The Week 3 Thursday Night Matchup is going old school. This is going to be a run-dominated low-scoring affair in which each defense will take center stage.
Week 3 Game Preview and Fantasy Predictions
Los Angeles Rams (-2) at San Francisco 49ers (40)
Rams Defense vs. 49ers Offense
The Rams defense gave 229 yards on the ground, including letting up 4.8 yards per carry, in the week 2 defeat to the Washington Redskins, who are a below average running game at best. The Rams had issues defending Carlos Hyde in both of their meetings last season and he looks to continue his torrid running after a 100-yard game against the Seattle defense. Hyde, the 4th leading rusher in the NFL, has faced two elite front seven defenses from Carolina and Seattle and has managed to rush for 169 yards at a 7.0 yards per carry clip.
Carlos Hyde IS the 49ers offense. His 220 total yards through two games represent 44 percent of the team’s entire yardage total. The 49ers have dominated the ground game, averaging 6.2 yards per carry.
San Francisco’s offense is led by QB Brian Hoyer and is last in the NFL in offensive yards while having scored a whopping 12 points. They still haven’t scored a touchdown on the season.
Only three teams have allowed fewer points to receivers than the Rams this season. Pierre Garcon should be faded beside in PPR formats.
49ers Defense vs. Rams Offense
Through two games, Goff’s numbers haven’t been all that terrible for the Rams at quarterback, but there’s clearly room for improvement since he’s only managed to complete two touchdown passes in two games. And even though he was tested quite a bit with the Redskins, the San Francisco 49ers may give Goff his most difficult challenge to date this season when seeing how well the unit has been at keeping quarterbacks in line.
The 49ers looked dramatically better on defense, as their narrow 12-9 loss to the Seahawks demonstrated. They are also allowing just 3.3 yards per carry in two games this season.
With the 49ers’ defense focusing most of their attention on Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp should be able to see a few additional passes thrown in his direction from Goff on offense. And if that does end up happening, fantasy football owners will certainly be pleased with Kupp against San Francisco.
The biggest key to the Rams’ sudden firepower is third-year running back Todd Gurley. He has now added pass catching to his up-and-down rushing contributions. He leads the team in receptions (8) and ranks second in targets (10), after finishing with 21 receptions as a rookie and 43 in his second season. Not only does Gurley already have 232 yards from the line of scrimmage heading into Week 3, but the former first-round pick has already worked his way into the end zone a total of three times.
Once again, there’s a good chance Gurley will receive a heavy workload to help the Rams avoid what happened last year in which the team lost both meetings to the 49ers.
The 49ers have won the last three meetings with the Rams. With San Francisco enjoying home advantage, they should have enough to extend that streak to four and record their first win of the season. They will do it behind the running game of Carlos Hyde and another strong defensive showing in a low-scoring affair.
Player Fantasy Grades
Los Angeles Rams
QB-Jared Goff: C
RB-Todd Gurley: A
WR-Sammy Watkins: C-
WR-Robert Woods: D
WR-Cooper Kupp: C
TE-Tyler Higbee: C-
San Francisco 49ers
QB-Brian Hoyer: C-
RB-Carlos Hyde: A
WR-Pierre Garcon: C+
WR-Marquise Goodwin: D
TE-Garrett Celek: D
Stay tuned for the remaining game previews and fantasy predictions for the Week 3 games coming soon.