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Raiders v. Rams Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Cam Akers, Tyler Higbee, Foster Moreau, Derek Carr, Van Jefferson, Mack Hollins

Davante Adams - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News, DFS Lineup Picks

Up to Week 13, it seemed we had yet to have a massive injury week. Well, that streak is over. I hope your fantasy team survived because many NFL teams didn’t. From Lamar Jackson and Jimmy Garoppolo to Kenneth Walker and Courtland Sutton, it was a devastating week.

What wasn’t devastating were the performances of the Rams and Raiders. That’s right, from being left for dead to narrowly losing to the Seahawks and winning three straight games respectively, we get to see these two go toe to toe. 

This is definitely one of the most curious matchups I’ve analyzed through my three years writing this article. Yes, that includes the 64-point barn burner in 2020 between Sam Darnold and Brett Rypien. So, join me on this journey to figure out what the heck is going on for fantasy in this matchup. My name is Ellis Johnson, and this is your Thursday Night Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em article.

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Las Vegas Raiders @ Los Angles Rams - 8:15 pm ET

Notable Injuries:

  • Josh Jacobs (RB, LVR) - Quad/Calf- Questionable
  • Aaron Donald (DT, LAR) - Ankle - Questionable
  • John Wolford (QB, LAR) - Neck - Questionable
  • Ben Skowronek (WR, LAR) - Shoulder - Questionable


Must-Starts for Fantasy Football Lineups

Davante Adams (WR, LVR)

Wow. For all of those who thought Derek Carr couldn’t support a WR1, let alone THE WR1, I hope you got used to having an egg on your face. That’s right, the league’s best WR is currently THE WR1 in fantasy. For anyone rostering the star, this shouldn’t be a surprise. However, if you don’t have the pleasure of rostering him, you might not be aware of his greatness.

Adams is averaging over 13 targets, 1.4 touchdowns, 133 yards, and eight receptions per game over the last five weeks. That’s an AVERAGE of 25.7 half-PPR fantasy points a week. This week, he faces a Rams team that just allowed both Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf to explode for over 120 yards and a score each. Don’t be scared of Jalen Ramsey, he hasn’t been nearly himself lately, so fire Adams up as THE WR1 on the week.

Josh Jacobs (RB, LVR)

Would you believe me if I told you that the current RB1 and WR1 are on the same team? Because it is true. Jacobs has overcome his Hall of Fame game appearance and become the best back in fantasy football. This shouldn’t be surprising since this team is allowing nearly 25 points per game and is playing catchup almost every game.

The best part is that this offense is literally Jacobs, Adams, and basically no one else. These two are incredible, and their usage shows no signs of slowing down. Even though this Rams team is allowing the eighth-fewest fantasy points to the position, you don’t sit THE RB1 in any format. His usage makes him matchup-proof, and I’d be fired up to continue to ride his hot hand into the fantasy playoff sunset.


Solid Starts for Fantasy Football Lineups

Derek Carr (QB, LVR)

Over this team’s three-game win streak, Carr is the QB6 in fantasy. I think he is a fine start in any format, considering there is no stopping Jacobs and Adams. The Rams are middle of the league in fantasy points allowed to the QB; however, there aren’t many defenses this Rams team can score on. Thankfully, the Raiders are one of them.

Arguably as important as Carr’s matchup is the fact that even John Wolford (or Bryce Perkins) can score on this Raiders team. The Raiders are allowing the third-most passing yards per game and will make sure that this game isn’t a blowout. I would lock in Carr as a fringe top-12 play this week.


Flex Considerations for Fantasy Football Lineups

Foster Moreau (TE, LVR)

With the absence of Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow, Moreau has had mediocre production. Thankfully, at the tight end position, mediocre means he is an every-week start. With three or more targets and 28+ yards every week this season, he is one of the most consistent options at the position. Although his upside is limited, he should be played for those desperately playing the position. The Rams are allowing the 12th-most fantasy points and touchdowns to the position, giving me enough false confidence to call Moreau to open the Pie Shop this week.

*Pie Shop: An Australian term (often used in Rugby League) to describe who will score a Try (or in this case touchdown) this week. (Season Calls: 9-8)

Mack Hollins (WR, LVR)

In this matchup, we’re getting pretty desperate for flex plays. However, Hollins has not been terrible this season. Over his last three games, he has had six or more fantasy points in each game and nine targets in two of the games. You can do a lot worse if you need a player off the waiver wire this week. The Rams are allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to the position, making him a fringe WR3 for me this week.

Cam Akers (RB, LAR)

I’ll be honest, I am terrified to flex Akers. After being abysmal for both fantasy football and the NFL all season, he managed to perform last week. With Darrell Henderson out of the way, it’s the Kyren Williams and Akers show, gross. The only reason I have Akers as a risky flex play is that he played 72% of snaps last week. If this continues against a Raiders team that is allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to the position, he could have a decent day. However, I have zero confidence that his usage maintains, so start him at your own risk.


Consider Sitting for Fantasy Football Lineups

Van Jefferson and Tutu Atwell (WR, LAR)

Yes, this is what the Rams have come to. Their top-two WR options cannot be trusted for fantasy purposes. With neither WR breaking away as the top option, you can expect 3-5 targets for each, and the low upside of having newly-acquired Baker Mayfield, John Wolford, or Bryce Perkins under center. Of the two, Jefferson is the one remotely playable, but I don’t want to touch either option.

Rams QBs (QB, LAR)

Neither John Wolford nor Bryce Perkins has cracked 10 fantasy points on the season and Baker Mayfield just joined the team two days ago. That’s it, that’s all. 

Tyler Higbee (TE, LAR)

You can argue that Higbee is playable in this matchup. Considering the TE landscape, you could do worse. However, in his last five games, he has two games with 2.5 points, two games with 6+, and one game with 0. Those aren’t the odds I want to play with if I have a choice.

Kyren Williams (RB, LAR)

From seemingly taking the Rams' starting job to getting out-snapped by Akers 72% to 28%, I have no idea what to do with the rookie back. Although he hasn’t looked bad when given the opportunity, he still has yet to crack eight fantasy points in his career. You can’t play Williams in any format, especially if Akers has another 70% plus snap share.

Honorable Mention: Ben Skowronek (WR, LAR)


Ellis’ Picks

Raiders -6.0 (7-8), Over 43.5 (5-10)

Career Thursday Night record: Spread (29-22), Over/Under (26-25)

We are heating up! Finally, we hit on both our picks last week. The fight for .500 is very much alive, and we’re going to keep trying to work our way back. 

This game is an absolute gong show. I have more faith in the Grey Cup-winning CFL Toronto Argonauts than I do in this Rams team. However, they are playing a brutal defense which you only need to be somewhat functional to score against. On the other side, we have a heating-up Raiders team that has found itself winning three close games in a row. I have faith that this might quietly be an over game, so give me over 43.5. However, the spread is nearly impossible to decide. As a result, give me the only NFL-caliber offense in this game, and hope they can outscore their opponents by six.

Have a great week everyone. I will see you next week to break down the QB-less 49ers and the playoff-fighting Seahawks.

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