Game Predictions & Player Projections - LA vs. ARI

David Dorey, @DMDorey

Prediction: LA 10, ARI 27 (Line: ARI by 8.5, O/U = 44)

UPDATE: Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt are both listed as questionable to play. Austin had a full day on Friday and should play with no limitation. Britt is still nursing a thigh injury and was limited in practices but is still expected to play.

The Rams sit atop the NFC West with a 2-1 record and are 1-1 on the road with their recent win over the Buccaneers. The Cardinals fall to 1-2 with their surprise loss in Buffalo against a team that was not known to have an offense. This week is important for both teams and will factor into the eventual division winner. The Cardinals at home have always been formidable but these rivals traded road wins in 2015. The Rams won 24-22 in Arizona in Week 4 while the Cardinals won 27-3 in Week 13.

Los Angeles Rams

1 @SF 0-28 10 @NYJ ---
2 SEA 9-3 11 MIA ---
3 @TB 37-32 12 @NO ---
4 @ARI --- 13 @NE ---
5 BUF --- 14 ATL ---
6 @DET --- 15 @SEA ---
7 NYG --- 16 SF ---
8 BYE --- 17 ARI ---
9 CAR ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass

Pregame Notes: The rushing effort finally got underway last week when Todd Gurley scored twice and the Rams even threw their first two passing touchdowns of the year. That they are 2-1 is a testament to the defense and each week this is a very different team. They were shutout by the 49ers in a laugher. Then beat the Seahawks using only field goals. And then last week scored 37 points against the Bucs. Chances are this week regresses back to the low scoring version of the Rams.

QUARTERBACK : Case Keenum threw his first touchdowns of the season last week but still only ended with 190 yards off 14 completions. Simply enough - Keenum cannot win games for the Rams but he can lose them.

RUNNING BACK : Todd Gurley finally created a nice set of fantasy points when he scored twice in Tampa Bay but he still only gained 85 yards on 27 carries. That means on the year, he's only gained 183 yards on 63 carries for a 2.9 yards per carry average. And he still only catches one pass per week.

WIDE RECEIVER : Tavon Austin scored last week and had one of his rare decent showings with five catches for 82 yards and 22 yards as a rusher. He was averaging about 36 total yards per game. Brian Quick also scored but is a non catches with no more than three catches in any contest and a great risk to be blanked in any given week. Kenny Britt never scores and actually gets worse when the secondaries are easier to beat.

TIGHT END : No fantasy value.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Rams have no element of their passing game that ever merits fantasy consideration since even Tavon Austin is far too inconsistent and mostly unproductive. The Cardinals have only allowed two passing scores this year and to far better passing teams. Expect mediocrity or less.

Todd Gurley is worth a start even in this tough venue. He is more likely to have a bad game than a great one but should at least put up moderate to good yardage with a chance of a touchdown. If any Rams player scores, it is highly likely to be Gurley.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points LA 32 30 27 31 27 13
Preventing Fantasy Points ARI 8 14 14 4 11 26

Arizona Cardinals

1 NE 21-23 10 SF ---
2 TB 40-7 11 @MIN ---
3 @BUF 18-33 12 @ATL ---
4 LA --- 13 WAS ---
5 @SF --- 14 @MIA ---
6 NYJ --- 15 NO ---
7 SEA --- 16 @SEA ---
8 @CAR --- 17 @LA ---
9 BYE ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
ARI vs LAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Blaine Gabbert 230,1
QB Carson Palmer 280,2
RB David Johnson 80,1 4-50
WR John Brown 4-50
WR Larry Fitzgerald 6-90,1
PK Phil Dawson 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Cardinals were shocked by the Bills last week in a game that they just did not look prepared for or in synch. It was the first road game and they only have one more in the next month. As the schedule breaks down, the Cards should be racking up the wins and fantasy points now and then struggling more when they finish with five of their final seven games on the road. But the defenses they are facing have been above average and that doesn't change this week.

QUARTERBACK : Carson Palmer was uncharacteristically bad last week when he had no scores, four interceptions and was sacked five times. His two previous games - both at home - saw him with 270+ yards and at least two scores in each. Last week has to be considered just one bad week but it would give a boost of confidence to see him succeed in this home game.

RUNNING BACK : While the Cards lost in Buffalo, David Johnson still rushed for 83 yards and two touchdowns while adding three receptions for 28 more yards. He continues to be reliable for 100+ total yards each week and has been even more dangerous as a receiver where he is averaging almost 17 yards per reception on his ten catches. Chris Johnson has been almost entirely unused other than the home game versus the Bucs.

WIDE RECEIVER : The passing stats are down from last year for this group in a big way, David Johnson is taking a good chunk but overall, these wideouts have disappointed. Larry Fitzgerald is clearly the best and already leads the team with three receiving touchdowns. But he still has yet to top 81 yards in any game. He gets at least ten targets every week and leads the team but while the scores are there, neither he nor any other wideout has broken 100 yards this year. Facing good secondaries matters, but not when the Buccaneers visited. Michael Floyd was at his worst in the easiest matchup and still hasn't broken 65 yards in a game. John Brown finally caught more than one pass but still has not scored and averages one catch for 11 yards when at home. The Cardinals need to get more than Fitzgerald having a moderate game each week.

Floyd has been dealing with a concussion but is expected to be cleared in plenty of time for this game.

TIGHT END : No fantasy value.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Rams defense was tough against the pass until they faced Jameis Winston last week and coughed up 405 yards and three scores. They have also allowed four rushing touchdowns this season though no one gained more than 88 rushing yards on them.

The Rams have a decent defense but on the road it is much worse and the Cardinals will be bringing a more balanced attack. At home, consider Palmer, David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald as must start players with a very nice outlook this week. Johnson should score at least once and the Cards face a Rams team that allowed two 100 yard receivers last week. Floyd is worth considering this week as well. The only impact to the passing effort would be if the rushing offense was able to have enough success to decrease the need to throw.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 16 7 4 28 23 5
Preventing Fantasy Points LA 18 24 18 23 4 23

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