Punch Drunk Wonderland

Week 1 Fallout: Time To Already Sell Rams And Bills Offensive Guys?

You might know more about the Los Angeles Rams entering the 2016 season than you normally would — if not a fan — because they were featured on HBO’s terrific show “Hard Knocks” in training camp. If you did watch that show, it seemed pretty obvious that the Rams were going to struggle on offense this year, despite the presence of star running back Todd Gurley, because their quarterback play was so mediocre.

Yet Gurley was a first-round pick in every fantasy football league on the planet because of his stellar 2015 season in which he was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Gurley put up big numbers in 13 games even though the Rams had mediocre quarterbacks last year in Nick Foles, since released, and Case Keenum.

Keenum beat out No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff in training camp, and Goff was so raw that he was shockingly inactive for the Rams’ Week 1 game at San Francisco on Monday night. Second-year Sean Mannion was Keenum’s backup.

And it was ugly against the 49ers.

Los Angeles was dominated 28-0 in one of the worst offensive performances on “Monday Night Football” ever. Because Keenum was either incapable or unable to stretch the defense by throwing downfield in the middle of the field, the 49ers continually stuffed the box with 8-9 players to stop Gurley. He was held to 47 yards on 17 carries — and he’s just not a factor in the passing game. The only other Rams offensive player worth anything in a fantasy league, receiver Tavon Austin, had four catches for 13 yards and one carry for 2 yards.

The Rams had 185 yards in 14 possessions. A total of 10 ended with punts, two on interceptions, one on downs and one when the clock ran out to end the game. Keenum was 17-for-35 for 130 yards and the two picks. The last time the Rams were shut out was Week 16 in 2011 against Pittsburgh. San Francisco is a solid defensive team but nothing like what the Rams will face in their Los Angeles opener in Week 2 against Seattle. Don’t expect much from Gurley this week and it might soon be time to try those low-ball trade offers for him if the Rams’ offensive struggles continue. The total of 39.5 on BetOnline’s NFL odds for Rams-Seahawks is the lowest of Week 2.

Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills might have their own offensive issues. Top receiver Sammy Watkins broke his foot in the offseason and had surgery. Reportedly that foot is causing him quite a bit of pain and the team might have to shut Watkins down for weeks. Watkins had four catches for 43 yards in Buffalo’s Week 1 13-7 loss in Baltimore. Watkins says he will play in Week 2 on Thursday night at the Jets, but Watkins owners should prepare for the worst. If you are thinking of pickup up a Watkins handcuff, that’s presumably Robert Woods on Buffalo and he’s not worth anything. Woods had four catches for 20 yards in Baltimore.

The Bills are in the same position as the Rams with a gimpy Watkins: no one to stretch opposing defense. QB Tyrod Taylor was a fantasy surprise for the most part last year when healthy, but he did nothing against the Ravens, throwing for 111 yards on 22 attempts. Defenses will key on running back LeSean McCoy, who averaged only 3.6 yards on his 16 carries vs. the Ravens.

Buffalo faces another good defense on Thursday as a pick’em on BetOnline NFL odds in the team’s home opener vs. the Jets. The Bills didn’t top 300 yards in either game vs. New York last year but won both meetings by the same score of 22-17.

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