Game Predictions & Player Projections - LAR vs. SF

David Dorey, @DMDorey

Prediction: LAR 17, SF 16

(Line: LAR by 3, O/U = 42)

The 1-1 Rams fell to the visiting Redskins and now take their first road trip to face the 0-2 49ers. These divisional rivals swapped home wins in 2016. The Rams won 22-21 in Week 16 while the 49ers won 28-0 in a shocking and "nothing like the other 15 games" in the season opener.The Rams are favored but this is their first road game and that matters. And the 49ers defense is exceeding expectations so far. This is the Thursday night game... somehow...

Los Angeles Rams

1 IND 46-9 10 HOU ---
2 WAS 20-27 11 @MIN ---
3 @SF --- 12 NO ---
4 @DAL --- 13 @ARI ---
5 SEA --- 14 PHI ---
6 @JAC --- 15 @SEA ---
7 ARI --- 16 @TEN ---
8 BYE xxx 17 SF ---
9 @NYG ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
LAR @ SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Jared Goff 230,1
RB Todd Gurley 100,1 5-40
WR Cooper Kupp 7-70,1
WR Sammy Watkins 4-60
TE Gerald Everett 3-40
PK Greg Zuerlein 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: All the good will from Week 1 for the passing offense went away with the loss to the Redskins last week. But notable is that Jared Goff imakes fewer mistakes than last year and Todd Gurley is producing far better than 2016. But both opponents so far have struggled on offense so the Rams defensive effort looked better than it really is. Notable too is that after this week the schedule turns very dark with mostly great defenses on the horizon.

QUARTERBACK: After posting 306 yards on the bumbling Colts secondary in Week 1, Jared Goff only managed 224 yards versus the Redskins and in both tossed just one touchdown. It was encouraging to see him correct with a wide-open Gerald Everett on a 69-yard gain. Without that one completion, Goff's production would have been much more like 2016.

RUNNING BACK: Todd Gurley has been far more productive this year in his two games than last year when he was a constant disappointment. Gurley opened the year with 96 total yards and a score. Against the Redskins, he posted 88 yards on 16 runs and three catches for 48 yards while scoring both a rushing and receiving touchdown. Malcolm Brown stole a touchdown in Week 1 but Gurley gets nearly all touches from this backfield.

WIDE RECEIVER: Aside from Cooper Kupp's season opener, there hasn't been much happening here. Sammy Watkins totals only seven catches for 88 yards on the year but dealt with CB Josh Norman last week. This unit is starting to resemble the lackluster crew of the past five years. It is only two games and the 49ers are on tap. But the upcoming schedule demands more from this crew.

TIGHT END: Gerald Everett left the Redskins game with an injured thigh and his status is not certain yet. Everett caught three passes for 95 yards in the game and was brought up to be HC Sean McVay's new version of Jordan Reed. As a rookie, he'll be mostly learning this year but it is already encouraging to see him contribute. I'll assume he can play and update based on practices this week.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The 49ers defense is quietly a lot better this year. Both the Panthers and Seahawks failed to throw for more than 200 yards and no rusher has yet scored on them. They have allowed around 100 rushing yards per opponent. Gurley is a strong start here even on the road and has been on a roll so far this year. He's the only matchup-independent player on this team.

The 49ers have also held all receivers to no more than 64 yards. Even more surprising, they held the combination of Greg Olsen and Jimmy Graham to a combined three catches for 19 yards. Kupp and Watkins can be considered for moderate yardage and at least Watkins plays the same flanker that Paul Richardson did when he scored last week on them.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points LAR 17 7 18 13 4 5
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 14 20 14 4 20 20

San Francisco 49ers

1 CAR 3-23 10 NYG ---
2 @SEA 9-12 11 BYE xxx
3 LAR --- 12 SEA ---
4 @ARI --- 13 @CHI ---
5 @IND --- 14 @HOU ---
6 @WAS --- 15 TEN ---
7 DAL --- 16 JAC ---
8 @PHI --- 17 @LAR ---
9 ARI ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Carlos Hyde 100,1 5-30
WR Pierre Garcon 5-50
WR Marquise Goodwin 3-30
PK Robbie Gould 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The 49ers haven't done much on offense yet but facing the Panthers and Seahawks wasn't going to be easy anyway.This week could be about as good as it gets all year at home facing a team that is only average at best. The upcoming schedule is rough and there are three straight road games after this week. But the defense is playing over their heads and Carlos Hyde is rushing very well and so far is not injured. The firepower is scant after him but the 49ers are getting better. It is a rebuilding year and expectations are low.

QUARTERBACK: Brian Hoyer hasn't thrown a touchdown yet - the 49ers as a team still haven't found the end zone. He comes off a 99-yard effort in Seattle that was predictable facing a great defense in their stadium. But Hoyer opened with 193 yards at home versus the Panthers.

RUNNING BACK: Carlos Hyde is healthy, so far, and comes off a 124-yard effort over the Seahawks on only 15 carries. He's adding a few receptions each week and should be facing his best matchup of the year. Hyde is clearly the best weapon of the offense so far and should see higher use at least until he is injured again. Hyde turned in a 61-yard run last week for the longest of his career. Hyde caught six passes in the only home game this year.

WIDE RECEIVER: With only 99 passing yards, the distribution was pretty light last week. Only Pierre Garcon has managed more than 30 yards in any game this year. Marquise Goodwin is stuck at three short catches each week. Hyde is not enough to carry the offense but these receivers are not helping.

TIGHT END: No fantasy value

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Hyde is an obvious starter and faces a defense that allowed three rushing touchdowns already this year. And that defense has yet to play on the road. The Rams faced two teams that are struggling to pass the ball but neither are as bad as the 49ers that rank dead last in quarterback fantasy points.

Garcon is a low-end consideration in the hope he nets moderate yardage but he's just as much a risk of a bad game. Ongoing, Hyde is the only fantasy play here.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 32 17 28 26 22 23
Preventing Fantasy Points LAR 3 28 3 11 12 14

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