Shark Bites

The Rams hired Wade Phillips this offseason to be their new DC, after switching from Jeff Fisher to Sean McVay in the head job. That move likely startled some IDP owners who wondered how it might affect DT Aaron Donald's role and production. According to ESPN.com, however, Donald expects to do the “same thing. I’m still going to be a 3-technique; still a penetrate, get-up-field type of guy. I got to come here during the offseason and got to sit down and talk with him. I like his game plan and how he’s going to use us, and the position he’s going to put us in to have success.” Phillips is a 3-4 maven, but he's also a smart, career-long defensive coach. He's not likely to apply the Rams' best defensive player in a way that mutes Donald's effectiveness. We'll see what the numbers say come the season, but don't worry too much about Donald's IDP outlook as we move toward fantasy football draft time.

The Rams have signed RB Lance Dunbar to a 1-year deal. He'll slide in to the old Benny Cunningham pass-catching role. Cunningham totaled just 42 grabs in the 2 years since RB Todd Gurley arrived. Dunbar is probably a more explosive player -- he's averaging 9.5 yards per catch for his career -- but is unlikely to emerge as a reliable fantasy option. His arrival does figure to put a cap on RB Todd Gurley's pass-catching upside.

There's been a consistent buzz on Rams TE Tyler Higbee over the past couple of weeks. "Expect big things from Tyler," GM Les Snead said from the Combine. HC Sean McVay is excited to work with the 2nd-year TE. "Nice catch radius," McVay said. "He can stretch the seam; he's got a good feel and savvy in the pass game." McVay arrives from Washington, where Redskins TEs ranked 5th in targets (289), 5th in receiving yards (2,397) and tied for 3rd in TDs (20) over the past 2 seasons. Higbee is no Jordan Reed, but he is a 6'6, 249-pounder with plus athleticism. And there's lots of target upside with TE Lance Kendricks gone and a WR corps led by Robert Woods and Tavon Austin.

Adam Schefter reports that former Bills WR Robert Woods has reached a deal with the Rams. That will take the former USC wideout back to Los Angeles, but it lands him in 1 of the league's worst offenses. Woods has shown flashes at times and will turn just 25 in April. But we'll need to see a lot more from QB Jared Goff before finding any interest in Woods' fantasy stock with the Rams. Woods basically replaces Kenny Britt, who has reached a deal with the Browns. That's a lateral move at best for the L.A. offense -- and probably a downgrade in talent.

The Rams will switch their base defensive front to a 3-4 under new DC Wade Phillips, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. That could mean significantly different roles for a number of front-seven players. The most affected in fantasy terms will likely be Robert Quinn, who figures to move from DE to OLB. If that designation changes for 2017 on most fantasy sites, then his IDP ceiling will come down considerably. Aaron Donald will move from his 3-technique DT spot, but he'll retain DL eligibility. Phillips told the Daily News that if Donald doesn't fit your system, then your system isn't working. We'll trust the seasoned veteran DC to put the stud lineman in position to make plays. LBs Alec Ogletree and Mark Barron will face a big change as well, which could include taking on a lot more blockers in the run game. This will be a key defense to look at as we head toward the summer, regardless of your fantasy football format.

The Rams have hired Sean McVay as their HC. The 30-year-old becomes the youngest HC in NFL history. He already has 8 seasons of experience in the league, though, including the past 3 as Washington's OC. The 2016 Redskins finished 3rd in total yards and 12th in points, led by the #2 ranked passing attack. McVay's 1st order of business in Los Angeles will be Jared Goff, who is coming off a disappointing rookie campaign.

Rams QB Jared Goff (concussion) put in a full week of practice and will start Saturday’s game against the 49ers. Even in that plus matchup, the rookie is a bottom-barrel QB2.

Rams QB Jared Goff (concussion) put in a full practice on Tuesday. He hasn't yet received full clearance, but he's on track to do so. "We anticipate having him" for Saturday's game against the 49ers, HC John Fassel said. Goff won't be a fantasy option, even in that plus matchup.

Rams QB Jared Goff sustained a concussion after taking a big hit at the end of a scramble in Thursday night's loss to the Seahawks. The rookie completed just 13 of 25 passes for 135 yards, 0 TDs and 0 INTs before exiting in the 4th quarter. He remains well off any fantasy radar. QB Case Keenum will draw back in if Goff can't get cleared in time for next weekend's game against the 49ers.

Rams DE Robert Quinn is out for more than just tonight's game against the Seahawks. Los Angeles has placed him on IR with the concussion that cost him the previous 2 games. Quinn has dealt with multiple injuries this year, though, dating back to offseason back surgery. As IDP owners, let's hope his 2017 offseason -- and ensuing regular season -- proves healthier.

Rams DE Robert Quinn (concussion) is doubtful for tonight's game against the Seahawks.

The Rams have fired HC Jeff Fisher. He finishes his 5-year stint with the team with a 31-45-1 record. None of his teams won more than 7 games or sniffed the playoffs. Most damning is that the Rams never showed any signs of progress under Fisher's watch. We'll see who Los Angeles tabs as its interim HC, but this will remain an offense best avoided in fantasy lineups the rest of the way. The Rams travel to Seattle to face a pissed-off Seahawks squad on Thursday night.

Update: Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel has been promoted to interim HC. Fassel has only been a HC for DII New Mexico Highlands University.

Rams RB Todd Gurley got his team on the board with a 3-yard TD in the 4th quarter of Sunday's game against the Falcons. That made the score 42-7. Gurley was mostly bottled up while the game was still in question. He finished with 61 yards and the score on 16 attempts -- a 3.8 yards-per-carry average that'll actually boost his season-long mark. He added 3 catches on 4 targets for 22 yards, benefitting from RB Benny Cunningham's absence. Gurley has settled in as a floor play, providing at least 70 total yards in 11 of 13 games. But he's reached 100 yards just once and scored only 5 times all year. He'll barely be a RB2 in Seattle this coming week. If you survive that one, Gurley gets a plus draw against the 49ers in Week 16.

Rams QB Jared Goff turned it over 3 times in Sunday's 42-14 loss to the Rams. He finished 24-of-41 for 235 yards, 0 TDs and 2 INTs, took 3 sacks and lost a fumble. He led his squad to 2 garbage-time TDs, including his own 2-yard rushing score, but was abysmal otherwise. The rookie has now completed just 55% of his passes with 4 TDs and 5 INTs through his first 4 starts -- and 3 of those scores came against the lowly Saints. Goff is nowhere near fantasy-relevant at this point. We wish him luck in Seattle this coming Thursday night.

Rams DE Robert Quinn (concussion) is inactive once again for today's game against the Falcons. CB E.J. Gaines (thigh) is also inactive.

Bills WR Robert Woods (knee) is active for today’s game against the Steelers. He’s no better than a WR4 with Sammy Watkins back as Buffalo’s top target.

Rams WR Tavon Austin (chest) put in a full week of practice and will play against the Falcons on Sunday. He’s been held under 30 yards in 5 of his last 8 games and shouldn’t be in fantasy lineups.

Bills WR Robert Woods (knee) is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Steelers. He put in 3 limited practices this week, and HC Rex Ryan said Friday that Woods is “ready to roll.” He’s just a low-upside WR4 behind Sammy Watkins.

Bills WR Robert Woods (knee) returned to a limited practice on Wednesday. That gives him a shot to play against the Steelers this weekend. Woods won't be a recommended fantasy starter, but his return would help QB Tyrod Taylor.

Rams DE Robert Quinn (concussion) is inactive for today's game against the Patriots. Look for DE Eugene Sims to take over most of his snaps. You can probably find a better option for your IDP league.

 
 
 

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