Shanahans have proven they know how to build an offense and make it productive. This is exactly what the Rams need. Hiring the elder Shanahan would bring instant relevance and credibility to Los Angeles and may set the Rams up coaching wise in both the short and long-term.

photo from zambio.com

photo from zambio.com

 

If there ever was a situation for Jon Gruden to return to coaching, the Rams are it. Those close to Gruden have always said that he has not gone back to coaching because he likes the celebrity that comes with his role on Monday night football. In LA, he can coach and be a celebrity. The two franchises Gruden left (Tampa Bay and Oakland) are really just now starting to recover. His legendary reputation as a disciplinarian that loves to work with young quarterbacks would be perfect for the Rams. Come on, just look at the guy.

photo from deadhitsports.com

photo from deadhitsports.com

 

Both Shanahan and Gruden would require a lot of money, but they have jewelry on their fingers for a reason. Judging by artist renderings of the Rams future home in Inglewood, California, they must have some deep pockets. It would be great for the NFL to have a good franchise in LA again, but it is going to take a very special coach to turn the Rams into winners in a timely manner.

Five Coaches Who Must Win Now

I am a big believer in the importance of coaching in the NFL. Not all coaches are created equal. In fairness, neither are the circumstances they coach in. So, here are my top five coaches under the most pressure to win this season.

Jeff Fisher- Fisher has coached four seasons yet he has a 27-36-1 record. Most coaches would already be gone. However, the Rams have stuck with the man who put the Oilers/Titans franchise on the map. Given the Rams relocation to LA, it is understandable. Fisher has been here before. He led the Titans to within a yard of a Super Bowl title just three years after their move from Houston. With rookie quarterback Jared Goff now at the helm, a solid defense, and bruising running game led by impressive youngster Todd Gurley, Rams ownership may not be so patient in the team’s return season to LA goes poorly.

Photo from cover32.com

Photo from cover32.com

Chuck Pagano- This is a tough one. Pagano has been masterful in helping this franchise rise out of the ashes of the Peyton Manning era. In fact, he did not miss the playoffs until last year. Quarterback Andrew Luck has carried the franchise for the last several years along with Pagano. Last year though, the Colts could not keep Luck or any other quarterback upright. Due to injuries, they used four of them while stumbling to an 8-8 finish. When you consider that the Colts were a trendy preseason Super Bowl pick, it was a massive disappointment. To their credit, the Colts addressed their biggest issue, drafting four offensive lineman, including Alabama center Ryan Kelly who will be an immediate starter. Pagano was all but gone at the end of last season, but was given a four-year contract extension at the 11th hour. Contracts mean very little when it comes to coaching in the NFL, and considering it took ownership so long to decide that they were keeping him, I have to include him on this list. His future hinges on Luck staying healthy.

Photo from nesn.com

Photo from nesn.com

 

Jason Garrett- Given Jerry Jones’ meddlesome nature and the constant drama that surrounds the Cowboys franchise, I feel like their coach makes some kind of list like this every year. Jason Garrett gets a pass for last year’s 4-12 record as far as I am concerned. He lost Tony Romo and Dez Bryant for almost all of last season. When healthy though, this roster is good enough to go to the Super Bowl. Jerry Jones wants that, and he wants it now. Need I say more?

Photo from rantsports.com

Photo from rantsports.com

 

Bill O’Brien- This may surprise some, but hear me out. Someone had to benefit from Indy’s struggles last year. Houston rode J.J. Watt and their defense to a 9-7 record and won the division. At times though, the offense was dreadful. They switched between Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett throughout the early part of the season at quarterback. Then, they brought back a familiar face in T.J. Yates and also signed Brandon Weeden. Everyone was given a chance and failed miserably for one reason or another. Houston trailed two separate games by 30+ points at the half. Eventually, they were absolutely dismantled at home by Kansas City in one of the most lopsided playoff games I have ever seen, losing 30-0. They struggled to get first downs, forget about scoring. O’Brien has a reputation as an offensive guru. Last year, the offense got progressively worse. He has essentially bet his job on Brock Osweiler bringing stability to this offense. Osweiler kept the Broncos together last season while Peyton Manning was injured. He got a huge payday for it. Denver was more than content to let him walk. Only time will tell which organization was right. The roster in Houston is too good to be held down by pathetic quarterback play.

Photo from scoopnest.com

Photo from scoopnest.com

Marvin Lewis- No coach must win more this year than Marvin Lewis. He has been the head man since 2003. He has coached six playoff games and has an 0-6 record. His seat really started getting hot after their embarrassing playoff collapse against the Steelers, you can relieve it below thanks to the NFL’s YouTube channel. I was there. It was the most surreal thing I have ever experienced in sports. Lewis should not have to be a babysitter, but must take the blame for thing like that. To his credit, he did. However, for a roster loaded with talent and an organization that has not won playoff game in 26 years, it is now or never.