Stealing Signals: Week 4, NFC

With three weeks down, we’ve reached a point where many teams have had stable enough situations to identify trends, while others have dealt with injury upheaval that have made it essential to carefully parse the data we have. Here are the actionable notes for the NFC for Week 4. Also check out the AFC. For situations where trends look to be strengthening, we’ll look at comments from prior iterations of this post liberally. That’s not to claim successes or failures; rather, it’s a reference point to recalibrate from and an attempt at limiting redundancy. We’ve covered a lot of ground here over the first couple weeks. Let’s get into it.

Los Angeles Rams

Snap Notes: Cooper Kupp – 59% three-week average Key Stat: Todd Gurley – 51.7 ruEP (most in NFL), -3.6 ruFPOE Thursday night football was something, huh? Todd Gurley scored three times in the first half, which stands on its own, but I do want to note the first came after an interception return to the 3. That’s one of those positive variance situations — the return could have easily gone for a TD — but of course it’s a small discount to what has been a massive early-season performance from Gurley. Through three weeks, the Rams are now the highest-scoring team in the NFL. While there are obvious positives to take from this, they’ve played three suspect teams (Indianapolis, Washington, San Francisco) all in their home state. It’s a tough sell to argue they’ll keep this up, but that doesn’t mean sell the whole offense off. Gurley’s an interesting case, with an obviously enticing workload. He’s averaging the most rushing attempts per game in the NFL (21), and has received so many high-value carries he’s actually produced below his league-leading rushing expected points (ruEP) despite four rushing TDs. I don’t think the quantity of high-value touches can continue, but he’s only a sell at the right price. Additionally, Gurley, Tyler Higbee, and Robert Woods are all averaging more than 80 percent of the weekly snaps, while Sammy Watkins has averaged 71 percent despite limited second-half work in the Week 1 blowout and leaving Week 3 early due to a concussion. He played 90 percent in Week 2. That has kept the passing opportunity concentrated as well. Rams Targets Week 3 Cooper Kupp has played between 58 and 60 percent of the snaps each week, which has opened up snaps for additional tight ends and players like Tavon Austin, none of whom have broken 50 percent in a game. If you can grant the Rams the potential to be even a league-average offense going forward, that’s big news for the main offensive options. Woods is the most underrated option here, as his efficiency hasn’t matched up with his team-leading 0.50 WOPR.1 Signal: Todd Gurley’s workhorse share of RB touches Noise: Leading the league in points  

San Francisco 49ers

Snap Notes: George Kittle – 47% after 95% and 88% in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively Key Stat: Carlos Hyde – 42.9 ruEP (second most in NFL), -5.6 ruFPOE
  1. Weighted Opportunity Rating, which combines targets and Air Yards.  (back)

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By Ben Gretch | @YardsPerGretch | Archive

Comments   Add comment

  1. Love the analysis as always Ben. This a great way to sift through everything that happens each week. Added Humphries to my watch list. Thanks!

  2. Really enjoying the content in these articles each week. Lots of great data and a few good actionable things!

  3. Jeff says:

    OK, so maybe this isn't the forum for this question, but I'm wondering about thoughts regarding Zeke's upcoming court hearing on October 2. If the ruling goes against Zeke and he has to serve his six-game suspension, is the pickup Morris or McFadden? I know that McFadden has been inactive so far this season, but some have suggested this is to keep him fresh in the event Zeke serves his suspension. Morris is also available on my waiver wire--worth picking him up?

  4. I'm betting on McFadden but also betting on Zeke's suspension getting pushed. Might be wrong there, but the uncertainty between McFadden/Morris, the fact neither is that exciting, and the reality there are so many other guys I'd like to stash are all playing a role in me leaving those guys on the wire right now.

  5. Jeff says:

    Thanks for your thoughts, Ben. I decided to pick up Breida given the heavy RB usage in SF and Hyde's signs of wear (gimpy hip). Currently I have Gordon, Powell, West, Kamara, Foreman, Burkhead, and now Breida on my roster in a 0.5 PPR, 12-team league. Worth dropping one of those for Will Fuller? My other WRs are Evans, Diggs, Kearse, Marvin Jones, and Corey Davis. Always having an eye for getting a jump on my league-mates, I wonder about the implications of the Montgomery and Williams injuries from last night. Dion Lewis is out there. Would the Packers trade for a nice dual-threat running back on the last year of his current contract?

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