How to describe the fantasy season so far for Rams quarterback Jared Goff? Well, the Madman tries not to be blasphemous, so let’s just say, it has been Goff-awful.
Gifted with a fleet of stellar wide receivers in Brandin Cooks, Roberts Woods and Cooper Kupp; blessed with one of the game’s best rushers (when healthy) in Todd Gurley; lucky enough to have a offensive prodigy in coach Sean McVay, who helped turn around his career after a devilish rookie season … Goff nevertheless ranks 20th in fantasy points for QBs, with a weekly average of 13.7 that ranks an even worse 25th.
His touchdown-to-interception rate has plummeted. After being 4-1 in 2017 and 2.7-1 last season, this year it is a flat 1-1 (seven TDs, seven INTs). His QB rating (60.8) is 20 points worse than the past two seasons, and his QBR (an ESPN metric) is a woeful 34.6 (50 being average) after two straight seasons above the 50 barrier.
Part of it could be the lack of the same rushing threat as the past two years. Gurley’s yards per carry have dropped by a half-yard, and his usage has declined (5.5 fewer carries per game and 1.4 fewer receptions). With the offense leaning more heavily on the passing game, Goff is failing to carry out that plan with success.
Part of it might be that Goff was never as good as he looked the past two seasons, and that his terrible rookie season wasn’t a complete mirage. But if that’s the case, how did he hide these weaknesses the past two years?
There’s the boggle: We aren’t really sure what is wrong with the Rams’ offense, other than Gurley not looking like the same back he was before his late-season knee injury last year. Considering just how dysfunctional the Rams have been, it seems unlikely that alone is the sole cause for the nose dive.
The good news is: Even though we don’t know the cure to fix the offense, there is a temporary prescription to alleviate immediate symptoms. That elixir is the Falcons’ defense.
Atlanta allows the second-most fantasy points to opposing QBs (8.4 points above the weekly league average), slightly fewer than the league-worst Dolphins (8.6). The Falcons have given up 15 passing touchdowns, more than any team other than the Cardinals (16). Their two interceptions on the second are tied for the fourth-fewest.
The 271.1 passing yards Atlanta has allowed per game is sixth-worst. That’s bad enough, but in Week 1, the Vikings virtually ignored the pass, rushing for 269 yards and passing for just 97. In the five games since, the Falcons have allowed an average of 306 passing yards per game. That is more than 20 yards worse than any other team’s average.
Factor in an indoor environment without weather concerns, a lackluster home crowd for a 1-5 team with a less-than-boisterous fanbase, and that is medication that should quiet what’s ailing Goff for at least a week. More positive diagnosis: Next week the Rams get the Bengals at home before a bye week.
After that, expect the symptoms to return. But at least you’ll get a few weeks’ respite.
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